Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One Month In: What it Feels Like to Be a Backpacker

So we've been away-on the road, in the sky, and on the sea-for just over a month now. When March 2nd came it was the first time it really hit me that this was different than anything I'd ever done, and I took some time to think about the fact that we'd been away from home, work and our everyday lives for an entire month. It got me thinking about a few things and I wanted to share with you some of the realities of being a "backpacker," which I think we can officially call ourselves now.

You Know You're a Backpacker When:
  1. "Doing" your hair means putting gel in it and scrunching it instead of braiding it or simply pulling it into a ponytail.
  2. When you check into your hostel and find not just towels, but WASHCLOTHS(!!!) you feel like you just won the lottery. (Side note: we're not gross - it's not like we haven't brought our own washcloths (bandannas actually, because they dry quicker) - it's just super exciting when they are provided for you-so far it's only happened once!)
  3. You meet new people every day but rarely see them again, so when you run into someone that you had a five minute conversation with a few days before it's like you're seeing one of your best friends.
  4. Candy, chips and yogurt constitutes dinner. (Not every night, don't worry. We typically eat one big meal a day, and have smaller things for the other meals (in many cases breakfast is included with out hostel). And it just so happens you can find yogurt, chips and candy (all in gluten free varieties!) no matter where you are!)
  5. You've worn the same socks for three days and will probably wear them again before washing them. (Sorry, may be a little gross, but it's true!)
  6. You go through your backpack on a regular basis to see if there's anything you can ditch because you just don't need this much stuff!
  7. You bought (and are wearing) a handmade, woven bracelet you bought for 50 cents and you are thinking it's about time to get another.
  8. You haven't watched TV in a month and you don't care.
  9. You always have ear plugs and an eye mask nearby when going to sleep. (Between the roosters in the Galapagos, the horns in Quito, the traffic in Lima, and the dogs in Cuzco, they're a must for a light sleeper!)
  10. You have to specify that you want a room with hot water (and air conditioning - if they even have it).
  11. You know where people are from and where they are going before you know their name (and that's how you remember and refer to them).
  12. Finding toilet paper in a public bathroom is a wonderful surprise.
  13. You can pack up everything in your possession in five minutes or less and be completely organized.

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