It’s easy to go on the internet and read travel articles, backpacking blogs and look at amazing pictures from around the world of people having fun and experiencing other cultures. We all do it. I do it. I assume you do as well since you’re reading this article – but if you are thinking about going on a serious trip (I’m talking longer than one month) but keep putting it off, then it’s time to GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND TRAVEL RIGHT NOW!
Let me give you five excellent reasons why:
If there is one thing that I think everyone should do at least once a year (or once a month works too!) – it’s be spontaneous!
Unless you plan a trip down to the minute detail (worst idea ever), there is always room to be spontaneous and that’s what travel is all about. And the best bit? Consistent spontaneity will leave you feeling great, adventurous and ready for anything!
I remember backpacking on a 10 month trip around Europe and hitchhiked from France to Spain, camping along the way with a friend. It was spontaneous, it was fun and I still remember it fondly (along with the grapes we ate as we walked down the Costa Brava coast).
I think people get sucked into this little world where they feel that a company or a place won’t be able to go on without them, or they feel that if they quit they are hitting some sort of “reset” button on their career.
This simply isn’t true. I’m not some sort of extreme anti capitalist or anything, but showing die hard loyalty to a company that will have no problem axing you when times are tough does no-one any favours (except maybe the company). If you WANT to travel and see the world then the only one stopping you, is you.
“But I don’t have enough money” I can hear some people saying. That’s codswallop (I think this is the first time I’ve ever used codswallop in an article). Backpacking does NOT have to be expensive. In fact, you can even use a tax estimator to adjust your withholdings at work (tax refunds are a great financial boost as far as traveling is concerned). You can camp. You can stay in hostels. You can CouchSurf. You can WWOOF (read this). Places in Asia like Laos and Cambodia are beautiful AND ridiculously cheap to see and travel.
This sort of talk is just your subconscious throwing up obstacles to stop you leaving your comfort zone. It can be uncomfortable for most people going somewhere new for the first time, but that wears off quickly and you’re left with rewarding experiences, new friends and memorable adventures.
Ultimately when it comes to work, I think more and more employers and young, dynamic companies are looking at life experience (which travelling is a large part of) more than simply what degrees you have on paper.
Wheel out the cheese? You bet!
Cheesy comments are always appropriate when they’re TRUE.
Travelling the world, for most people, will give a feeling of satisfaction that’s difficult to get elsewhere. Lots of people travel – it doesn’t mean you’re particularly special in the realm of humanity for doing it, but your own experiences will FEEL special to you. And how we perceive ourselves is everything, from here stems confidence, patience and understanding.
Travel has also got to be the best way to combat racism, bigotry and a misunderstanding of other cultures. For some people it does the opposite, but for most, travel is the cure for a narrow mind.
If there is one thing that backpacking does well, it’s that it bequeaths the gift of confidence upon young impressionable souls. It can just be a subtle change, but dealing with the day-to-day things that every budget traveller must overcome cannot help but leave a positive mark.
Some people are born with an inner image that exudes self confidence, but for most of us confidence is something earned through determination and a sense of achievement, all of which travelling can provide.
You will find it easier to introduce yourself and learn more about other people, all of which are noteworthy traits.
Backpacking will satisfy even the most curious of minds, as the world around us provides a never ending well of knowledge that can be delved into.
You will become better at dealing with people who are impatient, aggressive, annoying or narcissistic (you will find these people all around the world – so it’s a useful skill to have).
You will become better at managing your money, budgeting and organising.
You will become better at dealing with unprepared events and circumstances.
You will stop stressing about the ‘little things’. How much worry are they really worth anyway?
You will realise there is more to life than money (and will appreciate it more when you have some).
You will gain a fondness for the different beers of the world (well I did, anyway).
So if you want to go on a backpacking trip, but keep putting it off, what are your reasons?
What obstacles are you throwing up to stop you doing what you want? Is it work? Is it money? Is it the fear of leaving your comfort zone?
Spontaneity, confidence, life experience and useful skills are all positive side effects of someone who backpacks often. Start feeling that positivity for yourself!