6 ways to tell you’ve been travelling for a while…

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.

If you’re unsure if you’ve been travelling long enough, see if you can nod your head to one of these…

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…?

Leave a Reply

13 comments

  1. -You don’t care how you look anymore.
    -Any English speaking person becomes your new best friend.
    -A McDonalds becomes a luxury meal
    -Your friends from home become your ‘old friends’ in conversations

  2. 5. When you see newbie travellers you get jealous of their clothes.

    AHHHHHHH. IT’S ALREADY HAPPENING.

    I just started my first traveling adventure. (I’m in Hawaii, from New Jersey) and there are so many people here that dress amazing. Locals and travelers alike.

  3. Dan – I can definitely relate to those points! Particularly an English speaker becomes your new best friend and that you replace your ‘home friends’ with new ones haha. I can’t say ‘don’t care what I look like’ though; I am a woman after all 😉

  4. Katie – you’re on the road already? Crap, I missed the beginning…time to catch up =) And I definitely understand you…I walked around Tokyo with all these fancy dressed people with not a hair out of place in my walking shoes, khaki trousers and creased top #fail lol

  5. I love this post! I definitely agree, especially with points #2 and #6. It’s so funny to realize how your own speech patterns change even when talking to other native English speakers. I find myself doing that all the time. Nice post!

  6. Jess

    Ok.. As someone who is in the last week of a year away, I would have to say..

    1)you no longer feel the need to talk to EVERY person who walks through the door of the hostel. It’s ok to have a night when you just sit on your computer and talk to No one.

    2)You’ve started to develop the sort of clothes and jewelry you’d wear at home

    3) You say thing like ‘ I remember when I used to sleep with my passport on me’ now I’m not sure I could tell you where it is.

    4) You start to leave all your valuables on your bed. Including loose change

    5) You not only walk slower, but talk slower and think slower

    6) You’re hair is bleached ‘that much’ lighter than everyone elses : ) and ur the one whose tanned legs everyone is jelous of : P

  7. i agree with dan, you don’t care what you look anymore and when you’ve stayed in small towns for a bit… you start craving for something oily and salty such as KFC hot and crispy chicken 🙂 i lost count on the number of noodles ive eaten 🙂

  8. Jessica – It’s amazing how quickly you can fall in other people’s speech patterns. I was so embarrassed when the girl told me but she found it hilarious haha. Thanks for stopping by =)

  9. Jess – thanks for adding to the list! I definitely agree with points 1 and 2 but I think my favourite is point 6! After months in crappy underwear, when I came home I treated myself to some nice underwear and had to explain why I was so excited about buying it explaining I’d been travelling; she turned round and said ‘I knew there was a reason I was jealous of the tan on your legs’ haha =)

  10. Flip – I know what you mean about the food in particular, you can sometimes (dare I say it) get a little fed up with eating the same food all the time; nothing wrong with a bit of salty chicken goodness =)

  11. Julia

    Threadbare panda pants! Hahahahahahaha Gotta love those Primark specials 🙂

  12. Tom

    Great article Toni!

    Oh, and I WANT A PAIR OF PANDA PANTS! I have a zebra print cardigan and a baggy t-shirt with a huge smiley face that shall come with me on my next jaunt. Neither are sexy but they’re oh-so-comfy!

    The accents thing too, I totally get that! I’ve slipped into American and stress the “r” sounds – teacherrrrr, wherrrrre, hairrrrr etc. Also, when I’m with boyfy, we speak this weird mix of Korean and English and just slip in and out of it lol!

  13. Julia – Primark has to be a travellers paradise I think lol