Whilst I am a bit of a novice when it comes to round-the-worlding (and when I say novice, what I really mean is I travelled around Asia for three months and now call myself somewhat of an expert because I’m THAT good) I did find that by the end of my travels, there were certain signs, whether I realised them myself or a drunk girl told me, that I had been away for long enough to settle into the lifestyle.
1. You begin to forget the time difference between your current location and home
Absolutely nothing wrong with this at all. For starters, apart from friends and family back there, who really gives a crap about home when you’re drinking out of a bucket watching fire dancers at 2am on a tropical beach? You’re only supposed to know the time so you can ring your mum (at a reasonable time and not 4am *cough cough*) to reassure her that you’ve haven’t been killed, you can get drunk quicker in humidity and that you heard your next door neighbour in the hostel dorm ‘getting jiggy with it’ last night.
2. You begin to talk more slowly. Even to other English people.
To be fair, this one was actually pointed out to me by a drunk girl that I was introduced to. She asked how long I’d been travelling for and where I’d been to which I replied – I’ve.Been.Travelling.For.8 weeks.so.far (you can see where this is going right?) Yep, she interrupted me mid-explanation to ask ‘do you realise you’re talking to me slowly and I’m English’ (whilst slurring her words in Irish and sounding Dutch).
3. You’ve become so used to ‘Asian time’ your watch becomes useless
Well, it doesn’t become entirely useless, they are great fashion accessories after all! But when things in Asia say 9am what they really mean is at least 9.30 and did I mention they have to make an unscheduled stop? There’s nothing wrong with throwing away the usefulness of time; after all, it’s one of the biggest rules of ‘main society’ but when you’ve been on the beach all morning and eating lunch with your new hostel friends only to realise you should be at the airport at, like, NOW it can causes unnecessary heart problems.
4. You can no longer buy an item or a trip etc without haggling
Remember that time at home? You know, when you walked into the travel agents, they asked you for £1000 and you paid it? Nope, me neither. £80 for a flight?? Yeah, I don’t think so. £65 do it? Thought so. And don’t even get me started on markets! You want 1,000,000 for that?? Jessica, can I borrow 500,000? Thanks. I’ve got 500,000 and that’s it. SOLD! =) Oh the joys of a cheeky grin, the fake laughter (from both sides) and the gesturing of hands. It’ll get you every time.
5. When you see newbie travellers you get jealous of their clothes*
*and if you’re around other women, you’ll probably get jealous of their nice new underwear too, particularly if it’s got lace in it and you’re stuck in crappy child-like Primark pants. Of course you don’t want to take your gorgeous silk & lace underwear and wear your most expensive dress but when you’re in the midst of potentially hooking up with someone (and whilst it’s still going to happen no matter what) you want to look and feel your best not say ‘excuse me whilst I get out of this beer-soaked t-shirt and threadbare panda pants’ now do you?!
6. Your accent changes and you don’t even realise
When spending long enough in one place or with other backpackers, you slowly begin to pick up their accent and words. You fall into Indonesian because it has elements of English, you keep saying ‘sure’ because you’ve had a long conversation with an Irish and people start asking if you’re Australian because you’ve picked up the accent and lingo. No kidding, by the end of my journey an Aussie kid asked what part of ‘home’ I was from; even his dad was convinced until I wiped the smile off his face by quietly admitting I was a pommie!
How about you? What are YOUR tell tale signs that you’ve been on the road for a while…?