Over The Hill? 20 Things Every Backpacker in their 30s will Understand

You’ve spent many a sleepless night on an overnight bus getting snored at and dribbled on by the guy in the seat next to you.

You’ve lay awake, shaking back and forth in a backpacker dorm bed whilst the couple in the bed above you attempt drunken fornication in the wee hours.

You’ve eaten a plate of fried rice enthusiastically after you’ve seen the biggest rat of your life in the kitchen where it was just cooked.

But that was all in your 20s…

Neon girl at Full Moon Party
Your 20s were a time of growth and discovery.

As a wide-eyed, fresh-faced young backpacker, no travel hiccup, set-back, nor the worst “Changover” in the world, could prevent you from having the time of your life!

And now you’re 30.

Will you ever go backpacking again?

Hell yeah!

But this time, for your sanity and your dignity, there’ll be a few slight adjustments….

20 Things Every Backpacker in Their 30s will understand:

1. Full Moon Parties and Booze Cruises. You look at taking a travel kettle with you so you can make a mint tea back at your guesthouse.

Anyone for a cup of tea when we get back?

2. You’re happy to spend an extra 10 pence on a meal that won’t give you food poisoning.

3. You will never stay in a backpacker dorm room again in order to save $2 USD.

4. You will never take an overnight bus again. Air Asia is the way!

5. You’ll take a taxi over a tuk tuk and be happy to pay double the price.

6. You won’t come back with a tattoo in Thai language of something deep and meaningful.

Getting a tattoo in Thailand is a backpacker rite of passage!

7. “So where are you from? Where have you been? How long are you travelling for?” You reach for your headphones at breakneck speed whilst pretending not to understand English.

8. You won’t be ‘finding yourself’ this trip. You failed the first time.

9. You’ve just read ‘Top 10 Places to go in Thailand’ and crossed them all off your list of places to go.

10. You’re taking a backpack on wheels.

11. You’re up early for a trek at 5 am, so you decide to go to bed before midnight.

12. You’re diving the next day, so you don’t drink 10 buckets.

13. You’ve lost your flip flops so you buy another pair rather than walking around barefoot for the next few weeks.

14. You get up before check out time at the hostel. You have no one else to kick out of your room, and you even have time to make your bed.

15. You aren’t going to read The Power of Now, Eat Pray Love, or The Beach.

The Best Travel Books of All Time
Let’s face it, you’ve already read the ‘cliche’ choices.

16. You have no intention of learning the ukulele.

17. You don’t haggle over the price of a sarong for 45 minutes on the street.

18. You avoid party hostels like you avoid malaria.

19. You don’t want to learn to fire dance.

Fire show at The Hideout Hostel, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Drunkenly dancing with fire in Southeast Asia? We’ll pass thanks…

20. You didn’t pack your waterproof first aid kit, sleeping bag liner, emergency whistle and survival blanket – but you’re surviving just fine.

Nikki Scott - Founder South East Asia Backpacker
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker and The Backpacker Network. In her early twenties, she left her home in the North of England on a solo backpacking adventure and never returned! After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine that became legendary on the Banana Pancake Trail. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

5 thoughts on “Over The Hill? 20 Things Every Backpacker in their 30s will Understand”

  1. Thanks for sharing this fun article. I hale from Toronto, and my first trip abroad was a prize I won, for 10 days all expenses paid trip to Rio de Janeiro, age 22. Nothing until 1985, then 33, my first year backpacking Asia, from Korea to Burma, missed a few countries. Went home for a few months and worked like a crazy person, and was gone again, for a little over a year, right around the World. Then marriage, kids, divorce, and a return to Solo Backpacking 2 years ago, Japan, Vietnam, Beijing, and celebrated my 67th Birthday aboard a cruise junk in Ha Long Bay. Now I’m preparing to liberate myself more permanently from my Life’s Work, in 2 years, if I live, and return to a sort of fusion expat/backpacker life- TESL and Massage Therapy Teacher, (44 year professional therapist), centred on Hanoi and all the surrounding countries, from Penang to Bali, Ilo Ilo to Vigan, Angkor Wat to Taipei. 69 Winters is the number of Earth orbits around the Sun, in my lifetime- I think I prefer to number my times around the block, and the World.

  2. I first went backpacking when I was 19 in 1989 and have been fitting trips in with the rest of life ever since.
    I think, blogs like this one do too much age stereotyping.
    One thing that is a real pain these days are the age stereotyping questions people ask me on a regular basis when I am backpacking.
    Sometimes on my less patient days I cut the question askers of with “Independent travel means you do your travels your way, not the way of your age or any other aspect of you that society thinks it can define for you better than you can yourself”

    1. It’s just a jokey article Juh-Juh! It’s not meant to represent all 30 year olds… 😉

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