Top 10 Benefits To Backpacking
There are a lot reasons to go backpacking, which is why so many people do it every year. Walk through any major city or picturesque town, especially in the summer time, and you’ll see them walking along with their huge rucksacks and hiking boots. More often than not, there’ll be the grubby yet durable t-shirt and shorts to go along with them, as well as the travel guide tucked under their arm. If you’re thinking of making the trip, but need that final push, here are ten reasons why it’s a good idea to give backpacking a go.
You’ll Learn Something
This is a cast iron guarantee, and the first reason to get out and see the world. You will learn something that you never knew before, and whether it’s something about yourself or the outside world, backpacking is an opportunity to soak up stuff that you would never find by just sitting at home. You might discover that you have a gift for reading maps and signposts in French or that your new favourite food is a bowl of Vietnamese noodles, whatever it is, it’s worth the trip.
Seeing something in a photo or on T.V. can never compare to the real thing. There are certain things that need to be seen in person for you to get the full experience. Stand in the Sistine Chapel and just gaze up at that ceiling, watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, see the lights of Las Vegas appear over the desert horizon in Nevada. These are experiences that simple description and reproduction cannot do justice to; you’ve got to see them for yourself and be amazed.
The Actual Travel
This is what you do in between seeing the sights and chilling out at your hostel. It’s the sixteen hour bus trip, the overnight train, the unexpected lift from someone going to where you are. These are the times to read the book you’ve always meant to, to write something, to listen to albums you might have lying around somewhere on you iPod, or to just sit back and take in the scenery in a new country. Develop your chess game with anyone who’ll play. Going backpacking is the time you learn it’s not about where you’re going, but learning to enjoy getting there.
Get to Really Know the Person Travelling With You
You don’t just learn about yourself and the places you’re travelling through when you’re backpacking. If you’re part of a couple you’re going to learn a lot about your other half. Getting caught in a sudden rainstorm in the middle of nowhere or having hours to kill when you’re just off a night bus and waiting for your room to be ready will try any relationship. In the end, whatever happens you’ll either come out of the experience closer than ever before or spared from making a very big mistake.
If the stresses of your trip are too much and there’s an unexpected parting of ways, or even if you just fancy travelling alone from the start, don’t worry. Backpacking presents a multitude of opportunities to meet new people, from shared train compartments to the common area of your hostel, there’s always someone around to share your war stories with.
Speaking of conversation, here’s the first topic that a lot of people start off with. If you’re travelling chances are the weather where you go will be better than what you get at home. Soak up the sun when you have the chance and get some Vitamin D, just don’t forget the sunscreen. If you’re unlucky enough to arrive somewhere in monsoon season, marvel at the pounding rain, and you might get lucky and have to take a couple of unexpected boat trips.
If you’re on a budget, you’re probably not going to be dining out in restaurants most nights, but that doesn’t mean that the food you eat is not going to be great. Take the time to find some quality street food, whether it’s a Turkish kebab, a German sausage, or healthy Thai vegetables and noodles, there’s a world of cheap culinary experiences out there just waiting for you to order.
And here’s the perfect reason to enjoy all that good food. You’re going to be moving when you’re backpacking, a lot. Don’t forget that that bag on your back weighs a bit as well. Even if you’re not looking for a particularly activity filled adventure; you’re going to be walking around a lot more than usual when you’re sightseeing and going from place to place. All that exercise does a world of good for your health and your mood when you come back exhausted at the end of a long day. And feeling better about yourself has another benefit.
The extra exercise and leaner look is going to make you feel better about yourself, as is the independence and self-sufficiency that you develop as you navigate your way around strange cities and countries, transport systems, and different languages. This is enough to make even the shyest and most retiring of people come out of themselves at least a bit.
You’ll Live Longer
Look back at the reasons above. What do you see? Good food, fresh air, blazing sunshine, more friends, all making a healthy, optimistic, and popular person. Three things that any doctor will tell you are exactly what you need to live a long and happy life.
Lastly, if you needed one more benefit from backpacking it’s this. It’s fun. Even the parts you don’t enjoy at the time, waiting around for that bus, a rude receptionist, the rip-off bar, that’s all going to be part of the laughs when you get back home and tell everyone about it. Enjoy!
Author Bio: Sarah Kelly, Experienced Backpacker and feature travel writer for Taxback.com. Sharing experiences and tips with the avid traveller, including working holiday tax refunds to the benefits of travelling on a budget.