It's true. Backpacking really is a once in a lifetime rollercoaster experience - the ups, the downs, the hard times, the euphoric times. But there's one thing for certain, with the rollercoaster ride comes new lessons. Here are 10 life lessons we all learn from backpacking:
1. How to part from material things
We’ve all done it... over packed before our very first backpacking adventure. But as we collect more and more international stamps on our passport our luggage seems to get smaller and smaller. We soon realise that the true beauty of travel comes from the sights we see and the people we meet along the way – not the clothes we wear or the expensive gadgets that we initially used to document every single part of our journeys.
2. To be tolerant of others
Backpacking forces us to open up to like minded travellers from all parts of the globe – we learn to appreciate new customs, cultures and languages. We are forced to smile to the weirdly dressed stranger sharing our dorm room and soon we come to realise that ‘normal’ is just plain boring.
3. To not let fear stand in the way
Whether it’s leaving our comfort zones, jumping on a plane to a country that speaks an unknown language or jumping out of a plane – Fear soon becomes a way of life. In fact – for the experienced backpackers, we almost thrive on it. Fear becomes a validation that we are in fact – ALIVE!
4. The ability to be alone, not lonely
Travel can sometimes become lonely – that’s a fact. But for us experienced backpackers we have learnt to accept that the down times are outweighed by the highs! We arrive in a new city, missing the travellers (or family) we met at the last destination and suck it up... we throw on our walking shoes, force a smile upon our face and welcome the new unknown. After all, we all know that the friends we meet for travelling last for a lifetime (here's why)!
5. The importance of Ear Plugs
Hostel sex, drunken dorm room mates and music blaring from the club downstairs can sometimes be a bit of an issue for the tired eye. You will find ear plugs in every well travelled backpack.
6. An appreciation for the little things
Home cooked meals, a cupboard to hang our clothes, a gym, inexpensive washing days – we give up these little things for the joy of backpacking. But believe us – we know how to make the most of these little taken for granted beauties when we return home. Disagree? Here's why Hostel Life is better than Real Life!
7. To never steal
We’ve all had something stolen – food from the communal kitchen, toothpaste and in some extreme cases - shoes! No matter how small, backpackers understand that we are all in the same boat. We’ve all had those days... we’ve lost our bank cards, we are waiting on a job offer... and that $1 left in our bank account is going to buy the best tasting packet of 2 minute noodles ever! What goes around comes around – and we know the importance of helping one another out.
8. To not be too picky
Goon is a prime example of our ability to make the most of our money – we learn that we cannot be too picky and that sometimes, as horrible as it sounds – Goon will just have to do. We learn to turn every moment into a positive, for example, how to tranform a $10 box of goon into a delicious summery Sangria. Check out these Goon Cocktail Recipes.
9. True friends are not measured by Distance or Time
We leave home. We lose some friends. We make some friends along the way. But our true friends understand us. They do not need constant updates. They don’t need to be reassured. They set us free as we do them and share a love and support that goes beyond years and borders.
10. To make our own path
We’ve all made the same mistake – altered our travel plans for a friend, or in fear of leaving our new found friends behind. As we become more and more accustomed to meeting new people and saying our good byes, we come to realise the importance of making our own paths. We realise that we will meet like minded travellers along the way. We enjoy travelling alone in the knowledge that just around the corner there is a whole new group of backpackers ready and waiting to share the next chapter of the journey.
Liked this article? You may like these 71 Reasons why Backpacking will ruin your Life!