There are many great things about backpacking, but there are also some downsides to the adventure, that people seem to miss out when they’re telling you their travel stories…
1. The Noise:
Invest in some ear plugs before you go. Sharing bunk beds with your new friends from across the world is great, until you get a snorer in the group. Or there’s your friend with the new guy she met in the bar, in a bunk bed below you, that can barely sleep 1 person (I’ll not go into more detail, you get the picture.) Yes you may think but most nights you’ll be partying and sleep doesn’t seem that important, but a few weeks/months in, you’ll need to catch up on your sleep or you’ll make yourself seriously ill. Listen to your body if it needs sleep!
2. You need to be both physically and mentally fit:
Lugging a backpack around for weeks/months on end isn’t easy. You need to have some sort of upper body strength before you go, so get hitting the gym or the weights (upside to it is that your beach body will look great!…every cloud!) You also need to mentally be ready. There will be days when things go wrong and there will be days when it absolutely pees it down and your sat there, wet through, wondering what the hell you’re doing with your life. You need a strong mind, or your going to talk yourself into going home early pretty quick!
3. People don’t like backpackers:
Nope, not even your friends back home. People will hate the stories you have to tell, because they’ll be stuck in their dead end jobs and secretly hate you for doing what they wish they could. Your parents will secretly hate you for not using your degree and getting a “proper” job. And the locals will more than likely hate you too. There’s a saying, “there’s always one tw*t that ruins it for the rest.” It couldn’t be more true with backpacking. There’s always some drunk backpacker that’s been in before you and threw up everywhere, or shouted abuse, or ran from the taxi without paying. And it makes the rest of us look bad. Taxi drivers will try to rip you off, so will bartenders. So have your wits about you all the time, trust no one.
4. Your standards of “clean” changes:
Whether it’s clean clothes or body, the standards you have back home will most certainly drop on your travels. That top you’ve already worn 3 days in a row? Give it a quick spray of perfume and your good to go. Something you wouldn’t be seen dead doing back home! Underwear suddenly becomes bikinis and your daily shower is a dip in the sea or in the pool. Don’t be put off, you’ll actually miss getting away with it once you’re back home!
5. The goodbyes hurt:
You’re going to bond with people, probably more so than your best mate back home, and it will hurt when you have to separate. It’s an experience you’ll never quite get over, and the real world sucks. If you’re already travelling, stay, don’t come home.
All these being said, the good bits definitely outweigh the bad. If you’re in two minds whether to go travelling, don’t be, just do it. There’s no better life experience and is something you’ll never regret!