Feb 19

Backpackers Say the Darndest Things

Alright, I have a backpack. I may have hiked on one or two trails in my time. I may even have stayed in a backpacker’s hostel on one or two occasions. That doesn’t make me part of that excitable, peculiar tribe known as Backpackers, though. No, sir. I’m as much a backpacker as I am a hipster. Don’t tar me with any of your brushes, brah.

Having convincingly established my non-membership, I am now entitled to peer down on Backpackers from my perch of unassailable superiority and poke fun at some of the more recognisable language traits of this particular band of travelers. Here are my favourite Darndest Things Backpackers say…

So, kid, tell me exactly while you're trying to hustle in on my white-pant caper. That cute-because-stupid hustle you're running's only good for so long...
So, kid, tell me exactly why you’re hustling in on my white-pant caper. That cute-because-stupid game you’re running’s only good for so long…


Darndest Thing # 1: “So, I’ve done (insert standard traveller destination) and (hmmm some other standard traveller destination?). Have you done them? Where are you doing next?”

Maybe I’m just jealous that I’ve never been to Machu Pichu or the Lake of Tranquility. Maybe I’m just a cranky old man. Or, maybe I find this belt-notching kind of tiresome after a while. Or, perhaps I’m just confused as to how a place is done. Whatever the reason, this type of  conversation never fails to instill in me a compulsion to go to the bathroom. Even if it’s just to sit in the dark and cry.

Darndest Thing # 2: “Where are you from? Ah… where exactly? Oh yeah. That’s near (insert place nowhere near where you’re from), right?”

I find it hard to explain where I’m from at the best of times. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t really know, myself. Also, the places where I grew up are fairly obscure; and not for any very interesting reasons. They were just kind of boring, little-known places. I end up getting into a very dry conversation about the topological features of South Australia, when I could be asking them what place they’re doing next, instead.

Bonus Round: (If person in question is from, say, anywhere in Canada:) “Ah, Canada! I’ve got an uncle in Vancouver.” (studies face to determine whether person in question knows said uncle.)

Darndest Thing #3: “Yeah, man, I guess (insert name of amazing place you’re currently at) is alright, but it’s nothing like I expected. I mean, (insert name of place that might be fine, but completely different) has got way better (thing that other place is famous for), and (this amazing place, that’s actually fairly cheap) is too expensive. Also, the culture’s pretty crap.”

Although ratting all over a place you’re currently at – particularly when done loudly and in earshot of locals who live there and may happen to love it – may be a way to impress some people, I find it hard for it to have that effect on me. Instead, I find that such conversations end up with me singing “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls under my breath, just so I have something much more meaningful and interesting to occupy my mind with.

Well, there you have it. Your guide on how to have pleasant and exciting chats next time you’re at a hostel. I wonder if you have any other typical, hilarious topics of Backpacking conversations.

And I also wonder… where are you doing next?

Editor’s Note: We love backpackers, and we are all backpackers. Keep on truckin’ around the world guys ,)


9 thoughts on “Backpackers Say the Darndest Things

  1. Paul Giles on

    Hahahahah, Maricela; I could say that it’s probably the safest way to “do” backpackers, but that would be a little crude, now, wouldn’t it….?

  2. Maricela on

    HA HA Ha!! I like the way you “do” backpackers. well said Paul.

  3. Jon on

    The ‘I’ve done’ thing has always infuriated me as well. Thought I was the only one! I’ve always made a conscious effort to say ‘I’ve been to’ in those situations.


      Paul Giles on

      Jon, especially when “done” means “had a quick look at.” You do the dishes; you do the washing, you even do yoga, but really guys, do you do the Amazon? Really?

  4. Runaway Brit on

    Great post! This reminds me of a conversation I overheard between two aussie girls in a hostel in Colombia (Santa Marta), as it happens.

    Girl 1: So, are you going to visit Parque Tayrona while you’re here?
    Girl 2: Nah. I’ve seen beaches before, I’m just going to hang out at the hostel.

    You just have to wonder why some people bother to travel at all…


      Paul Giles on

      Ms Brit – whatever people want to do with their time is fine with me, but yeah: I don’t get that at all. If you follow that philosophy to its logical conclusion, you would never go anywhere, as you would’ve seen a country before…


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