The pace of today’s lives and corporate slavery is driving more people to seek nirvana in the nomadic lifestyle. The mantra is to earn big for a few years, save up and hit the road for God knows how long. More and more people are adopting the lives of backpackers and yes they live out of just a backpack.
Meeting new people, exploring the unexplored, investing their lives, not in the stock market but the book begging to be written off of their travel experiences. It is the high road for those who refuse to be tied down. But this freedom to fly has a downside too. Yes, the blogs of those nomadic few want you to board the next flight and try a piece of their life but it’s not as easy it looks and definitely isn’t a movie montage of skydiving, snorkelling and rave parties with attractive strangers. Here is a list of a few backpacker challenges to bear in mind before taking that sabbatical you have been yearning for.
Living On a Budget
Growing up we have been exposed to a certain kind of luxury where money has been flowing in a consistently month after month. It is not so when living the backpacker life. Whatever you have saved over the past years is probably all you got. So if you are seriously considering the backpacking life then give that spa visit a miss and cook your own food rather than the order in. Every penny counts. Even when travelling, money saved by hitchhiking can buy your next meal.
Living In Dorms
Don’t presume that backpacking will be anywhere as comfortable as your last vacation splurge. Living in dorms is a part of living on a budget. If you are perpetually on the road and earn from a travel blog then sacrifices are inevitable and so is sharing rooms with a couple of other fellow backpackers.
To sustain the no madness you will have to put away your ego and take up odd jobs while on the road. It could be waiting tables for a few months and surely your PhD wasn’t for that job, but backpackers surely know their priorities.
Missing Family and Friends
You may turn up back home for a festival but that’s probably it. Bid goodbye to family and friends for extended periods of time and tolerate pangs of homesickness. There is only so much skype can do in soothing the longing for your friends.
An accident or illness is a challenge in itself and especially if you are in the unfamiliar territory then that just compounds the problem at hand. Be sure to spend on travel insurance when travelling to account for unforeseen mishaps.
Being On the Guard
You cannot take your safety for granted. Notwithstanding how much a stranger has just charmed you in that first meeting, never trust anyone blindly on your travels or take your safety for granted.
Too Many Introductions
When we meet anyone new, we usually introduce ourselves and have that polite ice breaking conversation. If you are on the road be ready to have this same introductory conversations over and over again with every new person you meet. It can get the boring or outright exhaust to introduce you ever so frequently and you will surely miss the familiarity that comes with friends of years.
Missing out on what could have been
You might have met someone new and really hit it off with them. It could have been a potential BFF or a potential partner even. Relationships formed on the road often halt sooner than you would have wished and what-could-have-been gets limited to being facebook friends more often than not.
There is a certain high one gets from the backpacking life if one has the appetite for it. An adventurous spirit is only a tiny part of being a backpacker. Resilience and sacrifices are a great part of sustaining the nomadic ways. But if you don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight and you love cheap thrills, then the sky’s the limit!