Just some of the little ways we have grown used to as backpackers and seen other backpackers do on our journey so far:
1. Wear beads or cloth bracelets around your wrist or ankle – not sure why but we all do this – men and women and kids – it’s a must if you are seriously going to call yourself a backpacker!
2. Speak…real…ly…slow…and…sim…ple…Eng…lish…to…every…one…you…meet – and once you start you can’t stop and we’ll probably need to visit a speech therapist when we return.
3. Wash your clothes in the shower – I must admit I started this way and it’s quite therapeutic, but once I discovered how cheap it is to hand it over and it comes back clean and pressed…say no more.
4. When you couldn’t be bothered washing your clothes in the shower you just wear them again – for some reason we don’t seem to stink as much as we do back home…or is that because I’m hanging around with backpackers?
5. Consume hot soup for breakfast in the tropics (go Steve!) – food is food and a meal is a meal. So eat up!
6. Carry around the Lonely Planet like its your bible – it really does have all the answers when you need them.
7. Negotiate the price on EVERYTHING (maybe except water and alcoholic drinks) – when you realise that you have just bargained them down to a total cost of 5 cents and it’s taken an hour to do so you somehow walk away depleted but happy.
8. Walk around carrying 1.5 litre bottles of water – they have little finger handles to hold onto them too. Definitely a backpackers fashion accessory!
9. Travel on an overnight sleeper bus – buyer beware, say no more.
10. Try things you would never do back home – from crossing the road without the green man at a bust intersection to never wearing seat belts in cars to riding motor bikes with 2 kids without helmets to parasailing on the beach to eating unusual street food to drinking homemade daily fresh beer on a busy kerb in a small chair.
11. When one or more of the kids has a meltdown in the street/shop/boat/pool/beach/restaurant/hotel lobby and the Vietnamese try and help, you ask the nearest person ‘you like to have this one?’
And lastly, the best one of all:
12. You have been backpacking for at least 2 weeks and someone asks you what the day is and you really have no idea what day of the week it is. Plus you really don’t care either.
Gotta love the backpackers life.