Been Travelling Too Long When…

Weary Traveller

I’m sure at some point almost every long term traveller has hit a point when they wonder if they’ve been travelling too long. I’m not sure there is such a thing as too long, but at the very least, you know you’ve been travelling a very long time when this list starts accurately describing your life.

You Know You’ve Been Travelling a Long Time When…

  1. You see your home country flag and think “that looks familiar, when did I travel there?”
  2. Taking a warm shower with decent water pressure feels odd.
  3. Someone starts a sentence with ‘when I was in (random place)’, not only do you know the exact area they’re talking about, you know the best bars and cheap local eateries.
  4. You get so obsessive about travelling light that you empty the trash bin in your netbook before packing it to ‘lighten the load’.
  5. The flag patches on your backpack actually are adding extra weight.
  6. Having a full set of clean laundry feels like winning a lottery.
  7. You can hold an entire conversation with hand signals and body language… and often start a conversation that way not expecting to be understood in your own language.
  8. You forget words in your native language but can substitute them with one of 10 other languages.
  9. A meal of random food-like items that have been in your backpack for weeks seems edible… possibly even a tasty treat.
  10. You stop ordering water and get beer because it’s cheaper… even at breakfast.
  11. When you can think of at least 20 uses for a bandana.
  12. You call any place you’ve stayed more than 7 days “home”.
  13. You wake up and forget which country you’re in.
  14. You count the last time you had a decent haircut not by weeks but by months or years.
  15. The mysteries of how exactly to use various kinds of toilets is no longer a mystery, at a glance you not only know exactly how to use it, you also know how to flush.
  16. The only thing left from your original packing list / home country is your passport.
  17. You not only know which airlines offer the cheapest flights between areas, you know the times and days they fly those routes.
  18. Bartering over the equivalent of 25 cents is a normal thing to do.
  19. You actually look like your passport photo.
  20. And now one that’s (mostly) for the women… you’ve perfected the art of hovering above the toilette so artfully that not only do you always hit the target, you can hover with the backpack still on without your thighs giving out!


Lisa E October 10, 2010

OMG….this is hilarious!

I can relate to just about everything on the list–especially 6, 7, 9, 15 and 18-20. The bathroom stuff is so true. Love the “food-like” items…I think I know what you mean!

Another way I know I’ve been traveling too long when I get a feeling of burnout and begin to long for my bed and my pillow. My trips tend to be about 4-5 weeks, and my last one (the Middle East) was about 40 days. At a certain point, after a few not-so-good decisions (designed to help me ‘make time’), I got really tired. As in–profoundly fatigued. I could have added on an extra week, but I decided not to. When I opened up my Lonely Planet, I found I couldn’t even focus. Nothing looked interesting anymore. All I wanted was sleep….in my bed…with my pillow. It was time to go home. And so, I did….

Catia October 10, 2010

I’ve been in that state (I’m guessing every long-term traveller has), in fact I was hitting that point a few days ago when I started this list.. laughter was a great cure. :)

InJimidatey! :D October 10, 2010

….I now realize I need to travel….

The Travel Bug October 11, 2010

This is a pretty accurate account of the travelling ways – the only thing it’s missing is the capability to dry your clothes better than any tumble drier by strapping them on to the outside of the backpack and placing yourself carefully on any moving vehicle.

Love the list. Where are you now?!

(sorry to repost – I noticed I’d ruined the commentluv side of life – hope this okay)

Catia October 11, 2010

Lol! I’d never thought of drying clothes that way.. guess I haven’t travelled as long as I thought. :p

This is my last day in Romania (an amazing place!) and I’m heading to Italy next. Pompeii has fascinated me since I first heard about it when I was a kid, so that’s my first stop.

(and no worries about the repost, I was in the admin area anyway so I cleaned it up :) )

Michael Hodson October 11, 2010

Such a great list. Had me laughing out loud a few times, in the common area of the hostel. Another reason I know I’ve been traveling so long….

flip October 11, 2010

love your list, i havent travelled for more than six months though but some of them happened to me hehehe…

‘You wake up and forget which country you’re in.”

Travelogged October 12, 2010

Great list! I especially like #4 and #10. One of the best things about traveling is that it that feeling of being happiness/relief when you arrive home. February 4, 2011

Definitely agree with you on #4 and #10 as well. I once emptied nearly half the contents of my backpack after hiking up a “mountain” in Genoa to get to my hotel. Since then I´ve learned my lesson especially on shorter trips when I have only a carry on

Odysseus October 12, 2010

I love #18! When I was in China, I became so aggressive when bartering prices that one day when haggling over street food that was being offered to me for the equivalence of 40 cents (USD), I said I would only pay 35 cents and when the vendor wouldn’t sell it to me for that much, I walked away. The vendor ran after me and let me buy it for 35 cents — and then I suddenly wondered what I was doing. Was I really going to skip breakfast because I thought someone was charing me 5 cents too much? Hahaha.

Catia October 15, 2010

Hehe, yeah, it’s strange how long term travel can alter a person’s realities a bit sometimes!

Erica October 13, 2010

Hi Catia, Thanks for sharing this funny list. While I haven’t (yet!) traveled for so long that I recognize myself in these “signs”, I really enjoyed reading it! One thing that has happened, though, is that I’ve forgetten words in my native language. I knew the English word for it but needed to ask another Swede to translate.

Jaime D. October 13, 2010

Oh wow this was funny!!! I can’t wait to feel like all of the above…lol~

Sabina October 14, 2010

Very funny! There could be such a thing as too long, but I don’t know…

Muriel October 19, 2010

Good points. #18 I have done. Its embarrassing to remember.

That evening of laughter we had in Brashov sounds like it may be the one you referred to in a reply above. Every time I saw signs for Arad, I thought of you and your middle-of-the-night-at-the-train-station story. I hope you write about it here. It was hilarious!!

johnny November 6, 2010

nice post guys :P couldn’t agree more! i wrote a very similar article!’ve-been-traveling-too-long-when/

Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World November 12, 2010

Awesome list!
#2 is soooo true…

Jasmine November 17, 2010

#4 – hilarious
#13 – totally done that before
#20 – OMG yeeeees! That’s crazy funny. I’m amazed at how many things I can balance on myself while hovering :)

Dave November 22, 2010

Ha ha… LOVE this list. I have been on the road for 17 months now, and can relate to the shower one :)

Waikiki Beach Bum December 23, 2010

I like number 6 the best. Being on the road really makes you enjoy the little things, so you’re more likely to win the lottery ;) Nice list!

Jasmine February 18, 2011

Oh my, that’s funny! I have a few experiences on that list, but I’m more of a 3 months out of a year traveler. Hovering over a toilet, lol, I can do it with my purse on my shoulder and holding an infant!

Catia February 18, 2011

Lol, I can do it with my backpack on but I can’t imaging trying to hover with a squirming infant!

Robert August 5, 2011

Good points. After two trips to Central Africa I can best identify with point number 2. And number 18 reminds me of my time in Latin America.

mac247waikiki September 2, 2011

This is funny… I really love this site thanks for sharing

kiwigram October 21, 2011

What a wonderful list. Yep, done most of it, especially number 8

Nick Smith April 16, 2012

Very entertaining and hilarious post! I especially like number 6 :)

Kimmie December 24, 2012

Hey Catia,
I love this page, it’s hilarious! I have definitely hit most of these points right now!
One thing I did recently… hitching in a French woman’s car with the radio on. Some song came on and I was thinking “Wow, this is great. I can understand EVER word in this song.” I was so proud that my languages were coming on so well. Then I realised it was in English. (I’m from Britain).
Great blog, keep going girl :-)
Maybe we will meet somewhere in the world one day!

Catia December 26, 2012

Heheh! I’ve done the same thing!

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