7 Questions All Long Term Travellers Hate

Long term travellers are magical creatures with a different hierarchy of needs than most. We require a passport in the same way others require a regular paycheck and a head over their heads. 

We are usually a tolerant breed, but there are a few questions that are guaranteed to – for various reasons – get on our nerves. Would you like to antagonise a traveller? Here are seven things you should make sure to ask us. If that fails – which I assure you it will not – you could always just burn our passport. I dare you.

1. How many countries have you been to?

It all depends on the context – this question can be very flattering when posed by an awe-struck acquaintance, because it gives us free licence to show off. Trouble usually comes when a group of competitive travellers come together and try to one up each other. The conversation usually goes a little like this:

Traveller: “So, how many countries have you been to?”
Me: “Around twenty I think.”
Traveller: “Oh, you’ve been to twenty countries? That’s sweet. I’ve lived in three hundred.” 
Me: “I’m pretty sure there are less than three hundred countries on this planet.”
Traveller: “Yeah, I know. But I’ve been to Mars, too. Gosh, you’re such a beginner, Sabina.”
Me: “…”


Seriously, you guys. Can it all just stop? I’ve had this same exact conversation so many times, I don’t think I can do it ever again.

2. Which place is your favourite? 

Simply put, our favourite destination is always the next one. Some places will be better suited to a person’s needs than others, but anyone with the heart of a traveller feels most at home when they’re on the move.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m a traveller! I don’t know where I’m going to be in the next five hours. In fact, I’m not even sure where I am as we speak. I don’t read Thai, my Google Maps app isn’t working and this berry I’ve just eaten may or may not be poisonous. Seriously, can somebody help me?

4. Aren’t you getting too old for this?

After meeting more eighty-year-old adventurers and twentysomething homebodies than I can count, I’ve realised that age is just a number and that this applies tenfold when it comes to travel. Wanderlust is like herpes, because – whether you want it or not – that shit is for life. It doesn’t matter if your legs are crisscrossed with varicose veins and your boobs sag to your knees – your brain will never be too old to plan a vacation.

5. Don’t you know your friends and family miss you?

This question is annoying because we know the answer all too well. We’ve missed birthdays, weddings and graduations aplenty – and sometimes we really hate ourselves for it. We need travel to survive, but sometimes we wonder if we are being selfish by fulfilling our dreams. Whenever someone asks us this question, it brings all our insecurities to the surface and makes us weep a little on the inside.

6. When will you get a real job? 

Teaching English in South East Asia? A real job. Wiping hostel toilets? A real job. Full-time travel blogging? A real job. Need I continue? All jobs are equally real, regardless of the amount written on our respective paychecks.

7. When will you settle down? 

Don’t you get it yet? The answer is, always has and always will be NEVER! We might get married, buy a house and commit to a full-time job, but we cannot change what we are – which is travellers.So, please ask these questions with caution – or not at all – unless you want to make a traveller sad/angry/unacceptably emotional.

What do you think, travellers? Do you agree with me or am I just being super sensitive? Are there any questions you absolutely hate being asked?

  • Greg and Em

    I would go even further and say there are statements I hate like “welcome back to the real world” or “have you settled back in” after returning from a long trip. Check out our journey at http://www.onelongpeel.com

  • Hah, #3 and 6 are my total faves, because no one ever seems to realize how condescending they are when they ask them. And it’s ALWAYS those exact words “a *real* job” (i.e. not that weird semi-homeless internet thing you’re doing right now). If “real job” means 9-5 in suburbia, a huge TV, and a spouse who I find mildly annoying at best, then I answer with the T-Swift meme.

    #2 (favorite places) really doesn’t bother me though. My answer is almost never the same, but I don’t mind gushing on some awesome place I’ve been recently or somewhere I miss from a while back 🙂

  • My most hated question has to be ‘but have you been to the real Japan, Bali (insert country here)’ … Duh! I didn’t even know there was a pretend one. Yes personally I love to get off the tourist trail and find the smaller towns, hike and wander aimlessly but honestly, Tokyo is just as much real Japan as any other city or town

  • One question I have had and dislike is “how do you pay for all this?” which I think is out of line and rude. Why are my finances anybody else’s business? I have a ‘regular’ job and use vacation time to travel – I choose to spend money on flights and hostels rather than material things, but apparently it’s weirder to afford Morocco and Brazil at my age than it is to buy a car.

  • Kristin

    Haha I’m literally dying right now! This is all so true and I’m so happy you posted this so I know I’m not the only “free-spirit-for-life” wannabe on this planet. I’m 32. How old are you? I’m dying to get moving and do more traveling. My only child is 13 and spends summers with his grandparents and my husband works a lot, has loads of guy friends and plays softball and golf all summer long… so no one NEEDS me around. I recently had an epiphany. I’M A FREE WOMAN and need to take advantage of that. What to do, what to do… ???

  • Juliane Grasekamp

    Love it, this made me laugh so much! And they’re all so true! Nice one Sabina 🙂

  • funny but true!:)

  • Aleksandra Medina

    hahahahaha amazing!