30 year old backpacker


You get questioned all the time about where you stand in life.

“You’re married?”, “No”, “You have kids?”, “No”, “You bought a house?”, “No”, “You have a good job?”, “Not anymore” and then they give you the poor-girl-she’s-thirty-and-not-settled look. And I give the yeah-but-i’m-having-a-blast-on-a-trip-around-the-world one.

You have the full backpacker look but everyone thinks you are in a honeymoon.

Apparently the heavy backpack, flip flops, muddy walking shoes attached to the bag are the new “Just Married” look at the hostel receptions. Your answer? “Oh yes!” so that you get an upgrade.

You become a budget-wise-person and you definitely drink less.

5 tequila shots are not worth the upgrade to the ensuite-bedroom, because now you actually need your 8h sleep to start the day and you love a clean bathroom. And you hate hangovers.

You really used to love the backpacker happy hour’s peanuts, beers and beer-pong.

Now you are just dreaming of a cheese platter, a good Bordeaux (a 2005 would be much appreciated) and a ping-pong competition on the telly.

You want the triple cheeseburger with fries and a normal Coke that skinny post-teenager with the crop-top is having over there.

But for you it is going to be the Garden salad with dressing on the side and Coke Zero. Tough.

You start seeing crop-tops in every hostel lounge in the world and realize you will never, ever, wear one in your life.

When they were hot in the 90s you were 12 and your mother didn’t approve, now you’re 30 and you’re stomach doesn’t approve.

You decide to go to a moon party and you do not dare to get those cool body paintings.

The twenty-year-olds look like they came straight out from a Spotify playlist. You would look like you had met your year-old nephew on the way in.

You are not trying street shrimp food just like that.

You’ve been around long enough to know the possible collateral damage that a bad shrimp can induce. And it’s bad.

You carry a paper notebook, a paper diary and a real pen with you.

But don’t tell anyone. People might think you are an old-fashioned backpacker. Especially if you are writing postcards too, which of course you are.

You finally understand your parents who you used to curse for waking you up early.

It’s only 8 you are ready to go to enjoy the day and avoid the tourist queues. But you will never, ever tell them that. Unless you have a blog they are reading. Like this one. Hi Mom!

Share this Post


  1. Stefan

    Bloody love this! All so true – except the crop top. We would never shy away from wearing a crop top ahahahahaha!!

    1. Author

      Hahahahaha, you are absolutely right and I might buy myself one. If not now, then when? 🙂 And thanks for reading me 🙂

  2. Maman

    Hi, my girl !
    J’ai beaucoup ri en lisant ton post ! Après la maturité vient la sagesse ! Qu’on se le dise, qu’on se le dise, ma fille est devenue SAAAGE !!! Je suis fan de tout ce que tu écris. Keep writing !

  3. Gemma


    Feeling old as a backpacker varies so much on where you are, In central America most were 25-35 and traveling in solo. In new Zealand they are generally a lot younger, I’m sure at least 60% of them are 18year old Germans. One asked my age (then 27) and his response was ‘wow, that’s crazy, you were like 18 when I was 9’. he repeated this several times. I used it back at him when he was telling me I should watch the movie ‘sharknado’ and I’m glad I didn’t travel when I was 18, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now, and I would never had had the guts to go to Central America!

    1. Author

      Hahahaha! Gemma, I had exactly the same experience in Australia with 18 y.o. Germans at a camping amazed by our age! I couldn’t agree more. Although traveling the world is an amazing experience at any age, I guess that doing it when we are thirty allows you to really realize how amazing it is to be this free!

  4. Norman

    I am not doing backpacking – but still i can so relate. 3 weeks ago I was in Ecuador and made friends with a rather young girl (21) ..and there I was telling here “you know,… i’ve been here 20 years ago, but things where really different then”. Internally that phrase made me stop at full break: Wait?!?! Did I just really say “20 years ago”????

    1. Author

      Hahahahahaha seeeee another advantage of seeing the world when you are thirty, you can not only compare destinations but decades!!!
      Now on a less funny note… I have been traveling like you for quite a while now, but whereas in my 20s I was mostly discovering things, now I am absorbing what I see and live. As if every experience becomes a part of me. Do you agree? Have a great day Norman!

  5. JG


    make us just wondering how it would be at 65?

    Enjoy et Bon Vent !!

    Vs embrassons

    1. Author

      Hahahahaha! Trueeee but we have met a lot of 65 y.o. on the road for much longer than we did 🙂 And they were much better equipped and organized than we were!
      Bisous from Cartagena!

  6. The Barefoot Backpacker

    I turn 40 next month ……… 😀

    I’d agree with an earlier poster (Gemma) when she says it depends how old you are. I felt very old in Australia, but in Central Asia I think most of the people in the hostels I was staying in were in their 30s. It makes sense in a way; the stereotype of young backpackers is to partyparty and will go to parts of the world with a higher proportion of beaches and bars; older travellers tend towards culture & history, and also more “difficult” destinations -> it’s much easier to backpack around Thailand than Uzbekistan.

    I always try the street food though. After all, that’s what it’s there for! And travelling is actually slimming for me (guess it’s all the walking i do!), plus I want to enjoy myself, so no salads for me 🙂 There was a local burger joint selling heart-attacks-in-a-bun about 100 meters from my hostel in Addis Ababa. I went there twice in three days! 😀

    1. Author

      Dear Barefoot Backpacker, as I do not know your birthday date I wish you a happy 40 in advance, which I am sure will bring you a whole new lot of adventures and again a different perspective on your travel experiences. It is true that according to where you are traveling the age range changes completely, even within a same country. I am currently in Colombia in the Coffee Zone and we have been meeting people looking for trekking, hiking and cultural discovery usually in their late twenties and up. In Taganga on the Caribbean Coast, known as a party scene people were definitely younger and looking for a beach-party atmosphere. This is also why there is no better age for traveling: it allows you to collect a huge range of experiences with different perspectives as we grow up.
      As for slimming it really depends on the countries for me 🙂 Colombia and its arepas, and pan de quesos, aguapanela, etc… is definitely a hard place to pay attention to what you are eating. While in China I have managed to lose a few pounds 😉
      Have a great day and thanks for reading these humble lines 🙂 !

Leave a Comment