Culture Guides, On the Road

The Instant Global Morning-After Self-Locator

Wherever you are and whatever you’ve done, find yourself instantly.

With the release of The Hangover 2 it has become more fashionable than ever to wake up lost and hungover in a shitty hotel in a strange city (sorry Bangkok, you definitely count as strange). With the success of the franchise it seems inevitable that further sequels are in store – think The Hangover 3: Amsterdam, The Hangover 4: CancĂșn and The Hangover Prequel: Some Ivy League School – each repeating precisely the plot of the original film.

The thing is that while it’s becoming big money now, this has long been a staple travel experience of road junkies. Anyone who has spent serious time on the road has woken up, at some point or other, in a place completely unknown to them, surrounded by mysterious clues to the previous night. It may be one of the defining backpacker states: to be in a place with little idea of how or why you ended up there.

Just as important as retracing how you got yourself into this situation is finding a way out of it. With this in mind, Road Junky has created the Instant Global Morning-After Self-Locator. Print it out and keep a copy of it with you at all times; guaranteed instant self-location wherever you are and whatever you’ve done. Once you piece the story together though, don’t forget to write it down; we’d love to hear all about it, and there might even be a film deal in it for you.

1. If you wake up on a beach at the same time as fifty other equally-confused backpackers than you are in Ko Pha Ngan and just enjoyed your first Full Moon Party.

2. If you wake up on a beach surrounded by good-looking naked people you are in Croatia.

3. If you wake up on a beach to voices shouting of “dose cervaysahs por favor grazias” you are in Mexico during Spring Break. Make no mention of college football affiliations, and get out before the beer pong starts.

4. If you wake up on a beach ass-naked, robbed blind and with two black eyes you are in Rio de Janeiro. Don’t bother calling the police; they have already found you.

5. If you wake up in a snow bank covered with ash and with hauntingly beautiful music playing close by, you are in Iceland.

6. If you wake up in a snow bank with a shotgun lodged in your ribs you are in Alaska.

7. If you wake up in a snow bank and are greeted in six different languages by a helpful hiker you are in Switzerland. Don’t touch anything; you can’t afford it.

8. If you wake up in an orange jumpsuit with a soldier pissing on you, you are either in Guantanamo Bay or a Banksy happening. If there are any painted elephants about it’s probably the Banksy one.

9. If you wake up in a Karaoke room stinking of garlic and surrounded by red-faced Asian businessmen you are in Seoul.

10. If you wake up in a Karaoke room stinking of garlic and surrounded by red-faced Asian businessmen and one blonde girl you are in Busan. Make sure Tatiana has enough cash to get a taxi home before you leave.

11. If you wake up in a Karaoke room next to someone who looks exactly like Rihanna but with an adam’s apple, you are in Manila.

12. If you wake up in a Karaoke room wearing a bear suit and draped in soiled panties, you are in Japan and have had an uneventful Monday night.

13. If you wake up next to an Australian you are in West London.

14. If you wake up next to a Brit you are in East Sydney.

15. If you wake up between an Australian and a Brit you are on Khaosan Road. Order some banana pancakes before leaving.

16. If you wake up in a speeding boat surrounded by men holding AK47s you are off the coast of Somalia and either a victim or accomplice of piracy (it can be a very fine line).

17. If you wake up in a speeding car that won’t take a corner or bend or hit a bump in about eight hours you are crossing Kansas or Nebraska. You have at least eight more hours of the same ahead.

18. If you wake up in a speeding bus surging around blind hairpin bends at night you are in Bolivia. The thumping electro-panpipe-cumbia should have made that pretty obvious.

19. If you wake up surrounded by broken tequila bottles and wearing a sombrero you are in a US college dorm and just celebrated 5 de Mayo with a bunch of white people.

20. If you wake up surrounded by broken beer bottles and with enough money in your wallet for a taxi home you are in Prague and just celebrated Mick’s stag do.

21. If you wake up surrounded by broken vodka bottles ass-naked in the snow you had a quiet night with some work colleagues in Moscow.

22. If you wake up with the taste of rotten fish in your mouth you are in Scandinavia. If music is playing see point 4. If everyone is multilingual, attractive and middle-class you are in Sweden.

23. If you wake up with the taste of rusting metal dowsed in gasoline and set on fire in your mouth you are in Mexico and just had your first encounter with mescal.

24. If you wake up with the taste of cheap mozzarella in your mouth and pieces of herb stuck in your teeth you are in Cambodia and should have shared the happy pizza around.

25. If you wake up with the taste of rice and beans in your mouth you are in Nicaragua and constipated. You probably didn’t do anything very interesting last night.

26. If you wake up and everyone is speaking perfect English you are in the Netherlands.

27. If you wake up and everyone is speaking far too loudly you are in the US.

28. If you wake up and everyone is speaking far too loudly while gesticulating wildly you are in Italy.

29. If you wake up and everyone is offering you hash, carpets and tea you are in Morocco. Have some mint tea but don’t pay asking price for anything.

30. If you wake up and no one is offering you hash, carpets or tea, even though they have an abundance of all three, you are in Casablanca and about to get shanked.

31. If you wake up and everyone is wearing parachute pants and sporting strategically unkempt mullets you are in Barcelona or Argentina. If there are Erasmus students throwing up on hookers nearby it’s Barcelona.

32. If you wake up in a hospital being cared-for by highly skilled doctors who don’t charge you for their time you are in Cuba.

33. If you wake up as everyone around you breaks into perfectly choreographed song and dance for no apparent reason you are in Bollywood, aka Mumbai.

34. If you wake up in a serene temple perched on a rocky crag and surrounded by penis sculptures you are in Bhutan. Don’t try and explain yourself; you’ve corrupted enough happy, innocent people already.

35. If you wake up in a pub and find your nose about two inches to the left of where it used to be you are in Glasgow. Harden up.

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Phil Johnson

Phil Johnson is an editor at Road Junky and more of his work can be read atHe keeps a his blog. You can also enjoy his bountiful wit via Twitter.