10 awesome-tastic travel terms

Posted on
Jul 31, 2009
Posted in: Top Ten

Once, many years ago, I had my heart broken by a boy. And he was ruthless, in a way so creative and diabolical, that it was humorous. Like the time we bought a joint birthday present for a friend, and he replaced my name on the tag with his new girlfriend’s. Or the way he’d ignore me until I found other prospects, and then come over just long enough to steal their phone numbers from my hand (yes, this actually happened).

In short, he was an ass. And I needed to coin a term to decribe just how assy he was. He made me want to giggle and pull my hair out simultaneously. In the end, I settled on the word “fragglement” to describe that fractured, frenetic, incredulous-to-the-point-of-laughing, happy-sad state he put me in. And while he is long gone, fragglement stays with me to this day.

Sometimes, with travel, you’ll see or experience things so marvelous or craptacular that our current lexicon does not suffice. As with fragglement, we have no choice but to add new terms. Some of these are mine. Some I’ve gleaned from friends. Some, from crappy magazines. I’ve attributed where I could. Please feel free to add your own in the comments section.

  1. Crap-stomp (Also, poop-stomp, and shit-stomp): When someone inadvertently steps in feces, and then stomps down the sidewalk in a vain attempt to get it off (spoiler: it doesn’t work). Example: Genoa would be a lot nicer if it wasn’t so crap-stomped.
  2. Crap-slap (not to be confused with #1): A rotten feeling, i.e., the sensation you get after someone dips their hand in crap, then slaps you. Also, a particularly bad bout of luck, esp. while traveling. Example: As if we hadn’t been crap-slapped enough after losing our luggage, we then got a parking ticket.
  3. Non-Voyage (from Real Simple Magazine): A farewell wish given to someone who is going on a stay-cation. Example: When he found out I was spending my vacation at home with the kids, he wished me non-voyage. So I punched him in the esophagus.
  4. Canada (not to be confused with our pasty little brother to the north): The state of which a lane of traffic, once open to vehicles, suddenly becomes filled with parked cars (as often happens in the country from which it gets its name). Example: Merge left, honey. This lane turns into Canada after the next block.
  5. Brewster (verb; origin: Brewster’s Millions): to spend a lot of money in a short amount of time, esp while on vacation, with the knowledge that someone else is picking up the bill. Example: He knew he could expense the trip, so he brewstered $2000 on whores.
  6. Cochoned (verb, derived from the French, “cochon”, meaning “pig”. Pronounced “co-shawn”): to be swindled either entirely because of, or at least in part due to, a language barrier. Example: We totally got cochoned when the “ancient Italian pottery” we bought turned out to be from IKEA.
  7. TSA-hole (noun): Anywho who works for the TSA, who also happens to be an a-hole. So, basically, anyone who works for the TSA. Example: The TSA-hole gave me a hard time because he couldn’t spell my last name. It was the same as his.
  8. Ess-effed up: An expression to describe unseasonably cold weather while traveling, especially in San Francisco (S.F., or ess-eff). Example: As Roger buttoned up his parka before heading to see the Fourth of July fireworks over Fisherman’s Wharf, he thought, “This is ess-effed up.”
  9. Hospility: (origins: a combination of hospitality and hostility) The passive-aggressive tendency of a host or hostess to become exceedingly polite, even though they really want you to get the eff out. Example: I sensed a rising level of hospility when my aunt insisted on giving me a clean set of sheets … at three in the morning.
  10. Photo bomb: (Note: this word has already entered the general lexicon for the most part): to jump into someone else’s photo (often a stranger, but may also be a friend or acquaintance) in an attempt to ruin it. Example:

    I call this picture A Moment of Romance ... And Linda.

    I call this picture “A Moment of Romance … And Linda.”

  11. BONUS: Photo Bob: To ruin your own photo, just for the shit of it. (origin: The lovely Bob Rains likes to do this. Namely by dropping his pants) Example:

    In order to keep my site family-friendly, I am including the reaction shot to the aforementioned photo bobbing, and not the picture itself.

    Bob’s wife did not anticipate the photo Bobbing.

Leave a Comment

  • I went to Phoenix once. Was wished a non-voyage by some TSA-hole whose hospility was less than underwhelming. Landed, rented a car, found the street I was supposed to go down (behind a crap-stomped alley), but it turned into Canada (bad directions from some local who totally cochoned me). Finally parked, stepped out into what I thought would be nice weather, but it was hot as all hell; ess-effed up. Since I’d been crap-slapped by baby vomit on the flight over, I brewstered a new shirt, did some consulting, photo-bombed a couple on the way back to the airport and flew home.

    Bob Rains wasn’t there, so no photo-Bobbing.

  • TSA-hole! Yes! /virtual-high-five

    I was once given the bonus inspection — you know, the one-on-one metal detector wand action? — while 5 months pregnant AND carrying a toddler. Who was also wanded.


  • I would like to add the reverse photobomb, where you get people to pose for a picture in front of something they don’t know is going on. They think you just want to take their photograph. Hilarity ensues.

    Of course, it would have been better if the couple in the background were still gratuitously making out, but it serves the purpose of example. I am going to embrace the reverse photobomb from now on.

    • Geraldine


      Thank you so much for noting this phenomenon. We’ve often taken part in this sort of thing, and couldn’t figure out what to call it. I will be writing an article in the near future about how to take photos of crazy people without them knowing … I think I’ll have to call it “The Art of the Reverse Photobomb.”

  • Geraldine

    Adrienne – A toddler is a walking threat to America. I have always maintained this.

  • Pingback: The Everywhereist » Blog Archive » Superfluous Travel Item I Need (Kinda): Suitcase Stickers()

  • Heather

    Yes! You are not kidding about S.F.(ess-eff) summer weather. Always bring a jacket when going to San Francisco in the summer or you will end up having to buy a tacky pink Fisherman’s Wharf sweatshirt. As Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.”

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