You can hear and read about backpacking all the time while mentioning word travelling. But firstly, what does “backpacking” actually mean?? All travellers with backpacks are backpackers? What about the one with suitcases? Should such person be called “suitcaser”? In my opinion, backpacking is not only about wearing one heavy backpack on your shoulders but is about the way of travelling. It is about state of mind of traveller. For me, backpacking is mainly about getting out of the comfort zone in order to try something new, something unexplored, something challenging. Backpacker should be completely easy-going and relaxed person. A person who is ready for adventures and non-planned situations anytime. A person who takes courage and does unpredictable things. A person who instead of booking expensive vacation through travel agency decides to look up some info in internet and get to place by him/herself. A person that does not mind to sleep on some dirty mattress in the kitchen floor or in the hammock in the jungle being surrounded by plenty of cockroaches as an exchange for adventures and crazy travel experiences.
After years of experiences in travelling, I can definitely say that I feel like real backpacker. I love this way of travelling and I got addicted to it. And why?
Here are 10 reasons why you should take courage and try backpacking at least once in lifetime instead of taking expensive, planned all inclusive vacation:
- Experiencing complete freedom of choice
While backpacking you are your own “boss” – you decide where to go and when, what to do and how. Nobody is telling how long you can do sightseeing or how much time you can spend on the beach. You have no tour guide or trip leader waiting for you impatiently and complaining that you are coming late again. You as a backpacker have freedom of choice, freedom of decision, freedom to do whatever you want to do (well, if it´s not against law).Surely, it may have its drawbacks but let´s be honest – who wouldn´t like to be completely free and uncontrolled?
- Learning about cultures from completely different perspective
Once you start backpacking, you get the chance to learn about cultures from completely different perspective compared to the one of all inclusive vacation when you would spend 90% of time in hotel resorts. While backpacking you meet local people who may show you their cultural habits and traditions if you are truly interested. One of the best of way doing so is through couchsurfing – I will talk about it later on…
- Exploring places you did not know they existed
When I did backpacking through South America, I got to see so many places about which I had no idea they even existed. Local people advised me, recommended me or even took me to places which were beautiful, charming and breathtaking but most importantly untouched by tourism. And this was the best thing about exploring unexplored – only you, some local people and incredible place to be in.
- Meeting people who will open your mind, eyes and even heart
You can meet different type of people every day. On your way to work, on your way to gym, while travelling in tram… But during backpacking you mostly meet people who are on the same level of thinking as you are. You may meet people who will become your soul mates. People who will help you open your eyes and mind and show you something you hadn´t seen before. People who help you feel something you hadn´t felt before. You just cannot be afraid of new things and try to be as open as possible …
- Keeping your budget very low
I think I don´t have to mention the difference between all inclusive vacation and backpacking travelling in matter of finances. Sleeping in cheaper hostels, in camping places or in houses of local people can definitely help you save some extra penny. Backpacking can teach you how to keep your budget low and how to save money. More about low budget and saving money will be found in my next article.
- Experiencing adventures you will never forget
When you backpack, you travel spontaneously, mostly without any specific plan. And this is the best source for experiencing adventures you haven´t even dreamed of. Of getting some true adrenaline and crazy travel stories which you can share with your friends or tell your grandchildren once in the future.
- Building your self-confidence
Self-confidence is something what each person should have in order to lead fortunate life. You have to believe in you, in your abilities. You have to believe that YOU have the power to change the things how you want them to be. That you have the power to control things in your life. And with my experience, the best way how to improve your self-confidence is by travelling. You learn every single day something new. You prove every single day that you can do something what you thought you wouldn´t be able to. You get confident day by day by making your own decisions where to go, what to do and how to do it.
- Learning who to trust
On your backpacking way you meet various people. It can be incredibly friendly people but with fake smiles or some grumpy human beings but with unconditionally big hearts. During backpacking you will learn who you can trust and who you can´t. You will improve your inner sense and you will learn how to recognize between “good” and “bad” people. It is all about experience, time and patience.
- Improving your communication, organization and negotiation skills
Once you are on your own, without any tour guide or interpreter, you learn very quickly how to organize your trip, how to negotiate the prices of street food or how to communicate in foreign language in order to get what you need. And this is one of the best highlights of backpacking for me. Improvement of such important skills like communication, organization and negotiation may not only help you in self-education but also in your future career path.
- And most important, GETTING TO KNOW YOUR REAL “YOU”
This point perfectly summarizes all highlights of backpacking. Backpacking is life journey, journey of self-education, journey of self-study. You get out of your comfort zone in order to achieve something bigger. You overcome your boundaries on daily basis without realizing it. You learn how to do things correctly by making mistakes first. You learn about others, but about you too. You get to know you better day by day, step by step. And you become self-expert at the end!
In order to sum up TOP 10 reasons why to try backpacking at least once in life time, I will use only one sentence: “Backpacking is the best teacher you may ever have – it teaches you about different cultures, different people, how to build your self-confidence, how to improve your skills, how to keep your budget low, how to learn who to trust but most importantly it teaches you who you really are.” 🙂
So guys, don´t hesitate and start backpacking, travelling, learning … Life is too short not to be fully happy! 😉