LUANG PRABANG, Laos // Though I carry a backpack I'm discovering I'm not a backpacker. We don't party. We don't do drugs. We drink but are never drunk. Im not in search of my next hook up or looking for my next cliff to jump off of. We aren't hungover and we don't stay up late. I go to bed when I'm tired and wake up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed. I sleep well in a private room. I am not dirty. I shower once a day and brush my teeth twice a day. The more 20 something year old backpackers I meet the less I want to meet them. I am willing to pay up for a good meal and clean accommodations.
When we decided to fly to Luang Prabang instead of take the overnight bus there were no backpackers on the plane. We had moved into another generation of retired travelers. It was an interesting transition that made me realize; I'm happy this is the time of my life when we decided to travel. This trip at age 20, and this trip at age 65, both would have looked entirely different than what we are experiencing now. Not that it's a better time, but just a different time. We are at a point where we have worked for 8 years and can appreciate our year of "vacation days." We are paying for our own trip so we value everything we spend. I don't know what to call myself, but I know "Backpacker" does not define who I am.