Whether it’s a temporary pit-stop to visit family and friends or you’re hanging up your backpack for a little while (saving and behaving), returning home as a backpacker is always a strange experience. Some might suffer from the post-travel blues whilst others find it difficult to shake off old habits (no, unfortunately you can’t barter the price with the Argos shop assistant!) Either way, here’s 10 moments that you’re bound to recognise in life after travelling.
1. You can’t stop converting currency
You’re so used to converting everything into your local currency that you do it on autopilot. ‘£2 into pounds, that must be… hang on a second!’ You’re also left comparing value for money, reminiscing of the good times in Asia when everything cost peanuts! Ironically, the bag of KP salted you just purchased could have got you 3 pints in Asia! *Sigh
2. Eating out just isn’t the same
So now you’ve been there, explored the country, experienced the culture and tasted the delicious local food. After eating the real thing, dare you go back to your village Thai restaurant?! If you do, you’ll probably spend the whole meal telling everyone how you could get a proper Pad Thai for 30p on the Khao San Road – and this mass-produced, Westernised version just doesn’t compare to it!
3. You can’t stop working out the time difference
If you’re back home for the long-haul, you’ll eventually forget to do this. But occasionally you can’t help but figure out the time difference and declare in wonder ‘It’s already tomorrow there!’ or fondly reminisce: ‘I’d usually be on my second beer right about now.’
4. You get excited visiting your local supermarket
Do you know how expensive it is to buy imported goods when living abroad? You’re never taking Cadbury’s chocolate or PG tips for granted again! There’s just so much choice back home!
5. You become the ultimate Instagram stalker
After sleeping in dorms, you might miss being surrounded by other travel addicts. In times of boredom, you’ll find yourself wondering what your new hostel mates are up to – so you pop on Instagram for a ‘quick’ nosey. 47 minutes later, you’ve heavily stalked at least 5 people you met on your travels, piecing together their family history and finding their pets and ex’s that they mentioned during that drunken deep and meaningful chat.
6. You find every opportunity to try out your language skills
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – so you promised yourself you’d keep practicing your newly acquired language skills. Except, nobody else is interested and that waiter has no idea what you’re saying. Ah well, the oblivious taxi driver after your big night out is in for a treat… “Hola Mr Taxi man, como estas?”
7. You’ve forgotten how to use a knife and fork
If you’ve spent your days travelling around Asia, you may have finally mastered chopsticks. Now you’re home, you can’t wait to show off your new cultural skills at every opportunity possible. You’re also probably used to rocking up at a street food stall and eating with your hands. But be warned, your Mum won’t be impressed if you shovel your Sunday roast in without using cutlery!
8. You’re not ready to part from your travel wardrobe
No one wears Harem trousers and flip flops here, unfortunately – especially not before June. And it might be time to lose those festival wristbands and withered friendship bracelets!
9. You’ve forgotten how to queue
Coming back to the UK? There’s one thing to remember: we love to queue! And if there isn’t perfect order, we’ll let you know about it (through a loud tut, of course). So, forget about the pushing, shoving and general chaos that you’re used to and wait patiently in line.
10. You get really excited to meet other backpackers
Finally, someone who gets it! They understand your feels and you hit it off instantly. Is it too soon to ask them to be your best friend immediately?
If you recognise all of these moments a little too well, maybe it’s time for your next adventure?
(Article thumbnail image by Marco Verch)