The 16 Awkward Things That Happen When You Return From Backpacking

It’s been nearly two years since I returned from my last big backpacking trip and yet it still feels like yesterday. After I finished my final year exams at university, I had a nice 5 month gap before I started work in which I hauled my rucksack onto my back and went off exploring.

In the gap I went all over the place; I spent a bit of time in the US, I took the Trans-Mongolian railway from Moscow to Beijing then travelled down through China and ending up in HK, I returned to the UK for the sum total of 48 hours to attend my graduation and was off again – this time with South East Asia in my sights.

My recent trip to Thailand brought all of my backpacking memories flooding back and as I crossed paths with travellers still in the middle of their journeys and watched them (yes, I people watch a lot), I couldn’t help but think about all the funny/weird habits you pick up travelling.

1. You still think everything is up for negotiation.

2. You need to know where your passport is. Always.

3. You suffer from a major case of the blues that no one except your travel buddies understand.

4. You don’t know how to start a conversation apart from “so how long have you been travelling for?”

5. You’ve forgotten how to separate laundry and iron a shirt.

6. You will continue to convert everything in Vietnamese Dong and be utterly horrified at how expensive everything is.

7. The idea of taking a shower without wearing flip flops is completely alien to you.

8. For breakfast you would like a banana pancake, ideally with fresh fruit. Thank you.

9. You insist on wearing your elephant trousers everywhere for just a few more days

10. You will reply to everything with “Ah yes, that reminds me of the time in Laos when ….”

11. You’re left flabbergasted that your friends and family at home are not aware of the political instability in Thailand or the rise of ‘The Punisher’ Duterte in the Philippines. Goodness people, do you live in a bubble?

12. You scare strangers because you are still in hostel-mode which means anyone and everyone is a potential best friend!

13. Your friends have moved on. They’re in relationships, they’ve matured, they’ve started to settle down…and it’s all very very weird.

14. But fundamentally nothing has changed.  After a week back in your old room, you’re left starting to wonder if the whole trip was a dream…

15. However your Instagram feed proves otherwise. If people knew how much time you spend staring at your own photos, you’d probably be diagnosed with some sort of narcissistic disorder.

16. And you’ve already started planning the next trip…

How many of these were the same for you? What would you add to the list?

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