Traveling around the world with your whole life in a backpack sounds like an adventure for most people. Backpacking can offer a new adrenaline rush for anyone who seeks journeys into the unknown. It can also provide spiritual and mental cleansing, a break from the societal standards of toxic work and stressful daily routines.
However, it is also an education. Backpacking offers you lessons about the world and yourself. Each trip will give you a better understanding of other people’s perspectives. You will start to put yourself in other’s shoes. Backpacking is a lesson in life, and it is endless.
Before starting for your first adventure, there are a few tips that can help you understand the education you are about to get. Here are some of the essential lessons that a backpacker will learn during their first trip around the world.
Appreciate the Beauty of Life
You are walking out of the door and take a quick look behind before your adventure. You’ll notice everything you have invested in your life, from your favorite furniture to your hand-picked doormat. You may even be wearing your favorite pairs of shoes for the trip. A few weeks into your adventure, you’ll start to leave everything behind. You will realize that the things you are holding on to are non-essential.
You will start to replace the shoes with a comfortable pair of flip-flops. You will notice that you are carrying your money in your pocket instead of your wallet. So, the best advice is to pack as little as possible. You can pick up the essentials along the way.
When you turn your attention away from material things, you’ll focus on relationships and experiences instead. If you are polite and respectful, you’ll find most kind souls are willing to help you when you get lost.
Speaking of lost, you may find yourself thinking about the most popular and exquisite restaurants and luxury hotels in a country you are visiting. Sometimes luxurious experiences are worth splurging on.
However, you will come across people that will give you recommendations that aren’t online. Because of the right person, you could find yourself at a cheap restaurant with the best ramen noodles in town chatting with locals about a special park on the other side of town. Personal recommendations from locals can lead to the best experiences.
When going through a lot of new experiences, your body starts to change. Backpacking trips put the human body through a lot because of all the long flights, strenuous activities, exotic seafood, and sleepless nights. You will begin to go out of your comfort zone and test your limits. It may be uncomfortable, but it is a beautiful lesson for a backpacker.
As you start to gather experiences around the world, you will see how lucky you are. The spiritual and mental growth you can get from backpacking is a lesson that is hard to understand when you are staying put at home. Make every second of your trip count.
The Rude Awakening
The lessons that come with backpacking does not always result in good. They may also occur in the form of harsh reality. An important rule in backpacking is to alert your bank about your travel plans. You may need your credit card to have fun thousands of miles away from your home. However, the bank notices fraudulent activity and blocks your card, leaving you cashless while booking a last-minute flight.
What’s worse is that you may become a victim of fraud back at home and they might cut your card off completely, while you are on the other side of the world. Always have liquidated cash in your backpack for emergencies.
Your money, however, starts to thin out during the back end of your trip. Your three sets of clothes start to wear out from repetitive washing, and you do not have the option of buying new ones. A cheap bunk bed does not feel cheap this time around. You’ll start to panic and try to find your way back to safety, otherwise called home.
Unexpected and unfortunate situations may be a bad experience, but it also counts as a lesson. It is essential that you know that you need a way, or fund, to get back home before and at the end of your trip.
You are allowed to feel emotional during this trip. It is okay to miss the comfort of your home and the support of your friends. A sadness is only temporary and can make the most joyful parts of your trip even better. You can learn so much about yourself while facing the hardships of backpacking. It isn’t easy; flights get cancelled, hostels lose things, weather changes. Just remember that every morning is a new day, a new opportunity.
And the final essential lesson is: don’t let your first backpacking trip be your last.