Backpacking can be both an exciting experience and a nerve-racking proposition. After all, planning out a backpacking trip is no easy feat. It can require a lot of emotional resilience and a strong aptitude for organization. It may even test who we are as a person.
At the end of the day, people who choose to make backpacking a significant part of who they appreciate it as a worthwhile life-changing.
Here are a few things to expect from your first backpacking experience. Furthermore, you’ll understand why many people come away from a backpacking journey with a renewed commitment to living life to the fullest.
1. You Will Meet Interesting People
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of traveling across the globe is finding common grounds with people from different cultures. This is the philosophy behind the work of experienced travel writers like Rick Steves and Anthony Bourdain.
But it’s also true to the experience of backpacking in general. By its nature, backpacking involves meeting a lot of other people. You’ll meet travelers from all over the world on trains, in hostels, and while out hiking challenging trails. Any single one of these experiences will be an education in itself.
2. Your Beliefs Will Be Challenged — and Changed
We hold certain beliefs about the world based on our own experiences. When we travel and explore, these beliefs may change.
For example, we have preconceived notions about how other people can and should live their lives. If one thing is certain, however, it is that these concepts of the world are sure to change during your backpacking journey.
This is because backpacking offers a firsthand view of the world that few people will ever get to experience. It is one thing to see a country portrayed on TV. As any committed backpacker will tell you, it is a very different thing to walk through a country and to actually meet its people.
3. You’ll Have Fun
Sure, you will be tired, but it’s a good kind of tired. You’re going to have a great deal of fun while traveling. After all, our bodies did not evolve to sit in offices under fluorescent lights all day. Walking and interacting with others are central facets of who we are as people and as human beings.
Indeed, life as a backpacker is much closer to the life that we should all be living for. For example, your body will be pleased that it is being put to use each day. After a while, you’ll probably find yourself waking up each morning with a smile on your face.
4. You’ll Feel Stressed
Of course, backpacking isn’t always easy. It’s never fun to get caught in a rainstorm or to miss an important train connection. Dragging yourself into a hostel at the end of a long day to find that your reservation has been canceled can also be a dispiriting moment in any traveler’s life.
In other words, backpacking isn’t going to be fun 100% of the time. But you shouldn’t expect it to be. Going into this journey with realistic expectations can make the experience that much better for you. You will definitely enjoy the good times more when you appreciate that stressors can and will occur.
5. You’ll Grow as a Person
When people come back from a backpacking trip, it’s often very noticeable how much they’ve grown as individuals. The kind of resilience and extensive planning that backpacking requires can really mature a person on an emotional level. Problems that seemed impossible before a journey may even seem almost trivial once you’ve taken the trip.
That broad perspective on problems often makes people with backpacking experience great leaders later in life. Simply put, individuals who have spent time backpacking are adept at problem-solving; by necessity, they are great communicators. They understand the importance of forethought. These are great qualities that go well beyond exploring the world.
Indeed, if you feel like backpacking is right for you, you may just find that you’ll be entering into a new and exciting chapter in life. You’ll also be sure to meet many new friends and to grow as a person. Does life get any better than that?