The Hierarchy of Backpackers by Baz
Seonaid and I recently discussed our observations on the hierarchy of backpackers which I would like to document. Backpackers meet regularly on the road in hostels, on buses or at various tourist attractions. Generally there are 2 questions that are asked at the early stage of meeting another backpacker that equate to a show of strength.The answer will determine who will be the dominant of the two. The questions are:
For how long have you been traveling?
How long are you away for in total?
The answer to these questions will pinpoint an individual on the backpacker hierarchy under the following headings.
"Holidaymaker" The holidaymaker is traveling for less than a month. They have no experience of traveling and are treated with contempt by "real backpackers". Most backpackers will walk away from a person upon discovering they are a "holidaymaker"
The 8-month-er.Someone traveling for between 2-8 months is given a certain amount of respect by fellow backpackers. These people have given up normal life up to follow the dream, they may have some experience and stories to tell and have a certain backpacking pedigree.
The most highly revered backpacker is one who will travel for 8 months plus, however there are a number of subcategories of this type of backpacker, based on how far into the trip they are.
The inexperienced long-term-er - Those who are less than one month into their travels invoke more envy than they do respect. They havn`t yet developed the experience and therefore perception of knowledge that comes from being on the road for a longer period.
The experienced long-term-er - Those that are more than half way through their 8-12 months are the most highly revered backpacker of all. They have been there and done it and can tell stories and impart knowledge with a smugness reserved for this level of traveler.
There are a couple of other types of backpacker that deserve a mention.
The "Going home soon-er" - You may think the traveler coming to the end of an 8-12 months, and therefore has the most knowledge to impart, is highly revered but in fact they are seen with some sympathy and even a little contempt by fellow travelers who, when they look at these sorry soles picture their own demise, returning to work and "normal life".Backpackers in their prime do not like to be around the "going home soon-er"
The serial backpacker - The serial backpacker travels for 3 out of the last 6 years and is seen with suspicion and fear by fellow travelers and other people in general because, although this is fun and all that, you must have a bit of a screw loose, or be in trouble with the law if you want to be away for that long.
Seonaid and I are proud to be entering the experienced long-term-er category quite soon and look forward to behaving with the smugness and self assuredness that this position entitles us to.
Will update soon with pictures of the wales and glacier.