You haven't truly backpacked until you've spent 2+ days with someone and not known their name. You know where they've been, where they are going, where they are from... but their name? Not a clue.
However, even if you don't know their name, you know their type. The longer you're on the road, the more you see the same people over and over again. I mean this both literally (you continuously bump into the same people), and figuratively (ah, yes - I know your type).
On one hand, the people who jet off to Asia to wear crochet tops and avoid the real world are some of the greatest on the planet....
... but, on the other hand, the stereotype goes a bit further than, "I'm finding myself."
THE 18 PEOPLE YOU MEET WHILE BACKPACKING IN SE ASIA:
1. I CAME HERE TO PARTY
I have a direct quote for this one: "I don't need to party every night on this trip, but probably like 95% of nights."
Yep. That is something I actually overheard. You don't have to go looking for parties in Southeast Asia. They are everywhere. Drinks are cheap, and everyone is trying to have a good time.
However, some people take this to a new level, and party for months straight. Usually bros, traveling in packs of two, with a beer in hand at any hour. They may not see all of the sights, and sleep most of the day away, but they are having one hell of a time.
Often in tandem with...
2. I MIGHT NOT OWN A SHIRT
It is not actually culturally appropriate to walk around scantily clad in Southeast Asia, but this doesn't stop some people, especially bros who have managed to maintain a six pack while drinking every night. I get it - that is impressive. I would probably want to show it off too. Otherwise, they have a really cool tattoo that everyone needs to see.
3. I AM ON AN EXTREME BUDGET
All backpackers are on a budget, but there is always that one person who is on a budget.
They won't drink, won't go out, won't go on tours, and will walk several kilometers to save $0.50 on water. However, they will be able to travel years longer than the rest of us.
4. I AM NOT ON A BUDGET
On the outside they are just like you: staying in a hostel, wearing dirty clothes... and then things start to not add up. They buy drinks for everyone. They want to go to nice restaurants. They book flights at the last minute. They can afford nice souvenirs. They go on big excursion trips. They are usually very kind and generous folks, but sometimes it is hard to keep up with them.
5. WE ARE IN LOVE
Most people don't want to travel alone. I understand that - it is certainly not for everyone. A lot of couples travel together and have an amazing experience.
Sometimes when hanging out in a group of people, you don't even realize two people are dating...
....and then other times, you notice right away. You're smacked in the face by their obvious love and PDA. Woof. I'm being kind by ending this here.
6. I MIGHT BE INSANE
We talked for 10 minutes and now I am afraid of you.
7. I'M FINDING MYSELF
This is everyone to some extent, but then there are the people that are finding themselves.
These people are the best. They are always down to have deep talks, give advice on how everything works out, and generally make you feel great about your trajectory in life.
I wish I could start every day with a conversation with this person.
8. I CARE ABOUT TRAVEL MORE THAN YOU
On the other hand, these people are the worst. We all love travel. That is why we are here. However, these folks are on a mission to prove that they LOVE travel more than you.
They are more active. They are judgemental when you take a day off. You can't talk about a place without them interrupting you to say, "I've been there too."
Don't be this person.
9. YOU AREN'T COOL ENOUGH FOR ME
It's a good thing I think I'm pretty cool, because I have met plenty of people who think otherwise.
You give me short answers when I try to socialize with you, you're on Instagram while we're talking, and while our dinner plans weren't set in stone... you totally ditched me.
Oh well. You weren't very fun anyways.
10. I AM WORKING ABROAD
These people are doing the same thing as everyone else, but their trip is a smidge more legitimate. They have less free time, but their resume is going to look better when they get home.
They are half real people, half crazy (like the rest of us).
11. I AM GETTING CERTIFIED IN YOGA
Same as above, but instead of getting paid a menial amount of money, they are paying a lot of money for a piece of paper. Weirdly, I never actually see any of them doing yoga.
12. I KNOW MORE ABOUT TRAVEL THAN YOU
Similar to, "I care about travel more than you," but when they interrupt you, it is to correct you or tell you facts. It is okay to be this person, but everything in moderation.
13. I HATE GERMS... AND I AM MISERABLE
Oh, honey. I feel sorry for you. You gotta let this one go the second you get off the plane.
I thought I had low standards of cleanliness, and then I backpacked in Southeast Asia. It's going to be okay!
14. I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF TIME... BUT I AM MAKING IT WORK
These people also rock. They are stuck in the daily grind (9-5), and could only take a few weeks off from work, but they are still making it happen. Cheers to y'all!
15. I WANT TO BE ALONE
Usually found on their laptops, or sneaking out of the hostel without saying goodbye to anyone. This is me pretty often. Other people are great, but they slow you down.
16. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME BACKPACKING
... and I am nervous about missing my bus, or sleeping in a room with strangers. You're allowed to be this person for one week, maybe two, but then you need to move on. It is going to ruin your trip.
Take a deep breath and remember that life is a journey, not a destination... and bad situations make the best travel stories!
17. I HAVE A GOPRO FOR NO REASON
This is the one thing I cannot forgive - an unnecessary GoPro.
You can ditch me, or tell me I don't know anything about travel... but if you are using a GoPro to film your food, or a viewpoint you drove to... I can't be your friend.
18. I'M AWESOME
Last, but certainly not least, are the all the awesome people you meet along the way. The people you bond with, share experiences with, and part with on a bittersweet note. These are the people you are just glad you met at all.
For the most part, this is pretty much everyone, despite all of the lovable quirks. The people you get to meet while traveling are one of the best parts taking a trip. I truly feel like I have friends all over the globe, and my perspective on life is wider from all the different people I have spent time with.
BONUS: I AM NOT ASHAMED TO TAKE TACKY PHOTOS
These people defy all rational to me. HOW do you have the confidence to pose for a photo in some bushes, or splashing water up from a puddle? (Both real things I have seen.)
I am often too embarrassed to simply take a picture of my food!