There are plenty of people who could benefit from this graphic novel / travel advice book (Amazon), but almost all of them are young. As an old guy, I doubt I’m going to stay in a hostel anytime soon — not that the book advocates for that and only that for accommodations, but you get the idea.
This book covers an excursion with Penny and her spend-happy friend Mil, who were in the previous book Poorcraft book (Amazon), which was written by C. Spike Trotman, being a modern Goofus and Gallant in order to explain concepts of living affordably. In doing so the characters pretty much went through the entire basics of how to maintain your apartment for energy efficiency, total kitchen knowledge, getting around, keeping purchases cheap, dealing with emergencies. Where was this book when I was 20? I had no clue what I was doing. It’s an informative and amiable book.
In this follow-up, they are headed for a vacation in an unnamed foreign country that offers beaches, cities, and nature areas galore, and lays out some travelers tips to not only make what money you can spend go further, but perhaps even offer more quality of experience to your trip.
The basic set-up is that Mil does the obvious thing and Penny presents alternatives.
Estrada takes great pains to point out the cultural swindles that are available — the easy wares versus the genuine articles, for instance — and how this dynamic has a direct effect on your impact with the place you’ve chosen to vacation. As the song says, “Everybody hates a tourist,” but here there are hints to make them hate you a little less, and part of it has to do with getting to know the actual place and what happens there, rather than latching onto the first available bauble or brunch. I also love the suggestion of local CDs and books as great souvenirs — I’d also throw in there local art if you find any affordable, and, of course, local comics.
My favorite section is Chapter Seven, covering entertainment, which outlines the possibilities of nature as the best alternative for exciting vacation activities on a fixed budget, and measures the debate between hired tour and going on your own in a pretty hilarious sequence.
In a lot of ways, Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here examines the psychology of a vacation. In America, many people approach vacation as their big splurge, a time when you shouldn’t have to do without, when you should just pile on the treats. As made plain here, that’s the best way to take fewer vacations — with such expensive expectations, it takes longer to refill the coffers. Or worse, it just puts you in more credit card debt.
It’s with all that in mind that the big lesson of Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here is that it helpful for you to decide what exactly vacations are for, at least for you.
This book, coupled with the first volume, would make a fantastic gift for a graduating high schooler who is open to thoughtful living and receiving the rundown for attempting it in an amusing presentation. What makes both Poorcraft books work is that there is a inevitability about a level of corniness, but the attitude to is, “Sure, yeah, get past it” and challenges the reader to make something more of their life in the small, everyday ways — corny or not!