Why Go Backpacking?
Why go Backpacking? To those of you that have been backpacking before, you probably already have “The Itch” and need no convincing. But, to those that have never had a real backpacking experience, then you need to keep reading.
By “The Itch,” I am referring to the unrelentingly desire to move from point A to point B without spending too long in any one place. This “Itch” is so overwhelming that you need to scratch it; you need to be on the move, experiencing one adventure after another. The beauty of the travel itch, is that your life: all your belongings and necessities are swinging off your back. The world is at your fingertips and is your oyster ready to slurp down. You can go anywhere, do anything and the best part of it all is that it is just you and your backpack. You can list every item in your bag on all ten fingers and you can pack up and head out on the next adventure in a moment’s notice. This is the beauty of backpacking and for those who have “The Itch” know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now there are those skeptics who proclaim, “That’s not my thing! I don’t want to carry all my stuff around with me”, “I don’t want to be itchy!” Well fair enough, travelling may not be for everyone, but anyone with even the mildest sense of adventure or interest in the world outside his or her bubble should at least give it a try. Just like any new experience it is a little scary. Saying goodbye to loved ones at the airport gate with only a larger version of the bag you used to take to school every day is frightening to some people. It is a very different experience than hopping on an airplane with a couple of suitcases and throwing in some random items. When you backpack, every item you pack has its purpose and that extra set of shoes will definitely need to be cut.
Once you are on the road, you quickly learn to adapt. Yes, unpacking and packing is mildly tedious, but it becomes routine just like anything else. However, all the packing and unpacking makes you incredibly mobile – you feel a sense of freedom that you never knew existed. The ease at which you can move around is so liberating. And the best part – when you get bored of a place – NEXT! And off you go. In a matter of minutes, you pack up your whole life into a bag and make your next move.
People become accustomed to the concept of “home” in day-to-day life. But home is where you feel comfortable, a place to lay your head and the source of all your belongings. Packing up and leaving home is a daunting thought, but traveling is an alternate fantasy world where “home” can be anything. Home can be a beachside hammock, a hostel on a hill or an overnight bus ride to your next home.
Having a real backpacking experience means traveling for an extended period of time. Packing a bag and staying in a hostel for a week is awesome, but it’s not authentic ‘backpacking’. Backpacking requires ‘time’ because travelers need time to adjust to the on the road lifestyle. But once you become adjusted, things that used to faze you, no longer do. Backpacking is using your bag as a pillow as you lay on the ground waiting for a bus; it is carefully selecting when and where you buy souvenirs, because you will be carrying them with you each place you go; and it is not giving a @%*k, because life is good and that’s all that matters. The open road teaches travelers patience and to laugh at moments that previously might have made then want to cry.
You meet so many people and see so many places without a worry in the world – except maybe where you are going to get your next beer. When you reflect back on stressing over which pair of shoes to bring you realize how trivial these things are, and how important it is to create life lasting memories. Backpacking offers travelers such a rich and rewarding experience that once you try it, it’s hard to ever fully give it up.
Along the way you learn something about yourself too. For everyone that ‘je ne sais quoi’ is different. That doesn’t mean you will come back a changed person, but you may have a different outlook on life. In any case, you return and reality hits you very quickly. “Real life” has carried on without you. You share a select few stories and experiences with family and friends and that’s it. No one wants to hear about all the awesome stuff you did while they carried on with their mundane lives. But your experiences don’t become lost in an old Facebook album, you keep them with you. But unlike the shoes you brought, you will remember them and use your experiences to further your life back home- as you sit there itching.
Why Go Backpacking?
So Why go backpacking – cause its a life changing experience that you will never forget.