Whoa – just before you get too excited I’m NOT 41, and I’m not committing fraud. But over the last couple of days I’ve started to wonder how people are looking at us as we travel around.
The 41 year old bit comes from a conversation one evening in Fiji, when one of the other travellers at dinner decided I must be 41 – at least. Now I’m not usually the vain type (I don’t think, but then again…), but it came as a bit of shock to me. I always thought that I looked a young 38 – for that is my real age – but obviously the past years have been wearing on me. Or maybe it was the dim lanterns we had for illumination. Or perhaps it was the fact that they were 40 and felt bad about it. Yes, that must be it. I don’t really look 41, and somebody of 40 was so jealous of me they sought to wound me in the most harmful way… 😉
So then, the ‘fraud’ bit. Since we arrived in Sydney, and checked into our hostel (which is a ‘real’ backpackers hostel by any definition of the word) I’ve noticed other backpackers looking at us in a strange way. Almost as though they think that we don’t belong in ‘their’ world.
Here they are, doing their adventurous round the world travel thing, and reaching out to new frontiers, and then this family turn up obviously on holiday, because that’s what families do. And this family have the cheek to stay in a proper backpackers hostel, instead of staying in a hotel where holidaymakers are supposed to stay. You can almost see them thinking that we don’t belong there. And yet, we’re doing the same travelling that we did 10 years ago, staying in the same kind of places, and having the same kind of adventures and pretty much doing the same kind of things – and when we did that we were part of it all. When you get talking to other backpackers, and you get past the “You’ve flown a long way for a two week holiday” bit, then things change, and they open up more. But until then, I feel as if we’re treated as interlopers – there’s all these 23/24 year old backpackers, on their first big adventure, and then there’s somebody like their Mum and Dad, pretending to be doing the same thing. Oh well, perhaps I’ll just have to get dreadlocks and wear tie dye, and at least then they’d know that we’re not typical tourists (mind you, what on earth would they think of us!). Anyway, just to give you an idea, there’s a couple of photo’s for you – one at the airport in Fiji (do we look just like tourists or what?) and one of the minibus dropping us at Fiji airport. Now, we don’t look like proper backpackers, because the minibus driver wasn’t a Kiwi, and we didn’t have a 4 foot wooden carving hanging on our backpack – still, got time to fix that in Oz with a didgeridoo!