Free Wine & *** takes a look at how booze and *** can complicate our lives and cause us to do things we might not otherwise do. All the stories are true. Some are frightening. Others are amusing. There is also travel advice and advice on jobs for travellers.
Mike and his wife established one of Australia's first backpacker hostels in Townsville, North Queensland, and ran it for fifteen years. During that time over 100,000 people passed through their doors. Many were out for a bit of adventure and some got more than they bargained for.
I once owned a backpacker hostel and I learnt a lot about the backpacker scene in the process. That is how Free Beer & Sex came to be written. I shall repeat the lead story and some of the others in full.
A friend of mine once claimed that all good backpacker advertising should include the words Free, Beer and Sex. The order wasn't important so long as you squeezed them in somehow. He wasn't suggesting that the backpacker circuit is a great place to find sex. His point was that the expectation of s-x is enough to propel most young males on round-the- world trips.
When I was a young guy, growing up in England, people who ran holiday camps put out a similar message. Some of my mates fell for it and, like other young guys, didn't have the courage to own up to the truth when they got back home. They fantasised about their exploits. The legend lived on and the holiday camps prospered.
Others of my mates hit on a better tactic. They joined a local tennis club or youth fellowship group and met girls there. Their next trick was to get the girls to go to the camps with them. Jive sessions were also highly rated but nothing could beat the peace marches.
To my loss, I never saw the point of trying to "Ban the Bomb". I was too naïve to realise that the marches were about something far more attainable. They provided unparalleled opportunities for getting to know the opposite sex. Big distances were involved and there were overnight stops. So long as the weather was fine, nothing could beat snuggling down in the long grass with a fellow peace activist.
Later, the flower-power thing took off. Making love became a moral imperative that would banish the urge to make war. In Australia, it reached its climax in the alternative lifestyle movement. Groups of young people occupied abandoned farmland and formed communes. Thirty years down the track, some are still with us. It's interesting to see how they evolved and I'll tell you about that in the next story.
Here, I'm concerned with the young male's universal (or almost universal) quest for physical fulfilment with persons of the opposite sex. Mine was hindered by a fascination for the heavens that caused me to seek fulfilment in the study of astrophysics and other erudite subjects. While I was thus occupied, some of my mates were training as skiing instructors. They had noticed that a certain sort of female is physically attracted to the sort of male who teaches physical pursuits. On holidays in the Alps, they had seen how people with names like Fritz and Wolfgang were scoring highly in the sport of "après ski" and they saw no reason why they shouldn't join them.
Becoming the sort of male who excites lust is the key to success. Locating a lusting female is all that remains. There is a common belief that foreign women are more susceptible to amorous advances than the girls back home. Unless you come from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and certain parts of the High Himalayas, I'd scrub that idea. If you do come from the aforementioned places, bear in mind that girls who show a bit of bare flesh above a bare knee are not trying to excite male passions. It's the way they dress and normal; healthy males are not unduly excited by it.
A mate of mine got round the problem of finding lusting girls by letting the girls find him. He's now gone to fat but was once slim, bearded and handsome. He was also a diving instructor and an enthusiast for the sport of "après dive". He used to stay in a private room at my hostel when he was not on the dive boats and usually had a companion with him. As he said, it was a matter of numbers. About one woman in fifty found him irresistible. There were so many girls enrolling in the dive courses, he could forget about the remaining forty-nine.