1. People on the street stop you to ask directions. That moment really feels like a party in your head: „Really?? Finally I don’t look like a tourist anymore? Put the music louder, hey, cheers everyone!“ [and the party in your head goes on until you go to the local market.. and you pay twice as much as locals. You can never trick old grandmas at the bazaar!] [Oh and of course… I can’t give the right directions either because most of the time I’m not sure what they were actually asking. So I’m just like „hmm… let me think *turning my head to every direction*… yes, sorry but I’m not 100% sure“. Then they thank you and you feel good because you were almost able to help them! Almost!
2. You hear so many great stories from every backpacker you meet that the next time when someone says „I’m on my way from England to South Korea with my bike“, „I tried to cross Usbek border on a donkey“, „I’m collecting money to buy a camel“ you’re not even surprised anymore. If someone comes with a story like „hey, I work nine-to-five job at an office“ I would be like „cool, really, I mean, seriously!“. 😀
[People who work at the office – don’t feel offended, it can be really great – been there done that! ☺]
3. Your home is where your backpack is. It can be a hostel, it can be a tent, it can be a place found via CouchSurfing, Phrase „I’ll go home“ sounds natural every time even though you might have different home every day. You feel like a snail, always travelling with your house!
4. You know how to get from A to B without checking the map (although, I got lost today to be honest :D). Let’s say, you know the neighbourhood more or less. Almost always… You also know about the prices of local buses, taxis, you know all the useful apps to use, you have your own favourite shop. PS. I remember one time when a taxi-driver tried to hustle me by asking a higher price.
Taxi driver: It’s 300 soms [around 3,6 euros].
Me: No, it’s 200.
Taxi driver: No, 300…. [thinks intensly]…. But I’ll play music as well. 😀
5. You keep bumping into people you have already met somewhere or at least heard stories about. The world is small and Central Asia is even smaller (obviously :D). It’s not rare that you’re sitting in the cafe or even just walking on the street and someone comes to you like „ahaa, you’re the Estonian girl?“. Or you just meet someone and feel like:
Madle (currently in Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan)