If there is one life changing experience you need on YOUR OWN, this could be it. Life can get pretty mundane regardless of how insanely busy you are. After awhile, a lot of us function on autopilot and worse still not realizing that we have that mode on.
Precisely why we need to step away, pause, and get crazy once in a while.
The first time I did it, I regret not doing it earlier.
People generally go backpacking for different reasons, each person having their own. If you need a little encouragement to do something drastic, here are a few fun reasons to wander around. Happy Backpacking!
1. You get to reclaim your life. Single or otherwise.
Okay. If you’re single and have not done this, just pick one place, ask some friends once, ask them again and if no one is interested, just pack your bags and leave. If you’re married or you’re in that “It’s complicated” status of your life, just take a break from it all. You could backpack with your spouse (If they haven’t drive you up the wall yet :p), some crazy girlfriends you have or you could go solo.
Point is: This could be your always self-renewal-soul-reviving trip. You’ll come back ready to take on your full responsibility even better or you’ll just long to wander even more. Either way, it’s better than not taking control of the boring life you always lived.
If you are single, backpacking is most ideal. You get to do whatever you want without consulting anyone or asking for someone’s permission to go somewhere. You don’t have any extras with you. No spouse, no kids, no in-laws, no maids. These extensions does not exist just yet. Take full advantage of it.
When you are no longer in this zone, especially for women as we’re always known to put our loved ones ahead of us, you will crave this freedom. I’m always of the believe that some things in life needs to be done at a certain time and age. I call it the “phase ideal thing” . When that times pass you by, the opportunity may no longer present itself anymore. So be aware and act on it.
2.Your perspective on life will change.
No, the grass will not always be greener on the other side. Well, technically it could be depending on where you’re going :s but regardless of where you go, it will always be different mainly because of the experience of interacting with local people and culture.Most of the time, backpacking does not involve any serious planning except for the route you plan to take. And trust me once you get your backpacking mode on, you will go with the flow and everything just becomes part of the experience.
3. Life becomes present moments and not a serious plan
And that means you are really not the biggest deal on the planet. Well, the thing about a lot of us is that back at home, we feel the need to be acknowledged and taken seriously. Sometimes, this can backfire pretty badly. When backpacking, the interaction with local people and other backpackers really brings about that carefree feeling. It will almost make you feel like “Anything is possible if you learn to put others as important as you and you really don’t have be so serious and uptight all the time”.
Your life need not to be delicately detailed and it’s really alright.
In this age of crisis, we hardly have time to be right here and now. We are either a moment behind dwelling on our past or rushing to meet the future.
“Why did I get married so early?” ” Why haven’t I found someone?” “Why am I just not successful yet? Everyone seem to be doing it right”.
Backpacking will present you a lot of “Letting Go” moments. Just breathe and allow everything to take its course. All will be well
4. It really is an adventure. Fun, Crappy, Crazy, Boring, Weird. Just experience.
A lot of backpacking is about spontaneity. It’s about allowing the moment to present itself and then just going with the flow. Most times, it gets really really fun before something really stupid or scary happens. But even then, you’ll always have another backpacker to help you along with that experience. You can end up in some random places and get into talking with the strangest people on Earth. It would strangely empower you in a way that. “Hey, I have not done that before or he is really so interesting.”
5. You’ll be challenged.
By yourself first. And then the environment around you. This may not be the best perk of backpacking for everyone but it was for me. Without challenges and obstacles you will barely even reach the minimum of your potential because you are never stimulated to think in a new unfriendly environment without your usual support team. You’ll be pushed to ask, to answer, to make friends, to be analytical and mathematical ( You get used to doing a lot of Math in your head), to be critical of your judgements, to be open and to let loose. You’ll be a lot of things you never thought you’ll be.
6. You get to be your own best friend while making a lot of new ones.
If you don’t already have one. :p Backpacking taught me that I really need very little things to be happy. I mean imagine carrying your home on your back. Literally that is all you have for survival and pleasure. But even with that bare minimum, you will learn the art of prioritizing your importance with just whatever you have in hand and learn to make the best of it. Maybe you never liked yourself enough because you never spend enough time with yourself. But being around strangers made you become aware of who you really were.
A trip for yourself always lead to a lot of self discovery and point of reflection. We live in an era of accumulating materials as a measure of life progress and social media is ever available for us to feed on the lives of other people. As such, sometimes we get carried away into the zone and end up driving us further away from connecting to our true self.
7. You’ll appreciate the grandest yet simplest things in life. The basics.
The more I travel, the more grateful I became. It takes a mere second to be grateful for what we already have. And yet we don’t quite do this till we hit the lowest point of our lives. Don’t we?
When I was in Darjeeling and had to plan to the next destination, there was no train seats left to that city, we were forced to go on a wild goose chase to find any mode of transportation that would take us there. We had already checked out and were on a shoe string budget. We were exhausted, irritated and weren’t at the best of ourselves at all. The load on our back was unbearable. Finally after hours of walking and going around aimlessly, we boarded that bus. It was the longest, loudest 18 hours of my life. The blaring honk was consistent. All night long. I barely slept through that journey. This lack of comfort was clearly uncomfortable until I looked out of the window the next morning to see little kids picking scraps from the dumpster for food. As I took in my surrounding, there were many kids. Picking from everywhere. It was heart-wrenching.
Somewhere in between my travels, I manage to come up with a 30 second prayer verse which I still recite till this very day.
I thank you for the food on my plate, the roof above my head, the clothes on my back and the love in my life. May goodness triumph over evil. May mass goodness save this troubled planet.
This prayer justifies living in the present moment and is not copyrighted. Feel free to say it. 😉
8. This will be something memorable down the road in 20 years time
Rather than regretting on some of the mistakes of our past, let’s do something fun, look back and smile in memories of “ I’m glad I did that”. Life can get pretty fleeting. One moment you’re there. Another moment it just pass you by. At the end of it all, it is really about building memories with yourself and your loved ones. It will someday narrow down to that. The sooner you realize this when time and youth is by your side, the better it is for the happiness of your soul.
9. You were really never meant to be at only one place in your life
I knew this when I was three. And I used to roam around a lot. I had very minimal attraction towards Walt Disney cartoons and I never owned a barbie. I guess this led me to my deep desire to always wander. This world is a vast open space. So go as far your heart, feet or eyes take you and capture that as your life’s memory.
10. You’ll be liberated.
This is the best of them all. The freedom of doing anything at anytime or nothing at sometime is so elevating. The fluidity that comes with any backpacking adventure is what keeps a backpacker going back for more. Almost every backpacker would nod in agreement to this. You are just not that same person you were once you have left your home. Even if it was a horrible experience, it would have thought you something.
“Life is intermittent. So wander. Pack less. Take risks. Be silly. Try new things. Experience the local life. Leave your worries. Surprise yourself and stop saying say ” One Day’ .Just get out from your desk. Just GO and get a life doing it.”
Share this around and leave a comment below on what you is your personal view on backpacking. I’d love to hear it.