Are you one of those dreamers who keep imagining faraway, exotic places? If you’re longingly watching photos of castles and rainforests, hammocks hung between palm trees and mountains covered with snow, then perhaps this is exactly what you should do: go backpacking around the world. It sounds like too much of happiness, an unrealistic illusion, but, with enough of persistence, in most cases it’s actually doable. Here are 10 reasons why you should go on a round world trip.
1. All Those People and Their Stories
As a backpacker you meet an incredible variety of people, coming from different backgrounds, with various values, experiences, characters and interests, of different colors, voices and ages. You make friendships that will last forever. You also go through many weepy goodbyes, but it’s worth it, because what you have learnt from your encounters will always stay in your mind or heart. You learn how to listen without judging, how to speak to people so that they would understand and realize sometimes it’s better to remain silent. People share their stories with you. Who knows, perhaps one of them will inspire you to change all your plans and ideas?
2. The Philosophy of Being Right Now Right Here
When you travel, you concentrate on what’s around you in a given moment. You know tomorrow you’ll be somewhere else already. You see how everything changes inevitably, how nothing stays the same. This person you’re talking to on a sunny afternoon, another traveler met in a hostel, tomorrow will be on a plane flying to the other side of the globe. The view from a top of a hill, you know you might never see it again. It’s such a clichÃ©, “be here now”, we’ve all heard it hundreds of times, but when you are backpacking around the world, you realize what it actually means and why it’s so commonly repeated. It starts with the intense, obvious lessons, the people you meet and then watch them leaving, the flavors you get to try only once, but eventually you begin to understand all the life is like that, whether you’re travelling or not. You see that in order to experience and feel you need to be concentrated, because when your mind runs all across the abstract time and space, it misses the presence. It’s a lesson you bring back home with you, the most important souvenir.
Backpacking is not always so much fun. You don’t sleep enough, you get exhausted, someone steals your bag or you get ill, you miss your friends and family back home. But thus you start appreciating things so much more. You see what the value is of what you’ve got, stop taking it for granted. You start enjoying very simple pleasures, small gifts, such as a yummy dinner in the end of a hard day, a night spent in a bed after weeks of sleeping outdoors, a short call from a friend you haven’t seen in months.
4. The Minimalism
Backpacking around the world with a huge suitcase is not a good idea. Most backpackers travel as light as they can. So, being one of them, you only have a small luggage with you, what’s necessary and nothing besides it. You practice the survival skills and see it’s possible to live without many items we normally consider as basic.
5. The Knowledge
First of all, backpacking around the world makes a master of geography out of you. These little islands on the ocean nobody has heard of? Well, you have been there. Or you have met someone who was born there. And you know the name of their president and what the locals usually eat for dinner. You simply gain knowledge. History, political sciences, art, cultural anthropology, you discover all of these fields. Who knows, maybe you’ll even meet a chandler and learn how to make candles, or a whiskey ambassador who’ll let you try all those spirits you didn’t even know existed.
6. Becoming Tough
Okay, so you missed your plane. It happens. What can you do? Certainly not sit and cry (well, you can cry for a little while, but eventually you have to pull yourself together, unless you want to spend the rest of your life on an airport bench drowning in your own tears). When you’re backpacking around the world, everyday something new happens and it’s not always easy to deal with what occurs. You also start doing things you were afraid of. Going on a journey itself is a huge, brave step, crossing the line of your comfort zone. Then, as your journey goes on, you get further away from this line with each new, exciting activity. You’re see you’re capable of more than you’ve ever thought you were.
7. Not Worrying Too Much
Small dramas, little frustrations and serious issues, you just need to face them and keep on going. Decisions have to be made quickly. As a busy traveler with lots to do and discover, you cant’s spend your days constantly thinking of the bad stuff. You learn how to let the trouble go and concentrate on actions, not worries.
8. The Mind Opens
When you experience so much of the new, your mind has to change and become more flexible to bare it. Whatever epithets you used to describe people and ideas, they turn and twist and gain new meanings. You start respecting other points of view. What you thought was stupid, now seems to be fine. If you called someone an idiot, now you know why you shouldn’t have. You don’t necessarily change all your opinions, but you work to find your real beliefs. And as your mind opens, the minds of others whom you meet on your way open too.
9. The Moments of Real Happiness
Have you ever felt so happy it made you cry? If you love travelling, then this is how you feel many times when you’re on a journey. You’ve had a dream, then you worked hard, probably had to make sacrifices and take risks, but you made it, you are there, with your backpack, in this city you have imagined so many times, after seven days spent in buses, trains, trucks or who knows what kind of exotic vehicles. And it’s so much better than you have imagined. It really does exist, not only on a postcard, and you’re standing right in the middle of it.
10. Because Why Not
What are the obstacles keeping your from beginning this trip? Think of them. Are they ultimate? Or something can be done about them? Okay, you have to risk, you have to gamble and do crazy things. You have to work twice as much, live like a monk in order to save the money, you have to quit your dancing lessons, or a language course, or a job. Backpacking around the world is a big deal. It’s a serious dream and it requires a serious attitude. Ask yourself what you have to do make it true. Just remember the time is not merciful. Don’t wonder too much and don’t wait for too long.