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5 Signs You've Been Traveling Too Long

Portrait of old man


You could end your backpacking trip for any number of reasons: a job, homesickness, losing one of your anti theft purses, regular sickness and school are just a few examples. In some cases, instead of you ending the trip, the trip ends you. It makes you mad, changes your personality and turns you into a degenerate low life. The key to avoiding this mistake is to recognize the symptoms. Learn what it means to travel for too long.

You are no longer aware of your own odor. In fact, you suspect that you are starting to smell better some how. Those underwear that had forced you to gag only weeks before now smell fantastically benign. Your armpits and other sweaty regions don’t seem to give off a sour, decaying smell anymore. If you wonder how this is possible, it’s because your olfactory system has shut down out of survival instinct. If you could smell yourself, you would die. In fact, after the first several showers you may find that you start to smell worse as your body pulls itself out of its nasal coma.

You no longer have any money, which is depressing because like or not, the only thing separating a backpacking foreigner and a homeless street urchin, is money. If you do have money, you stopped checking your account balance long ago. You know that you’ve blazed through whatever supply you had and that you are now living on the edge of credit. Your bank is salivating so ferociously at the delectable concoction of overdraft and international fees that you’ve accrued that your bank manager will probably pick you up from the airport.

Your trip has lost any semblance of a plan. At first, you were motivated. See this monument, visit that museum, try this local beer and so on and so forth. Now, you wander the streets aimlessly, hardly able to summon the will power to trick your mind into believing that you are still ‘traveling’ or ‘on holiday’. If you do have plans, they are driven by the most basic of human needs and are always of the short term variety. These plans might include eating saltine crackers, hogging a drinking fountain, pooping, napping on a park bench and eating saltine crackers.

Family & Friends
Your family and friends had a memorial service for you months ago. The flowers are all dead, the chicken salad sandwiches are all eaten. The girlfriend who was always supportive of your big adventure is now dating your best friend, older brother or some other, equally hideous option. You couldn’t stay in contact because your Skype credit was all used up and you were kicked out of all the internet cafes for excessive napping.

You came to Italy so that you could learn Italian. It was always your dream to be bi-lingual in English and Italian and for a while, you were. But at that peak moment when you had mastered both languages, you kept traveling. Now, you’ve forgotten how to speak English and your Italian has gotten so good that it is mostly slang and nonsense idioms that will never serve you in the professional world.

By Patrick Hutchison



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