Socks with Sandals: An Ode to Shoobies

I have met a number of people on my trip that take pride in avoiding overly touristy spots, in large part to escape the heaps of shoobies that flood better known areas. It doesn’t take long to grow weary of the potent smell of sunscreen, selfie sticks, lack of spatial awareness, and on rare occasions, socks with the flip flops (hey, feet can get sunburned too). I intentionally steered clear of Cancun and Playa del Carmen for these reasons, as well as their reputation for inflated prices, excessive partying and overall debauchery. Since I’ve mostly evaded the shoobie crowd, I welcomed the opportunity to immerse myself in the shoobie culture for a day or so in Tulum. Call me crazy, but there’s something comforting about shoobies…in small doses, of course.

Firstly, despite the large crowds at every “notable” sight, most people go about their business and leave you alone. In particular, very few people ask you for pictures, since everyone and their neighbor has a selfie-stick. In the unlikely event that the shoobie doesn’t have a selfie stick, or lost it taking a precarious selfie in pursuit of that golden profile picture, they typically ask a woman to take their photo, since females are often more responsible and attentive amateur photographers.

Secondly, the strong scent of sunscreen signals a savvy shoobie from a mile way. If you can’t see them, you can smell them. But I really can’t fault them for this. Quite the contrary. I commend, and in fact, thank shoobies for taking care of their skin responsibly. None of this new-age, “I’m going to let my lobster-like sun-burn turn into a tan in a few weeks.” Shoobies are responsible travelers, and remind me to apply, reapply, and…re-reapply, every…single…hour ;). Thank you for the blatant and unmistakable reminder, shoobies.

Thirdly, while the lack of spatial awareness can be frustrating and/or cause avoidable injuries, it’s also rather refreshing at times. Shoobies (the cultured ones, at least) are completely engrossed in the attraction they are visiting and surely feel that they are the only people around. That must be a freeing feeling. They don’t care what other people think, particularly the ones that wear socks with flops. It’s kind of cool to not worry about being cool.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not joining the shoobie shindig, I just want to play shoobie’s advocate and offer a different perspective on the marginalized group. I’ve never used a selfie stick, only apply sunscreen once every two hours, have better than average spatial awareness, and will never wear socks with sandals, unless I’m dressing up as a shoobie for Halloween. With all that being said, I have a soft spot for shoobies, and look forward to the next time our paths cross.


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