I’ve been travelling for a while now and I have gotten pretty good at spotting the signs – tattered trousers, expert haggling skills and the ability to walk pretty much anywhere – a budget backpacker will tick the following boxes…

  • You eat street food at least once a day.
  • You eat just twice a day.
  • You walk an hour to save a quid.
  • You will work an hour to earn a quid.
  • You are excited to be paid a quid.
  • You get drunk and blow a quid on a colourful hat.
  • You constantly lose your hat.
  • You walk at least an hour a day.
  • You are a hitchhiker.
  • You sleep rough to avoid paying for a room.
  • A dry patch under a bridge is a bed to get excited about.
  • You can sleep in places nobody else can.
  • Your back constantly aches.
  • You take Valium to sleep and stop your back aching.
  • You steal toilet paper from posh restaurants and cinemas.
  • You steal napkins from grotty cafes and vendors.
  • Napkins can be used instead of toilet paper.
  • You attempt to purify potentially lethal water to save buying bottled water.
  • You give up and just drink the tap water.
  • The tap water stops making you violently sick after a couple of weeks.
  • Anything free is to be taken in as large a quantity as possible.
  • You can fix literally anything with tape.
  • You argue over twenty pence for up to twenty minutes.
  • You wear the same clothes for as long as possible to save on laundry.
  • Rather than buying boots, you trek through snow in trainers lined with plastic bags.
  • You steal plastic bags.
  • Your cure for any illness or injury is to drink a coke.
  • A thirty plus hour bus journey is preferable to spending twenty pounds more and flying.
  • You steal multiple baskets of free bread.
  • You buy stuff to sell for a profit of under a fiver back home.
  • You refuse to pay even five pence more than the local price.
  • Your rucksack is your best friend.
  • You no longer notice how filthy everything is.
  • Socks can be washed in the shower.
  • Showering out of a bucket is perfectly normal.
  • You haven’t had a proper shower this month.
  • You haven’t had a hot shower this year.
  • Staying with a potential psychopath for free is preferable to paying for a room.
  • You despise but are secretly jealous of flashpackers (backpackers with lots of money).
  • You have eaten bugs.
  • You consider hunting bugs so you don’t have to pay for dinner.
  • You prefer to travel spontaneously.
  • You have an overwhelming urge to explore the whole world.
  • You will explore the whole world.

This is just a little list I scribbled on the back of a napkin about a week before I left India to head home, I had been travelling for about 18 months straight at this point and although I had not ‘found myself’ I had certainly learnt a lot.

Want to learn how to travel the world on $10 a day? Check out the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…