The Three Month Rule
Miami Beach, United States
A glimpse at one of the unspoken traveler rules.
My friend Andy recently wrote about a rule of long-term travel that travelers know about, but don't often discuss. I don't think it's necessarily taboo to quietly speak about the Three Month Rule, but to openly write about it is a violation of the rule in and of itself.
Even though I've returned to the United States (for an extended layover), I still consider myself a traveler, traveling. This reminded me of the little insight posted on Andy's site in early March.
The following is a excerpt from a larger post that Andy wrote, that can be found at http://www.hobotraveler.com/2007/03/three-month-rule.html.
When A Traveler Stops Traveling
If I stay more than three months in one location, then I have stopped traveling and have become an expat. I am living in a different country; I am not traveling or a traveler.
- The counting of days or months is frowned upon; no true traveler is clear about what day of the week it is or the date.
- Doing a Visa run to another country, and returning does not stop or terminate the counting of time.
- A person must have traveled for over one year, and not violated the three month rule, to be considered eligible to think or talk about the rule. All others person shall politely admit they are not travelers.
- The counting of days and months is to be very loosely enforce; nobody is allowed to say to a person: Show me your passport. This is bad form.
- The passport is the proof, yet in a accordance with rule four, no person I allowed to check your passport.
- This is an honor system; the only person who enforces the system can be yourself. You are allowed to cheat, lie, get quirky, and/or make up sub-rules, however in the end, you will know if you obeyed the rule or not. Guilt and shame is the little goblin on your shoulder, telling you what to do.
- Persons who say the rule doesn't apply to them instantly have defined themselves as non-travelers.
- Travelers are not expatriated or expats.
- After violating this rule by having lived in one location for three months, a person is required to stop the time count. They must start again. They cannot say: I have traveled for X amount of years as if it was continuous travel.
- A person is not to discuss these rules with non-travelers.
All the rules above, violate the Prime Directive of Travel, which is to do what you enjoy and not care what anybody else thinks or says; therefore the Three Month Rule is moot.