What’s it really like to backpack
“Living the dream” many would say.
And yes; I really am living my dream and I’m incredibly grateful. But would this lifestyle be fit for everyone?
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, Travelers don’t know where they are going.” – Paul Theroux
The only certainty is uncertainty.
- Sometimes you can’t even count on your room to be reserved and ready for you upon arrival because the hotel has overbooked the room causing you to have to find other lodging, and quick… Sometimes the bus overbook too or they leave early or it breaks down. And sometimes the food you ordered went bad a few hours before you ordered it, without you knowing, causing you to take a few days off to recuperate.The only certainty; is uncertainty.
- I haven’t stayed in a place long enough to unpack my bag since I left America. My clothes get wrinkled and forgot about in that backpack. My shoes, worn but still fabulous… I have a small collection of toiletries I carry and sometimes leave behind. But I take good care of myself and find laundry services along the way.
- Many of the showers and toilets in Thailand are an all-in-one kind of deal, with a drain in bathroom floor somewhere near the wall. Which means; the bathroom is always wet.
- Want to see the world on a measly budget? Well that means eating in… with no kitchen. Street food is cheap and good but 3 times a day is out of my budget. I tend to eat out once a day; a delicious Thai soup but not too spicy. For the other meals, I eat fruit from the market and carbs from the store. I have a whole new appreciation for 7-11s these days.
- Staying in hostels; sharing a room with 10 strangers. My days of being a light sleeper are behind me. Ear plugs get more comfortable as they age and privacy is a luxury. It’s a great way to meet people, all kinds of people of all creeds, shapes, and sizes.
- Everyday there are challenges, and many are unplanned. Just today I left my phone charging at the hotel and didn’t realize until we were at the bus station on our way out of town. We acted fast and jumped off the bus to find our way back in town, and back to the hotel to get my phone. It added an hour to our trip and extra expenses along the way, but it had to be done.
It’s a matter of surrendering and saying “OK. What’s the next best move?”
A lot of this style of traveling is about letting go and surrendering to the present moment.
Letting go of expectations; letting go of fears and self doubt. Saying yes to the unknown and embracing the challenges before us with open arms and hearts.
And oh me, oh my; the amount you will learn about yourself!
There may be no better way to show to yourself just how capable you are then to navigate through a foreign country on your own successfully.
You may quickly notice your strengths and weaknesses. But you may also quickly notice your weaknesses becoming stronger and less of an issue.
But if you’re lucky, and willing to keep growing, a new challenge is right around the corner.
So yes, I am living my dream but it is challenging, and grimey, and uncertain; but I wouldn’t have it any other way.