It starts in the desert with plaid cargo shorts. The owner of the shorts struts across the casino floor hemmed by walls of singing slot machines with a plastic guitar slung across his neck. He sips something thick and red from a straw attached to the hollow belly of the guitar. Squinting against the high Nevada sun reflecting off the hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows, he pulls cheap plastic sunglasses from the collar of his lime muscle shirt. The red muscle shirt next to him says something about bitches they met last night and lime muscle shirt responds with a hoarse “oh fuck yes,” as they hit the hotel lobby. A kid no older than twelve standing with his parents at check-in eyes the pair nervously as dad sags under an oversized backpack.
This is Las Vegas, a place where showing up on the casino floor without a collared shirt 40 years ago meant a handful of sidelong glances and maybe a visit from the pit boss. The bare minimum had shifted dramatically from polished leather loafers to feet cushioned by cheap rubber sandals. Pajama pants were inevitable.
It wasn’t only clothing. It’s the lack of decorum in a city that formally helped define elegance and class in the era of Frank and Ella. It’s the tanline, the bedhead, the notion that this multimillion dollar hotel / casino is somehow these muscle-teed, twenty-somethings’ living room. It’s slights like these that define the anti-tourist movement for us; a new mindset that took in the sum of these messy details and rejected them in every possible way.
“Anti-tourist” is maybe too rigid of a container for what we’re trying to express here and in our Fuck It Guides. Like any mindset, words will only get you so far. The punch-in-the-gut, full impact can’t be summed up that easily.
So what’s the elevator pitch? It’s complicated. The anti-tourist movement starts with the realization that traveling well depends on what you put into it. That passive appreciation of cultures separates the fibers that weave together an incredible journey. We’re not sure if there’ll ever be a neat, Oxford dictionary definition for anti-tourist, but we’re also not sure if we’d want that. After all, the backbone of Fuck It Guides was constructed in chaos – a maelstrom that washed away our best laid plans, leaving nothing but a liberating sense of freedom. The compass is spinning, now you’ve just gotta figure out where to follow it — maybe we’ll help you get to wherever that is.