South East Asia, it’s a funny old place. Exciting, addictive and beautiful – not unlike travel itself. There’s no question that part of Asia’s appeal is the fact it is poles apart from our Western world, a place where you can very quickly find yourself lost in a totally different lifestyle and way of thinking. Well, we travelettes are nothing if not adaptable and on my recent stint away exploring the mysterious East, it struck me there are more than a few habits and experiences that those travelling this region might find that they share. So how can you tell you’ve fully embraced travel in South East Asia? Well, here’s a little list of signs you might identify with…
1) You walk doggedly out into oncoming traffic. Because in Asia, if you wait for all those scooters and cars to stop little chicken, you’ll never get to the other side.
2) You automatically leave your shoes outside bars and restaurants. Let’s keep these floors clean people – are we animals?!
3) The sight of more than three people on a motorbike no longer gives you palpitations. Even if they’re balancing dogs on their laps, chickens on their heads and a goat slung over the back.
4) A rooster is your alarm clock. Well, it’s either that or the hacking, coughing, spitting from the guy next door – what’s that all about?
5) You’ve perfected the art of wearing flip-flops in the rain. Kind of a heels-down shuffle unless you want mud all up the backs of your legs.
6) You’ve eaten a fried cricket or frog to show off. Ok, it’s not big and it’s not clever but it was worth it to see the look on the guys’ faces.
7) Food without chili tastes like cardboard. Even if it’s a hundred degrees out.
8) You don’t know what day it is. When every day’s this laid-back, who needs calenders?
9) Geckos are your friends. More geckos mean less chance of getting up in the night to face the cold fear of discovering the cast of ‘A Bug’s Life’ having a wrap party in the bathroom.
10) You think dogs in clothes are cool. Surprising it took so long for the rest of the world to cotton on.
11) You can’t shop without haggling. ‘Oh you joker you… now what’s your best price?’
12) You can recognise the scent of durian at 500 paces. If smells could kill this would be the spiky, green James Bond of the fruit world.
13) You’ve decided to learn fire poi. But you will never have that fearless lack of awareness of health and safety that would make you great.
14) You think more than £2 for dinner’s a rip-off. But you’re happy to pay twice that for a tasty looking mojito.
15) You feel cheated if you can’t find food carts or a night market. Because everyone knows the best eats are on the streets.
16) Leaves are your new plates. Unwrapping your meal? Turns dinner time into Christmas.
17) Buckets are your new glasses. Well, cuts down on needless re-filling time.
18) You stock up on loo roll at any opportunity. Because you just never know.
19) Coffee without condensed milk seems pointless. Caffeine and sugar… What’s not to like?
20) You’ve learned to cope with occasional food envy. With so much to choose from, eventually you’re going to order a dud.
21) You feel that regular massages should be a basic human right. Except maybe those slightly creepy ones with the foot-nibbling fish.
22) You can eat anything with chopsticks. Probably even peas.
23) You actively seek out Chinatown in new cities. And feel a sense of comfortable familiarity on discovery.
24) You bow when you say thank you. It feels more like you mean it.
25) 150 people a year dying from falling coconuts actually sounds pretty alarming. Jeez, what a way to go.
26) You don’t wait for everyones’ meals to arrive before tucking in. Rookie error if you like your food hot.
27) Elephants by the roadside are no longer a surprise. You think of them as bigger, wrinklier, less furry rabbits.
28) You start to believe you’re a celebrity. Off the beaten path you can feel what it’s like to have A-list attention.
29) You’ve fallen in love and can’t wait to go back.
Pics by Alex except image 2 via Nathariane Travel
Alex Saint is a writer based in Bristol, England – a place she calls home due to its friendly, diverse atmosphere and never-ending list of fun things to do. She loves tattoos, quirky fashion, pugs and, of course, travelling.