Habits you get used to while travelling that you have to ditch once you get home
Words of advice for all the disgusting backpackers trying to reenter normal life.
JOSEPHINE RYAN MURPHY
Travelling definitely changes you. There’s no way you can survive months on end with everything you own on your back, a different bed every few nights and steadily emptying pockets without learning to adjust. At first these things may seem strange or even disgust you but soon they will become second nature as you evolve into another dirty backpacking fiend. However, you may get just a little too comfortable with the new you and become unable to distinguish between which of your daily habits are totally normal and which are definitely not ok. Here are a few tips to remind you that you are gross and weird and of the things that you’re going to need to stop doing once you reenter the real world.
Back home you wouldn’t dream of going near a drink that you can’t trace right back to the bar man for fear of being drugged but travel is a beautiful thing, all our worries seem to disappear, especially those surrounding safe drinking. Yeah you’ll drink a lot and that’s fine, the ways we go about getting our hands on this alcohol is where the problem lies. Some dude reaches behind the bar and produces reused plastic water bottles full of ‘local wine’ and you’re totally cool with that. Maybe you’ll go on a nudie run just for another beer or, possibly the most unacceptable, is something we at stoke call ‘mine sweeping’. All those half drunk or even full drinks left around the bar are calling out your name, they feel rejected, they need you.
STRANGE EATING HABITS
Eating three meals a day for days on end that consist of probably just one thing seems fine. Yeah you look like you might be dying and the iron deficiency and scabies is getting pretty annoying but there are so many things we’d rather spend money on than a stable diet; another beer or a balanced meal? It feels pretty normal to scavange through the left behind food at hostels and carry a kilo of rice everywhere. Splash out on an onion to spice up that rice and then carry its wilting carcass to every hostel because you just can’t justify buying another before this one is finished. However, you gotta stop doing this when you get home. Your friends will stop hanging out with you if you smell like mouldy onion, let the onion go dear Stokie.
Whoops. Come on admit it, sometimes it feels good to stop giving a shit and just live in your own filth. Finding some left over shower gel in the hostel bathroom makes your day. You wear the same clothes day after day because anything you change into is going to end up smelling pretty bad after a day of trekking around with that backpack anyway. When you run out of clean underwear, you just stop wearing them at all. And no one you meet cares because they’re all doing it too! Towards the end of your trip you might notice people moving seats when you sit down or maybe even offering you food while you wait for busses. You probably should shower before you get on the plane because although your family loves you, they will not want to hug you if you still smell like that.
SEX IN QUESTIONABLE PLACES
You’re travelling, you’re a free spirit now, livin’ and lovin’ in the moment. But just bear in mind, people in the normal world don’t like it when you do it on the beach or in bathroom stalls or hostel common rooms among many other places. Enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t get used to it, public nudity is an actual crime in most countries and that is not something you want your family bailing you out of.
BEING A SCABBY ASSHOLE
Taking little bits of everything out of the fridge and the bathroom so no one notices is a good tactic when you’re trying to stretch the last of your cash. Letting people buy you drinks and dinner and never returning the favour is kind of ok when you actually just can’t. Don’t be an asshole though, when you get home it’s time to start paying your dues. All your friends are probably as broke as you and your housemates will consider mutiny if you keep stealing their shit. Don’t be that guy.
What are you waiting for? Get a stoke passport and be gross like us!