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Which Type of Traveler Are You?

Everybody has a type…but what type of traveler are you?

By Lizi Woolgar

We’ve all been there. Grumpily sat on a tube shooting duty looks towards that guy in the corner with the music. The music so loud even aliens on Mars have to strain to hear the results of Come Dine With Me. I turn into a right Grandma I do; Well no wonder he has it so loud, he’s probably destroyed his eardrums from all the irresponsible music usage over the years. The reality of it is, we probably at some point have all been that guy too. From my very own field research, I’ve put together a list of some common characters you’ll have experienced on your travels over the years. Have a look and – honestly, now – decide which kind of traveller you are.

1.       The Serial Snacker (could also be cereal snacker I guess, if possesses penchant for breakfast foods)

Typically found in a two-seater making endless rustling noises for hours. Once settled, the serial snacker will delve into a magazine whilst listening to an iPod and aimlessly doing what they do best: snacking . This makes snackers totally oblivious to the noise coming from their direction. Warning: risk of ‘yapping’ noises and foul smells, if cheese & onion crisps are culprit’s food of choice.

2.       The Hyena Pack

Although far from natural habitat (typically shopping malls or the cinema), this gaggle of gals will act as if they were not in a public place. Screaming obscenities and going into far too much detail about what happened at the party last night; we do not care. Next level hyenas come out to play in festival season. Some of the worst offenders can be found on the train from London – V Festival (Chelmsford), half-naked and noticeably inebriated come 10.30am.

3.       #LadsLadsLads

May be found traveling with the hyenas, but more readily spotted on a Friday evening around dusk. Pre-warning comes in the recognisable scent of beer traveling down the carriage. The lads can often be heard exclaiming “ahh bruv what a long week”, “down it!”, “LAAAD” and general expression of their excitement to be drunkenly reveling upon arrival at desired location.

4.       The Sleeper

There’s always one. Usually found alone, the sleeper will seemingly be catching Z’s for an entire journey, yet somehow magically awaken when their stop is called. Some kind of innate timer wired in, I suspect. More severe breeds tend to roll their heads onto unsuspecting neighbours, twitch uncontrollably (alarming themselves literally every. Single. Time.) or let out an occasional dribble. With no friends to awaken them from their slumber, sleepers can provide endless entertainment on the most dire of journeys.

College Student on Metro Train

5.       The One on the Phone

This creature tends to be easily confused and often bad-tempered. After carefully selecting their own two seats, they presume that – hidden behind these seats – as no one can see them, no one can hear them either. Really poor logic and possible evidence of stunted evolution here. Phoners will usually spend the entire duration of the journey shouting frantically down the phone to Shaniqua, totally unaware that fellow nomads can indeed hear every single word.

6.       The Polite One

These types of travelers are most varied in appearance and actions. They may simply willingly slot into chairs so you are able to haul your oversized bag past, they might stand on the tube despite seats being available (allowing others to relieve tired legs) or sacrifice their seat as soon as they see a pregnant or elderly being. These polite specimens do tend to instill guilt in ones’ obnoxious self, but aid the restoration of faith in all humanity.

7.       The Selfish Shell

Gained the nickname “shell” from the shape they can typically be found in whilst traveling; they will recoil into themselves as far as necessary to avoid facing fellow travelers. The culprit tends to spread all belongings out on the seat next to them, whilst using an array of hoodies and coats to disguise their curled up body so as to fool everyone that they are asleep. This technique has been found to stop others from sitting next to you. Nobody likes waking people up, right?

8.       The Over-Shoulder-Reader

One of the hardest kinds of traveller to deal with. Their presence normally only makes itself known to you after 5-10 minutes of boarding transport. It might be a gentle wisp of breath on your neck or someone clearing their throat literally centimeters from to your ear. You slowly turn your head to catch them darting their eyes in the other direction. I know you were reading over my shoulder. I do not want you to do that. The best way to deal with these leeches is whip your head right round and shoot them your dirtiest look. They will not come back for second helpings.

9.       The Failed Swag-it-Outer

One of my favourite travelers to observe. These failers will more often than not be dressed in super trendy get-up comprised of trainers, snapback and rucksack combo. More commonly of the Male gender. They will lose all sense of cool whilst manically trying to dash onto a train in time, only to find out – once boarded vehicle – they actually had loads of time. After a wave of embarrassment (visible on the reddened face), perpetrators will then try to ‘swag it out’ by assuming an ‘I’m so chill’ stance, or limping down the train carriage (a walking style highly admired in the #swag kingdom).

10.   The Businessman

Generally commuters, the Businessman is fantastically dull to observe. They are now at a stage in life – past the phone calls and failed swag-outs – where they simply sit, suited and booted, on their laptop. The real mystery with this species is how they always seem to manage to get the table seat. Undeterred by any irritating passer-bys, the Businessman stands his ground and is truly the alpha male of the traveling family.

Of course, there are plenty of low-key, calm and respectful travelers around – they’re just nowhere near as fun to observe now, are they? From shells and hyenas to the alpha male, I think I’ve quite successfully created my very own animalistic travel kingdom. So, David Attenborough, eat your heart out.

Lizi Woolgar

University of Bristol | 40 stories

Graduate of University of Bristol. Having spent my first two years of University writing for the student newspaper, epigram and Brighton-based Spindle Magazine, I then went on to edit the Style section of Epigram 2012-2013. Now keen to pursue a career in journalism/editorial work, I look forward to writing my weekly column for The College Tourist, all the while seeing where my writing and travel will take me.

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