Written by Farah Hanani Sukri
You need to experience backpacking at least once in your lifetime to get out of your comfort zone. As the saying goes, “Life can be like a rollercoaster, sometimes you need to go through hard times alone.” By backpacking, you can finally discover your true strengths and weaknesses. Here are six (6) important lessons that one can get from being a backpacker:
- Become more organized
The first thing that will change you is, you will become more organized, more than before as you yourself will have to arrange all your clothes, toiletries, and other items properly into a bag pack. Usually, when you are backpacking, you will want to minimize your carry-ons and not bring more than two carriers.
In addition to that, you also become independent, especially when you decide to travel to an unfamiliar territory. From this experience, you will learn basic survival skills because firstly, you will need to think about transportation. This is very important because you need to think on how you want to go from one place to another. Secondly, you need to do research on what are the must-do’s and the attractive places you should visit. So, you should have an itinerary and other materials that will help you achieve this. It is a MUST for you to do some research about the place that you will go to. Automatically, these will help you become more organized, as you know what you want and how to plan for it.
- Become more open minded
When you travel, you will experience new culture and meet new people. Somehow, it is an opportunity for you to learn their culture and beliefs. It is not for you to judge their culture, like it being weird, just because you are not familiar with their culture. You need to respect their differences, as you are an outsider.
The value gained from backpacking is, it gives you a new perspective where you can experience it ‘live’ rather than just reading and hearing it from someone. The act of being somewhere you are not familiar with allows you to fully immerse yourself and appreciate new horizons, people and culture. Their clothes used for different events are especially interesting to learn. You just need to have the courage to start a conversation, and this will eventually help you make new friends from other cultures, giving you a better understanding of their practices, turning all the curiosities into discoveries.
- Become more independent
Some people think backpacking is difficult to do because you need to prepare lots of thing before you start backpacking. But somehow, I believe that you can overcome this if you one hundred percent prepared, by doing the necessary research on the country, as it will ease your journey.
Moreover, single travelling can also be considered as an ability to be alone but not lonely, which means that you will experience lots of things during your backpacking journey, but at the same time, you also will learn to accept the hard times because you know that only YOU can help yourself in difficult times. Automatically, it helps you to think creatively to solve a problem. I believe that people who often travel think more creatively and are better at adjusting to new environments because only you will rescue yourself.
- Overcome fear/conflict and be more confident
Backpacking is an activity that takes you out from you comfort zone by experiencing the unfamiliar. Before this, if you are fearful of something, you tend to avoid them. But when you are a backpacker, you need to overcome your fears if you want your travels to go as planned. For example, you have anxiety when communicating with strangers because you are an introvert. You need to overcome this as a backpacker, to make yourself confident of your new surroundings. If you are lost at ‘nowhere’, by hook or by crook, you will need to start asking people where you are. Do not feel afraid if they do not understand you, because technology can assist you. You can show them pictures of building, park, etc. to find your way back. This one experience for instance, can teach you to become more confident in facing people, and help you overcome personal conflicts.
- Appreciate time
You have already prepared the itinerary for your backpacking trip and you will follow the flow just to make sure you will not miss doing things and visiting worthy places. This at the end, helps you to manage time and be appreciative of every second. If you delay and deviate from your plans, you may need to skip to other activities and miss the attractive places you should have visited. This is very wasteful because the point of backpacking is to experience something new and see something new in your life.
- Utilize things
You will start to realize that every single thing is very important compared to the time when you are in your comfort zone. Maybe before, you did not need to use them because you had a variety of options, but when you are backpacking, you have limited options. You will only realize its value and how much it will help you during your backpacking travels.