3 Essential Backpacking Experiences

So, you’ve booked your around the world flight, you’ve been working your two jobs and saving like a crazed person for over a year, you’ve sorted out your travel insurance, and the time has come to make that much-feted young person’s pilgrimage around the globe as a backpacker. The journey is one many before you have done, but it will remain a highly personal experience nonetheless. Backpacking–whether you’re gone for a month or a year–has the potential to shape or change your entire world view, especially if you’ve not done a lot of travel beforehand. If you’re about to head off on an adventure of your own, you no doubt want to take advantage of every experience that comes your way. Here, we’ve listed a few of the most essential backpacking experiences…

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Getting Lost

Not that we’d recommend it all too often, but if you haven’t been lost at least once on your backpacking adventure, you haven’t been adventurous enough! They say that sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself, and when it comes to travel, this is DEFINITELY the case. The stress, unfamiliarity and near chaos of being lost in a foreign city forces a new part of you to take the lead–the part of you that has to think on your feet, be decisive, be brave. Getting lost, while not all that fun in the moment, can lead to some of the most exciting and thrilling adventures. It can also lead to getting kidnapped and your ears chopped off for ransom of course, but only rarely…

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Wondering Which Country You’re In

Believe us, it’ll happen, especially if you’re travelling through Europe or South America. It might happen when you first open your eyes one morning and you spend half a second trying to remember. It might happen while you’re on an overnight bus and have crossed more than one border. This (hopefully) fleeting moment will disorientate you, puzzle you, and then, usually, make you laugh out loud. The feeling of moving through cultures and countries at such a dizzying pace shows you not only how small the world truly is, but also how big an adventure you’re having.

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Making International Friends

From Dublin guesthouses to Sydney hostels, as long as people have been backpacking they’ve been making friends. In fact, one of the best parts of backpacking is the diversity of the people you come across. There’s the requisite dreadlocked guitar-playing guy in the corner of the hostel who left his office job to ‘be free, man’. There’s the drunken Irish fellas, the beautiful Swedish girls, the blunt French travellers…making friends, promising to stay in touch, re-encountering them at a different stage on the backpacker trail—this is what travel is all about. Enjoy it. Embrace it.

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These experiences–and many more—will no doubt form the basis of the things you remember when you return from your adventure. One thing is for certain, however–backpacking will leave you forever changed, usually for the better.

About the author
Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various travel topics, from destinations to visit to apartments and accommodation across Australia.





1 Comment to “3 Essential Backpacking Experiences”

  1. The best bit of any trip for me is making new friends – it’s amazing what you have in common with people from all different backgrounds and with a range of experiences. I’ve collected friends everywhere I’ve been and that’s really enriched my life.

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