Backpacker Stereotypes Part III: The Itinerary Junkie

Traveling is rough when you're constantly on and off a bus.

Traveling is rough when you’re constantly on and off a bus.

Backpacker Stereotypes.

As transient visitors, and consequently checking in and out of hostels constantly, any backpacker can tell you the chances to observe people are endless. Hostels truly are one of the best environments for people watching, and with a trenchant eye, it makes for an amusing sociology experiment. I have encountered many types of travelers, and all though stereotypes are generally frowned upon, the fact of the matter is, sometimes, people really can be put into a category.

So far, I have touched base on two other backpacker stereotypes:

1. The Christopher McCandless Wannabes

2. The Broken Hearted

And now, for number three…

The Itinerary Junkie

We have all met this Buck or Doe, and it doesn’t take much to spot one as they are making their way along the Gringo or Banana Pancake Trail, what with their noses forever buried in their guide books, or veiled behind a camera lens. An aura of chaos always seems to be hovering in their midst, as they are eternally spinning in and out of a revolving door which leads on and off a bus. Consequently, they typically have that “I’m a day behind on rest” sort of look, making one want to give them a big hug while at the same time, urging them to breathe.

No doubt their voracious appetite for travel is genuine, but what these Type A personalities have yet to realize, is it is all about quality over quantity. It seems  these ambitious creatures have become seemingly more obsessed with the idea of crossing a location off their bucket list, rather then traveling for the pure sake of  living in the moment. And that is why, these lost souls have simply lost sight of what it is all about.

Yeah, so you saw seven epic cities in twenty-one days? Who cares.

How much of the scenery, culture, and nature did your five senses whole heartedly soak in? Trust me, it is exponentially more enlightening to cut down a bloated itinerary to a more humble two or three stops, in order to truly soak up the surrounding world in her full form.

So yes, an Itinerary Junkie might have a token photo from every place to prove they have been there and done that, but do they have the stories to back them up? Tales of hitchhiking, eating a home cooked meal in a local’s house, playing a game of hop scotch with local kids, getting lost in a market only to find their way to a secret spot in town that is off the beaten path, and surprisingly *gasp* nowhere to be find in their “Lonely Planet”.

And that’s it folks. The hokey pokey of traveling-what it is all about.

On my first backpacking trip, I found myself in Costa Rica. I was a novice traveler at this point, and was guilty of being somewhat of an Itinerary Junkie. However, I will never forget the day when I stumbled upon a sign in Puerto Viejo that stated, “a true traveler has no plans”.

Eureka.

So friends, throw away the itinerary, quit the guide books cold turkey, allow yourself to get lost for a bit, and breathe.

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Comments

  1. I hope I can do this myself but I feel like I would only get lost.

  2. Does this mean that I can’t take those tour buses while visiting large cities?????

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