10 Signs You've Been Backpacking Too Long

10 Signs You’ve Been Traveling Too Long

36 comments

I’m approaching my six-month anniversary and things are starting to get a little hazy. It’s getting harder and harder to relate to my old life. Here are some helpful warning signs that you’ve been on the road too long.

1. You realize you’ve been wearing your shirt inside out. For three days straight…

2. You discover that your ankles aren’t as tanned as you thought — that’s dirt.

3. You can’t remember what day of the week it is, aren’t quite sure about the month, and the year is starting to sound a little funny.

4. Cramming five people onto a single scooter seems like a perfectly reasonable idea.

5. You’re actually excited to do laundry. Giddy, even.

6. You find yourself haggling with the cashier at the supermarket. “I know the scanner says $1.75, but would you take less?”

7. You’re excited to find a Western fast food chain — not for the food, but for the clean bathrooms.

8. The phrase “same same” is a regular part of your vocabulary.

9. Any bus ride that doesn’t involve sitting next to livestock is considered a “nice trip”.

10. An elephant walks by in rush hour traffic and your first thought is “Oh, he’s running late today”.

 

That’s all I’ve got. What are your favorite warning signs?

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

DTravelsRound August 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm

You wake up and don’t know what day it is, what the date is, what country/city you are in and what language you should be attempting to speak.

Brilliant list!!
.-= DTravelsRound´s last blog ..Running Scared =-.

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ayngelina August 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Oh how I can relate to #1 and #2. Wearing the same thing I wore yesterday because I’m too lazy to root through my bag.

How about:

You’ve been traveling for too long when you get excited that you’re in a city where you can drink water from the tap.
.-= ayngelina´s last blog ..The Otavalo Artisan Market =-.

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

Oh yeah, brushing your teeth without a water bottle is a wonderful thing :)

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Lily August 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Giddy over the laundry, that was me! Mind you, I would be giddy now if someone washed, dried, ironed and packaged up a week’s laundy, ovenight, for the cost of a few beers. That was something I really missed when I came back West!

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

Totally agree. $2 for a load of washed, dried, and folded laundry? More, please.

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LeslieTravel August 25, 2010 at 12:00 am

LOL- so true. I’d add: when you are so used to washing your own laundry in the sink that laundry service sounds like a frivolous luxury!
.-= LeslieTravel´s last blog ..NYC Traveler Tweetup- 2 beers- travel talk and all-around good times! =-.

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

Ha! You have to splurge every now and then, right?

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Adam August 25, 2010 at 12:03 am

When you get ice in your drink and are able to drink it and think it’s the best invention ever.
.-= Adam´s last blog ..A Trekking Guide for those who like to eat and drink a lot =-.

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:42 am

Nice. And it’s even good in beer!

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Andi August 25, 2010 at 1:48 am

Haha #10 is priceless!!!
.-= Andi´s last blog ..Brasil- Day 1 Part 2 =-.

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:42 am

From personal experience in Phnom Penh…

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Laura August 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I saw an elephant downtown in Phnom Penh as well by the bus ticket office. It was a strange sighting at 6am, however my first thought was, ‘Am I hallucinating from lack of sleep?’

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Nomadic Chick August 25, 2010 at 2:27 am

Hehe.. I’m starting to forget to do laundry, that’s bad isn’t it?
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog ..Couchsurfing for Solo Women Travelers- Good or Bad =-.

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megan August 25, 2010 at 5:15 am

Ahaha this cracked me up – especially number 2! I was convinced I had an awesome foot tan, only to have it cleaned off by dirt-and-skin-eating fish in Hong Kong. I like to think I take a little bit of Egypt with me wherever I go!

I second D’s suggestion of not knowing where/who/what you are – some mornings I wake up in a hostel bed and it takes me several minutes to work out what’s going on!

And I would elaborate on number 6 and say that just finding a supermarket can be enough to make you cry tears of joy!

And – who needs laundry when you can just rely on the sniff test?? :)
.-= megan´s last blog ..Do donkeys have rabies =-.

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Elise August 25, 2010 at 8:30 am

Love this article!! So true and Funny! Ant and I have been in SEA for about 7 months now but we recently had to go home for 3 weeks for family reasons. What I didn’t realise was how accustomed I had become to Asia and its way of life…… every time I saw a dog wandering around in Australia, my first instinct was to put my hands up and try and scare it off!!

Here are some other things I think you know you’ve been travelling too long!

# You don’t care that you haven’t showered for three days straight.

# You’re actually starting to enjoy eating rice, soup and noodles EVERY day.
.-= Elise´s last blog ..From the Back Seat- Memories on a Motorcycle =-.

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wes August 25, 2010 at 8:44 am

Ah, reverse-culture shock! It’s funny how we adapt to new environments so quickly. Then we go home and everything there seems foreign…

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craig | travelvice.com August 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm

If you want to scare street dogs more effectively you should bend down like you’re going to pick up a rock, even if there are none. They’ve been pelted by so many that they’ll instinctively stop in their tracks or take off.

(just a tip from a fellow nearing the completion of his 5th year of global wanderings)
.-= craig | travelvice.com´s last blog ..Petra- Tourists and Tourism =-.

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Natalie LoveYouPlanet August 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm

)) fun list)) I can’t remember day of week on second day of travel)

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Emily August 26, 2010 at 12:08 am

This is hilarious!!! It’s hard for me to imagine being giddy to do laundry, but I can imagine how after many months on the road, it’s a relief to have clean clothes–especially if you’ve been wearing the same shirt inside out for three days :)
.-= Emily´s last blog ..What Would You Like to See More of Here =-.

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Jenny August 26, 2010 at 12:17 am

You know… I never brushed my teeth with bottled water. I used tap water everywhere I went in all of South America. I did get sick around 3 times, but doesn’t everyone?

BTW, I absolutely LOVE this list. Soooo true.
.-= Jenny´s last blog ..A new beginning and my decision to travel around the world =-.

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Gail Gillespie August 26, 2010 at 8:14 am

I can relate to many of these. I remember taking quite a while to stop rolling up pieces of toilet paper and pocketing them when I visited a public loo, after going overland to Kathmandu. Somehow the habit was hard to break!
.-= Gail Gillespie´s last blog ..Aug 23- Orangutans in Borneo =-.

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Theodora August 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm

So, nobody mentioned shaving. I guess that’s because nobody, guys nor gals, is actually shaving? Or maybe you are? I mean, tell me you’re not…

I haggled for flights at an airport today. Also a business hotel.
.-= Theodora´s last blog ..Eight Months- Seven Countries =-.

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wes August 28, 2010 at 7:45 am

Oh, yeah… shaving… I do it once a week, whether I need it or not ;)

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Laurence August 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm

When I was driving around the Oz outback, having a shower, or even finding a safe river / rockpool to get rid of some of the grime, made days worryingly exciting. I also wandered into a bank once, and asked the date, and the cashier looked at me with a rather worried frown, and started off with informing me what year it was, before getting more specific…
.-= Laurence´s last blog ..A travel bloggers travel bloggers list =-.

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Miss G August 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Definitely agree with the giddyness over laundry. My other favourite aspect was flight days – not just for the excitement of a new destination, that’s a given – but the thought of a free meal, a spruce of perfume in duty free and maybe even a few sneaky squares of home grown chocolate was overwhelming!!
.-= Miss G´s last blog ..A taste of Croatia =-.

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AJ Alexy August 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

I’d have to say when your mouth waters at just the thought of indigenous food from back home and when you start dreaming in other languages.

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Jodi August 29, 2010 at 7:36 am

Great list, Wes. So true. Two more: When you stop worrying about ice in your drinks. Heck, just go for it … And, you have to think really hard upon your return whether toilet paper goes in the trash bin or toilet.

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Cornelius Aesop September 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Hehe I like the last one the best, silly elephant.
.-= Cornelius Aesop´s last blog ..New Brew Tuesday- Everything You Need To Know About Kegs =-.

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Tucker September 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm

You start thinking long hair is a cool hair style you could adopt ;)

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Catia October 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm

#5, hehe, I’ve been there far too many times. I was like a little kid at Christmas when the last place I stayed said that unlimited laundry was included.

When I do get to a place where elephants walk down the street, my first thought now is going to be this list. :p
.-= Catia´s last blog ..Been Travelling Too Long When… =-.

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Kalli December 5, 2010 at 7:24 am

#8 made me laugh. I thought it was just my husband who had picked that up!

I would add thinking and planning about your next country as soon as you arrive in a new destination. The curse of long-term travel means that sometimes it’s easy to forget to be amazed at where you’re at in the moment.

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wes December 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Oooh, yeah, that’s a good one. I may have to work up a follow-up post with all the great suggestions.

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Baby W February 12, 2011 at 1:36 am

LOL! loves this signs and article too! :D number 1..3..5..7..9..10! 1 and 5, sometimes hard to find clean water for washed @ the forest, karst areas and small villages. 7..that’s true :D looking for terminal station also just for take a shower :D 9 and 10…from the remote areas, small villages then back to the city :D:D

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wes February 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

Glad you liked it :)

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Bobbi Lee Hitchon February 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

I can totally related! Especially about not knowing the days of the week and dirty ankles part! But that doesn’t mean to stop!

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wes February 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

Agreed. Why stop?

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