Travel is a wonderful thing that is recognised by many in today’s age. The role of the nomadic and perpetual traveller is also growing stronger and stronger as the internet and technology make travel cheaper and easier and allow travellers to earn an income from anywhere in the world. There are some signs that do pop up in every day life that show you’ve been travelling for too long, signs that were not present in your normal life beforehand.
1. Google Chrome automatically offers to translate Facebook
Facebook is a wonderful tool to maintain social contacts, hear about current (and slightly obscure) news and to fill with travel blogs. However, as you travel and as your friend list grows you find more and more languages filling your news feed. I struggle to sign into Facebook (through the web browser so I don’t need to use Messenger 😉 ) without Google Chrome prompting if I would like the page translated from Indonesian or German or Swedish or any other myriad languages of the friends I have met around the world.
2. When you get a room to yourself and your stuff just goes everywhere
It is rare to find a traveller these days who doesn’t frequent youth hostels at some stage. Not only are they cheap sources of accommodation but without a doubt the best thing about hostels is the opportunity to meet other travellers from all over the world. However the one thing you do lack in a hostel is personal space and a room to yourself. When you do finally manage to get a room to yourself, be it a hotel or a family or friend’s guest room, you find that your stuff just explodes out of your pack as you have no real need to maintain it neatly and tidily for the duration of your stay. Living out of a backpack causes you to rarely have any space for your belongings so when you finally get one, you make a statement and spread it everywhere!
3. You can sleep anywhere or through anything
Train stations, airports, buses: these are all places that you’ve spent a night in in order to skimp on accommodation costs or just to catch up on some much needed sleep. You’re an expert at picking the secluded spots where no one is going to interrupt you and are so accustomed to other hostel guests coming in at stupid o’clock that you hardly even fidget throughout the night.
4. Booking a trip or the next destination takes no time at all
When you’ve been travelling for a while, you can plan a new trip in a matter of minutes. Whether it’s a road, domestic or international trip, you have a set routine that can get you there and at least get you started which is hassle free and often involves minimal planning because as you know…
5. Some of the best experiences come as a complete surprise
You know now that as you travel, opportunities are going to pop up and come at you from out of nowhere. If you have too rigidly set a plan, you’ll find that some things may disappoint you, especially if you miss out on a spontaneous adventure you were offered but refused in order to get there. I try to be as flexible as possible when I travel because it just leaves you with so many more opportunities.
6. Every conversation you have always come back to travelling
Any time you meet someone new, whether it is in a hostel or a local, you find yourself eventually comparing travels. Whether or not they’ve travelled much, because it has become such a big part of your life, you find yourself talking about it all too frequently. Your anecdotal stories of “when I was in…” also make very frequent appearances throughout your social interactions.
7. Tours and guidebooks don’t do it for you
Sure, you might get recommendations on things to do but you know that you have to explore to find the true beauty of a new place. The Lonely Planet might offer you an affordable 5 star meal but in your eyes, it doesn’t compare to the street carts or tiny delis that the locals eat at, where you truly experience how it feels to live there. You will fight tooth and nail to avoid a tour, only giving in when it is the only realistic way to see that must see site.
8. No bed is ever as comfortable as your bed
As a traveller, you will sleep in more beds than a lady of the night in Amsterdam and learn that no matter how nice or comfortable, or how much you’ve paid for it, no bed will ever compare to your own bed. It will be an ideal you will hold in your mind and the things you would do for just one night in it are unspeakable; the holy grail for the day you finally decide to call it quits.
9. You don’t understand the people in rush hour
You’re about as carefree as it comes; even if you don’t have a place to sleep, you don’t mind because you know it will all come good somehow. Whenever you’re in a city and see those people rushing off to work a 9-5, you struggle to understand why. Why doesn’t everyone just do what you do, bumming around the world, drinking beer, meeting people and having the time of their lives? You just sit there, with your backpack and no hurry to get anywhere, just watching as they pile in and out of whichever bit of public transport you are on and racing away to sit at a desk all day.
10. You speak the wrong language nearly everywhere you go
This isn’t always because you don’t know the language but just that you spent so long trying to learn the last one that you’re speaking Spanish in France and Arabic in Bulgaria. Even though they’re small and not difficult to remember phrases, you find yourself developing habits and all your hard work trying to learn the new language comes undone!
11. You always keep extending your trip
At first, “it was only a year” and then you would head home and start looking to follow a normal, responsible life. And then it was “only another 18 months while I go visit here” and “oh, just another year from here and I’ll be home for good.” Your friends and family have started giving up any hope of ever seeing you again because it is impossible to commit to heading back.
12. The more places you’ve visited, the more places you would like to visit
As you travel, you hear more stories of amazing places other people have been and subconsciously add them to places you will visit one day. You don’t know when you get there but you know there will be some amazing places popping up before and after it, with your list constantly growing bigger and bigger with every new place you’ve visited. And that’s not even including the places you want to go back to!
Ah, the joys of travel. Do you associate yourself with any of these? Do you have any of your own? I’d love to discuss your additions so leave a comment below and carry on travelling!