Technically, anyone who carries belongings in a backpack is a “backpacker.” However, not everyone embraces the lifestyle. From Sydney to London, Paris to Tokyo, a big international community is roaming the world, backpack on shoulders, passport in pocket, occasionally lost and with not a care in the world.
Are you in or are you out? Well, let’s see if this sounds familiar…
You embrace long and difficult bus trips
An 8-hour bus ride? Yeah, sure, no worries. Where do I buy my ticket?
You take night buses to save one night’s accommodation
Just sayin’, but chances are your seat will be more comfortable than a hostel dorm bed, anyway.
You stopped counting the number of hostels you’ve stayed in
Probably around 20—in the past month alone, that is.
You know what it is to spend hours on the side of the road waiting for a ride
And you also know that it’s best to be dressed for the weather—any kind of weather.
The sweetest words ever are “free campsite”
And now you’re rushing to the destination because you know spots are limited.
A free campsite with a toilet is basically a five-star hotel
You can’t believe there’s hot water—amazing! Wait… don’t tell me the toilet actually flushes?!
You’ve slept under the stars
You may even be able to name one or two correctly.
You pack your luggage the Tetris way
You’ve mastered the art of packing your gear, even in the dark, even half-asleep in a crowded dorm.
You don’t plan anything
You kind of have a few options for tomorrow but after that… you could be across the country for all you know!
You’ve met hundreds of backpackers from all over the world
So obviously, you can say “cheers!” in ten different languages.
You’ve skipped the regular shower for a few days in a row before
Hey, that’s why baby wipes are for, right?
Your campervan has a name
It’s basically a beloved relative, at this stage.
You’re on the backpacker diet
Breakfast, lunch and dinner (… or just one meal a day) mostly revolve around ramen, canned tuna and sliced bread. Frozen pizza is a big splurge.
For someone who grew up in the city, you’re surprisingly good at farm work
Fruit picking isn’t a dirty word, it’s a way of life. Funny thing is, you never helped your parents mow the lawn…
You know it’s best to go grocery shopping late at night
Perishable products are on sale—an extra 50% on store-brand expired yogurt? Hell yeah!
If you’re roaming around Australia, you know which goon is the most forgiving
You will wake up hungover but a few brands are better. Or not as bad.
You can sit around at McDonald’s or in a public library for hours for free Wi-Fi
Once in a blue moon, you even manage to download an entire movie.
You’ve mastered the art of doing a load of laundry in the sink
Your clothes are almost cleaner than when you use a boring washing machine!
You know that your van will never be like those on Pinterest
There are Instagram-worthy vehicles, then there’s yours—it smells of ramen noodles, there are dirty clothes in the back and the three pictures you stuck on the wall are falling off. But hey, it takes you places!
Technically, you don’t really have a mailing address
You always put your first hostel as your current residence.
Your current style is no style
You live in shorts and t-shirts and you don’t exactly shave, moisturize and comb every day. Or ever.
It’s not a bug, it’s a pet!
Spiders, cockroaches and other creepy crawlies are just some friendly company under the shower or in your bed. You can’t remember the last time you screamed when you saw something moving in the dark.
You can sleep anywhere
on the bus, in the airport terminal, in a crowded dorm, under the stars… whatever, you’ll get a good night’s sleep.
You carry half of your belongings strapped to your backpack
The MacGyver way to make sure you have everything you need when you run out of room inside your backpack!
Some days, you’re tired of the backpacker lifestyle…
… but you wouldn’t trade it for a normal, boring, non-travelling life!
What does your backpacker life look like? What skills did you learn on the road?