1. Repeatedly scour airfare websites to check the prices on trips they have no means or intention of taking.
Want to know – down to the dollar – what it would cost you to get to Manila tomorrow afternoon? Just as a traveller-on-hiatus. They may never have been to Manila but they’ve searched the trip on Kayak four times before breakfast. Any dedicated traveller keeps one eye constantly peeled for deals – they may not be able to afford it right now but they like to stay informed of their options.
2. Play the host in their hometowns
Traveling isn’t just about seeing the sights – it’s about connecting with likeminded people and expanding ones awareness of the world. You’ll find seasoned travelers flocking to many of the same spots at home that they flock to on the road – hostel bars, couchsurfing meet-ups and language exchange groups. They thrive to stay connected to the travel community and are eager to help out a fellow wanderer in need – chances are they’ve appreciated the hospitality of locals at some point in their travels and they want to do the same thing for others.
3. Systematically downsize their belongings
Travel is the miracle cure for being a pack rat – the longer you spend on the road, the more you realize how few of your things you actually need to get by. When you get home, so much of what you have just seems excessive. You want to be free to pack up and move across the world at a moment’s notice, which means the less stuff, the better. No traveller ever takes more than they can carry.
4. Annoy the crap out of their friends by starting every story with “This one time in Columbia…”
Okay, give your traveller friend a break here – the majority of their stories genuinely did take place somewhere else. But it still gets a wee bit annoying when every story’s prefaced by some fantastical location. Travelers get so used to specifying place when they’re telling a story that they sometimes forget when it’s unnecessary – I.e. I read that book can occasionally stand in for I read that book in Zanzibar.
5. Seek out friends from other countries
Though sharing a culture offers so much opportunity for connection, many travelers can’t help but feel out of place when they return home. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the company of their friends and family – it’s that the choice to live abroad emphasizes a specific set of personality traits that are often somewhat absent in the people who choose to stay. Travelers often feel more comfortable around other expats than they do around their own flesh and blood – these people understand the flow of coming and going, and there’s always a comfort in that.
6. Wake up in the middle of the night to Skype some-friend-or-other who is trekking through Nepal at the moment.
The world runs on many different time zones and so do most travelers at home. In order to keep up with what’s going on with their loved ones, they have to wake up at very strange hours to hold stolen conversations through laptop screens. It’s a disjointed form of connection, but travelers know that there’s nothing more comforting than seeing a friendly face on skype when they are on the road– so they don’t mind rising early for a friend.
7. Aggressively explore nearby cities
The itch to adventure doesn’t cater well to dormancy. Any time a traveller is limited to a certain geographical area you can bet your ass he will explore every single nook and cranny of it. Stuck in the state? Not a problem. There’s a cool surfing spot six hours West. Out of money? That’s okay – someone will stop if you stand by the road with a thumb out long enough. There is no limitation you could place on the life of an explorer that would cause them to cease exploration –their brains are simply wired to be constantly seeking out adventure.
8. Surprise everyone with the skills they’ve picked up on the road
Of course I speak fluent Guyanese! Seriously, you guys don’t?
Send someone off into the world for long enough and they’ll come back a completely different person. Your timid cousin Rachel now knows how to hunt. Your quiet friend Mackenzie now speaks three new foreign languages. Your picky eater daughter now has frog legs as her lunchmeat. Travel forces people out of their comfort zones, which spills over to their lives back at home. We keep on being the people we’ve become on the road, long after we get off it.
9. Beg everyone and their mothers to take the next trip with them
You guys don’t really need those full time jobs though, right?
Travelers who are grounded are the most restless buggers imaginable. They are ruthlessly committed to taking their next trip but they always want company with them. They miss you, they love you and they’ve chosen to selectively omit the fact that your job does not allow you to gallivant around the world willy-nilly. Travelers put a good show up about leaving but at the end of the day, it’s what they all hate the most – saying goodbye to loved ones as they chase that ever-loving impulse to move.