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

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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…

I love the Full Moon Party

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!

So 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.

Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand

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.

Monk Tattoo Sak Yant

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.

Eat Pray Love

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.

Rhythm & Sands Fire Dancer

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


Written by Nikki Scott, founder of SEA Backpacker Magazine and author of Backpacker Business – One girl’s journey from wide-eyed backpacker to worldwide entrepreneur. Check out her book on Amazon here!

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Backpacking in your 30s

Founder & Editor at South East Asia Backpacker | Website

Nikki Scott is the founder & editor of South East Asia Backpacker. A traveller-turned-entrepreneur, she left the UK in 2009 and after 6 months on the road, she started a bi-monthly print magazine about backpacking in Asia. South America Backpacker soon followed and today she runs her backpacking enterprise from her base in Spain. Her honest and fascinating book, Backpacker Business, tells the story of her success in the face of adversity.

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