The Travel Type
There’s a particular spirit that comes with a willingness to leave the comforts of home for an unexplored and; a certain twinge in the soul that separates travellers from kind of people that will spend their whole lives rocking on a front porch.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with catching the sunrise and the sunset from a deep-set wooden porch and a comfy chair, it’s that what’s just beyond the eaves of our houses calls to us. And no matter how hard we try, it never really shuts up.
When it comes to people and travel, I know what I’m looking for to place my travellers. Sterotypes are one word, but I like to think it’s less judgemental than that—it’s more like tendencies. And they’re all great ones at that. While the stories are different, and travellers comes in many shapes and many sizes, there are just a few of them that you can spot right away.
1. The Experienced One
Known for exhibiting an innate sense of patience and ease, even in stressful situations, The Experienced One is not flabbergasted by your late trains and missing buses—they’re completely used to it. Prone to wearing dark layers and always looking for a place to hang their hand washed socks, The Experienced One doesn’t have so much age as a content expression and tanned skin from walking the streets of Madrid, and Athens, and Rome, and Budapest, and Stockholm, and…These are the guys to make buddies with if only to share in their infinite knowledge of how to get the best pictures, lunching spots, napping nooks, or rainy day suggestions.
Other notable signs: A plastic wrapped passport (for unexpected showers), a tablet (they know better than carrying a heavy laptop), and shoes that look like they’ve seen better days (they know a perfectly worn-in pair when they see it).
2. The Newbie
Sometimes wearing an expression of pure doubt, and other times one of complete wonder, The Newbie is characterized by their childlike sense of approaching everything from happiness over a beautiful cityscape to disappointment due to a cancelled flight or overbooked hostel. They will be carrying new sets of everything: backpacks, luggage locks, hiking boots, sleeping bags, and probably leave that new stuff on their bunks once or twice and completely forget it’s there. But the beauty of The Newbie is simple; if you hang with them, it’s like experiencing everything for the first time, and after a while, they morph into The Experienced One, full of the best tips on where to eat, stay and play.
Other notable signs: Extra maps (folded and creased many times from use), books on common local phrases (Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?), and they abruptly change of direction (they totally knew it was right not left, they just were making sure you did too).
3. The Partier
Oftentimes surrounded by a group of equally loud and club-bound people, The Partier is a specific kind of traveller—one that knows exactly where the good time is. They can rattle off tales of Cannes, of Monte Carlo, of Prague, Amsterdam and Berlin without a moment’s hesitation and have everyone at the bar buying them a next round just so they can hear the next crazy adventure. They usually sleep all day and stay up all night, and are constantly wearing their sunglasses, even if it’s night. They don’t care about the museums—unless it’s about beer—but there’s certainly no one better to grab a couple of drinks with, that’s for sure!
Other notable signs: Costumes (no one else has room for a Spiderman onesie in their backpack), a tendency to book an entire hostel room (stag night, anyone?), they go to a city and see nothing but the party district (and what a lovely party it was).
4. The Second Chancer
How does one discover themselves? By getting a little lost and The Second Chancer is out and about trying to do just that. They’re wearing the story of what their life used to be like and the things that they’ve left behind right on their sleeve, and for the first days (or even few trips) they’ll be wondering if the decision that they made to sell the ranch and grab a pack was the smartest thing they’ve ever done. Give them time, they’ll turn into the best travellers, open to taking a surprise hike through the Serengeti or a lesson on how to surf in Brazil or a midnight walk to hear the sounds of Lisbon after hours.
Other notable signs: They talk about home (a lot at first, less as time goes on), they get letters (even if they’re on the move all the time), they people watch (it’s calming, right?).
5. The Creative
Forget the starving artist stereotype, The Creative is going to bank on the expat lifestyle like Hemingway and Dali, and use the world around them to give them fresh eyes, or ears, or words. They’ll be carrying the guitar, the Canon, the tape recorder, or the Moleskin around everywhere, and they’ll be the ones taking notes during dinner, planning no doubt, on making everyone they meet their next muse. These are the ones to add on Facebook, just to keep up with them out of curiosity—it could be your quirks that make them famous.
Other notable signs: They disappear for hours at time (getting lost looking for inspiration or reflecting on the day, no one knows), they’re just as likely to be in a bookstore as the city center (it’s where their heroes live), and they have a serious coffee addiction (what else helps them burn the midnight oil?).
I feel comfortable around these kinds of travellers, and while this is no exhaustive list, I can say that I’ve either been one or more of these people, and met plenty of the rest—it’s all a part of the adventure, right?
Have you come across a traveller type I didn’t mention? Share in the comments, I’ve probably met them too!