Back in January, Brian and I were orienting ourselves to this new and foreign world of backpacking. Now that we have almost four months on our backpacking resume, we thought it was time to share a few things we’ve learned along the way. We had fun compiling this list (and I’m sure we’ll continue to add to it as we continue our travels) and we hope you find some amusement in it as well!
1. You know how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language for all the countries you’ve visited (but that’s about the extent of it).
2. You’ve been spotted wearing your big backpack on your back and a smaller day backpack on your chest – no load is too big or heavy for you to handle.
3. You own at least one pair of elephant pants (aka backpacker pants)
4. Booking bus tickets, train tickets, hostel rooms etc. more than a day in advance sounds outrageous.
5. You’ll give up your (future) first born child all in the name of good wifi.
6. Seeing wild animals roam around in the street, on the sidewalk, or along the beach like lost domestic animals doesn’t phase you in the least.
7. You have a coveted supply of Cipro for when those inopportune GI bugs find you.
8. You haven’t set foot in a gym in months. Mother Nature is your gym.
9. If it’s edible, you’ll eat it.
10. You have no idea what day of the week or month it is.
11. Tripadvisor is your most visited website.
12. You forgot seatbelts still exist.
13. Showering twice a week is totally acceptable, if not normal.
14. You never realized how much you like McDonalds until now.
15. You find yourself lost more often than not (and that’s okay).
16. Your parents know how to use Skype.
17. You’ve been treated like a local celebrity just because you look different.
18. You’ve personally adopted the metric system.
19. The idea of street food excites you rather than repulses you.
20. You’ve perfected the art of wear, rinse, wash and repeat. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to be caught wearing the same outfit hundreds of times.
21. You’ve developed an impressive ability to sleep on just about anything and just about anywhere.
22. You rely heavily on the kindness of strangers and you have never been more thankful for them.
23. You have a renewed appreciation for hot showers, electricity, air conditioning, western toilets, and your dear family and friends who support you despite your crazy idea to quit your job and travel for a year.
If you are a backpacker or have experienced backpackers in their natural habitat, please feel free to share any other observations below.