When you live abroad or travel full time, you become part of a new, very close-knit community.
It’s a community of expats and travelers, and at first you might feel like this is the secret to finding your very best friends – everyone will be just as eager for adventure as you! Just as excited about the cultures of the world! They’ll be fun-loving, flexible, and full of curiosity!
But as months pass and those careful small talk conversations evolve into ones with more meaning, you might be surprised about how much variety there actually is among the people you thought would be perfectly suited for you.
Yes, everyone is very unique and generalizations are never perfect – but for simplicity’s sake, let’s agree that there are a few different “types” when it comes to travelers. Some we love! Others might inspire a bit more eye rolling – and we’re sure they’re rolling their eyes right back at us for their own reasons.
So let’s break it down:
The Complaints You Don’t Care About
We’re starting here because it’s something we are definitely guilty of – lest anyone think we’re setting ourselves as above the rest.
Trying to keep a smile on your face and a happy thought during a 12 hour bus ride? Well, good luck if you’re sitting next to us. We’re going to be in a foul mood, and we’re going to talk about it.
You’d think we’d eventually realize that traveling will always include, well, traveling.
But no. We do not accept it. We hate planes, buses, trains – maybe we’d be happy with a teleportation device. But probably not if we still had to go through customs.
Sorry (not sorry) for spreading our negativity around – we just have to vent it out sometimes.
We get that some people don’t like our attitude. But sometimes our fellow travelers join in, we all have a laugh, and the time passes by much quicker.
The Good Side – We’re easy to read! No one is going to struggle to guess our mood – we’ll definitely let you know.
The Bad Side – All that moaning might not be the most pleasant thing to listen to on your red-eye flight. Oops.
We could get an award in moaning when it comes to transport.
Just Keep Smiling 🙂
On the flip side, we have our arch nemesis, the traveler who is going to be positive no matter what.
Let’s be honest, these people aren’t going to appreciate us much, and they are definitely going to annoy us in return.
Positivity can be a great thing! If you’re always angry, then the problem is probably you – not the country you’re in or the people you’re with. But, it’s also okay to experience a range of emotions and form an opinion or two along the way.
Constant positivity just isn’t real. Traveling will expose you to a lot of different situations and experiences. Some are going to be amazing. Some will be hilarious, confusing or humbling. Some are just going to suck. And we like a traveler who tells it like it is.
Of course your opinions are biased toward your own culture. We get it, everything is relative, there is no “good” or “bad,” one culture is no better or worse than another.
But I’m still going to be unhappy when customer service is slow, when buses are late, or when I can’t find any food I like. And that’s okay. We can voice a complaint and then move on. Everyone will be fine.
I really believe that us travelers are living the dream! But not every single moment is the dream.
The Good – A positive person can be a very laid back and flexible travel companion.
The Bad – Too much positivity and it just becomes an act. Not everything is good, and it puts pressure on other travelers to also pretend they love things that are actually torturous. A good ranting session can sometimes relieve stress!
But Home Is Better Because…
It’s always confusing to run into this one. They seem to have very little interest in other countries and they talk only of home.
We can’t really know what they are thinking, but we suspect they are only traveling in order to impress others. Deep down they must be counting down the days until they finally get back to their old familiar lives.
Because whenever something bad happens (and something seems to happen every day to these types), they lament that it wouldn’t have happened back home. They never got food poisoning back home. They wouldn’t have been targeted by a pickpocket back home. All the taxi drivers back home are honest, pleasant people who appear as if by magic whenever needed and always know the best route in any weather, traffic conditions, or zombie apocalypse that might occur.
Everything reminds them of home. Their new friends will get stuck in endless one-sided conversations about the way things would be done, organized, or handled back home.
Home, home, home. So why did they leave?
The Good – Honesty is always appreciated, in our opinion.
The Bad – But if we’re being honest, we just don’t understand how these people decided to start traveling in the first place. If it’s not what makes you happy, find what does!
Some experiences simply can’t be compared to home.
Keepers of the Sacred Itinerary
We don’t care how cliche or overhyped they are – we always want to see the top tourist hotspots when we’re traveling.
But we don’t need to see every single monument, museum, or historical site a city offers. And it can be difficult to travel with those who do if it means a packed itinerary, planned down to the minute, with little room for resting, wandering, or spontaneity.
There are (at least) two sides to every city. The tourist trail is one part, and we appreciate it. But we also find value in the day-to-day life and routine of the locals. You aren’t going to find that rushing from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre to Norte Dame.
While we like to prioritize a couple famous sights, we aren’t brokenhearted if we don’t see everything in the guidebook.
The Good – These travelers are excellent planners and they are probably very organized and knowledgeable.
The Bad – This travel style is just exhausting. You’ll see a lot, but will you enjoy it?
The Wise Men (and Ladies) of the Road
These are the travelers who claim to have “found themselves” during their journey. Maybe they’ve learned to be less hung up about time. Now they stop and smell the flowers. They aren’t materialistic anymore. They’ve gone vegan. They have let go of society’s beauty standards and live more authentically now.
Travel can definitely be a life-changing experience, and we can’t deny that our own experiences have influenced who we are today.
But sometimes it makes us cringe a little when fellow travelers are talking this way at a tourist-filled full moon party or a bar street without a local in sight.
It gets even worse when someone starts setting themselves up as an expert about a country they’ve only been in for a week. The longer we stay in a place, the more convinced we become that the local culture is too complex for a foreigner to truly understand.
And how often has someone given us a warning (or an enthusiastic thumbs up) about a place – only for us to experience something completely different when we arrived there ourselves?
A little humility is nice in a traveler. Your understanding will always be surface level, and it will never really be your place to dissect a culture that isn’t your own. If this is unappealing to you, the travel lifestyle might not be for you.
The Good – The ability to adapt to another culture is great, and an interest in self-growth will always serve you well.
The Bad – An interest in a new culture is okay, but it’s overstepping to proclaim yourself an insider.
Here’s a few more that you may have come across.
The Bragger – This traveller has done everything – jumping out of planes, exploring deep into caves, trekking through rainforests – and they want to tell you all about it. Have your own story to share? You’ll quickly be interrupted because he’s done something similar – but even more epic! And that’s only if you can get a word in to begin with.
The Paranoid – You might wonder what this person actually does when traveling. They won’t use taxis (they’re all trying to cheat tourists), they won’t take a bus to the next city (they drive too dangerously), they won’t go out after dark (they’ll probably get mugged), they won’t eat the local food (it’s not clean).
The Hippie – They’re so deep. So enlightened! They learned it all from their time exploring temples/monasteries/ashrams (or their friend’s time, or their friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s roommate’s time). But thinking about what they said later – it doesn’t actually make sense. It sounded great, but it was just trendy words, spiraling around, arriving nowhere. Maybe the original message was life-changing. But it’s been watered down to nothing by the time it reaches your ears.
The Soapless – Something about traveling seems to make certain people doubt their usual hygiene routine. Is this really considerate when you’re sharing a room with 20 strangers or crammed into an overnight bus for the next 8 hours?
The Spender – The one that blows all their money in one day. By day five they are calling their parents to send an emergency transfer of cash – or even worse, they are on the streets begging for plane money from the locals.
Which of the above are you?
But every type of traveller has one amazing thing in common! They have enough adventure in them to get on the plane in the first place.That can never be knocked, and we’ll always admire it. No one is perfect. We are all a certain “type” from time to time, and others will get annoyed by our contrasting perspectives or habits.
What type of traveller are you? Have we missed a key type? Do you think we’ve got a type all wrong? Let us know!