There are many reasons why backpacking is a great choice for a vacation, but here are the three reasons everybody should try backpacking at least once.
Picture this – you’re walking along the coast. A warm breeze ruffles your hair and brings with it the smell of saltwater.
You stretch your legs out in front of you, eating up the miles as you trek towards your next adventure with nothing but a backpack and a willingness to immerse yourself in the local culture and scenery. You are free—free from worrying about the next deadline at work, free from plugging in and checking your e-mail every five minutes and free from the constant hurry that fills your “normal” days.
Backpacking across a country isn’t for the faint of heart. You need to have a love of adventure and the physical and mental ability to face long walks and some uncertainty about where you’ll next spend the night. That being said, with some planning and research, you can embark on your first backpacking trip confident that not only will you make it through the experience healthy and happy but also that you’ll have the time of your life.
There are so many reasons why backpacking is an excellent choice for a vacation or sabbatical, from financial considerations to building your physical endurance and health, but here are the three reasons everybody should try backpacking at least once.
1. You learn about yourself.
We all think we know ourselves pretty well, but you might be surprised at what you discover when you’re surrounded by nothing but nature or find yourself in the middle of a strange and wonderful city. Our busy lives don’t always leave much time for spiritual contemplation, philosophical thought, or simply daydreaming about the future. When you’re in a new country and immersed in vibrant sights, foods, and culture, it gives you the opportunity to recognize how you feel about the world in all of its wonders and decide what your place is in it.
2. You learn what you’re capable of.
If you’ve lived your life surrounded by modern technology and convenience, the thought of spending a few weeks “roughing it” might not even compute. If you’ve always had access to indoor plumbing, electricity and the digital universe, it’s hard to imagine staying at a hostel, hiking through the mountains, and relying on your own skills and resourcefulness—but you’ll surprise yourself. With just a backpack and determination, not only can you survive in a new place, you can thrive.
3. You’ll learn what other people are capable of too.
For some of us, it’s not the idea of leaving modern luxuries behind for a few weeks that frightens us. It’s the idea of not knowing anybody. While you can definitely take a backpacking trip as part of a group or with a friend, along the way you’re going to meet new people. Interesting and amazing people that will challenge your preconceptions of what people from other cultures or countries are like…and that is a wonderful thing.
You’ll realize that many people are friendly and generous to foreigners, that they are warm and kind to each other as well and that they have fantastic stories to share with you. You’ll realize that you also have stories to share with these people and you’ll form friendships you wouldn’t have thought possible before.
Sure, backpacking isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’ve never been, working up the nerve to take that first trip might not be easy, but remember this: you’re much braver, stronger, friendlier, and resourceful than you realize. You just need to hit the road to realize it. What are you waiting for?