- Independence – Sometimes it’s easy to rely on someone else; to make plans, to order food, to decide what time to go somewhere. When you’re travelling, particularly solo, you’re going to have to make decisions for yourself, potentially attempt a different language, navigate confusing bus timetables, & generally stand on your own two feet. Sure you can join tours where you will have a group leader organising things for you, but I’m willing to bet you’ll still be feeling a lot more independent and street smart than sat at home watching Netflix!
- Different priorities – Rather than wants, a backpacker’s desires are usually dos. Rather than lusting after the latest designer handbag or new PS4 game, you’ll hear people talking about a cool hostel they have stayed in or remote location they visited and either be keen to visit it yourself, or feel inspired to find your own travel haven.Equally, travel can allow you to live a much simpler life. When the “I’ve got nothing to wear”, is replaced by washing your pants in the sink at your hostel and wearing the same denim cut offs for 3 weeks at a time, you can feel surprisingly liberated. I remember getting back from a 3 month trip on which I’d taken just a medium sized rucksack and wondering why I had so much stuff in storage…did I really need it all?
- Stories – We all know those people, the people who start most of their sentences with something like “This one time I was in Thailand and…” I’m one of those people, any excuse to relate what’s happening to something I saw or did when I was away. I’m happy about that though, I’m glad to have tales to tell and funny memories to share.
- New skills – How often do you learn something completely new when you’re at home? Something that you’ve never tried before or that scares you? I’m willing to bet it’s not that often!
When you’re in a foreign country you’re much more likely to face daily challenges and come across opportunities to try out a new potential hobby. I’ve tried windsurfing in Croatia, deep sea fishing in Colombia, surfing in Peru, milking a cow in India and many more fun activities I probably wouldn’t have been able to at home! Trying something new is a fantastic way to challenge yourself.
New friends –Sometimes it’s hard to meet like minded people as you get older, maybe you spend a lot of time with people from the office who nice as they are, don’t necessarily share the same interests. When you’re travelling, every hostel & bus journey presents you with the chance to meet people from all over the world who you already know share one same love as you, travel!
You never know when you’re going to meet someone who will not only have a huge impact on your journey but also go on to be a good friend after the trip! I’ve found that it’s much easier to chat to someone new when you’re away, generally on backpacker trips the rotational nature of dorm rooms etc means that a simple “Hey can I join you?” or “Where are you guys having a drink tonight?” will be well received. I’ve met some amazing people on my trips and many of these have gone on to be lifelong friends.