Ten Drawbacks to Having Caught the Backpackers Travel Bug
Those who have caught the bug will understand – those that don’t… well here’s what we have to deal with:
- Maintaining Friendships back ‘home’
It isn’t always easy maintaining those friendships while away for months at a time. Keeping people posted on your whereabouts, your experiences, what is happening in her life, etc. For those that aren’t ‘travelers’ it is hard for us to really explain why we do what we do and why we ‘have to’ do it. I often find myself explaining to others why it is I have prioritized travel, whether it be to other countries or just spending my spare time out in the mountains, but then I catch myself and think ‘My dreams don’t always need an explanation because they don’t belong to anyone else but myself’.
We may seem a bit selfish at times, putting travel/exploring before other things but it’s because we see something that others may not. Friends may come and go along the way, with time and as we change and ‘find ourselves’. This may mean having to let go of some friendships, that no longer serve us purpose or that may be bringing us down… But we in turn make new friendships along the way, with individuals whom can relate to our passions and support our dreams 100% and understand this travel bug ‘issue’. Though we may also realize how much those friendships back home mean to us and realize our priorities were off a little… and come back and try and mend those friendships. But in the end there is no regretting the chances taken.
2. Maintaining a Routine on the road
If you LOVE routine, the backpacking life may not be one for you, though then again if you are one for routine, maybe it is JUST what you need to push you outside of your comfort zone. 5 years ago I took my first big leap of faith and booked a 4-month solo trip to Asia… kicking it off with a 25 day tour with Free and Easy Traveler. before that I was a very routine girl. Run. School. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Booking that trip was just what I needed to break me out of that day to day routine.
From the various transportation sources, to different foods (Where it isn’t always super easy to eat healthy), to not being able to run every single morning/day for whatever reason, to the random complications you may come across, to the language barriers you may face… My heart is CONSTANTLY being torn between the need for routine and the need for freedom. I am still struggling to find that balance.
3. Potential Sickness
Home sickness, Motion sickness, ‘Food sickness’ (poisoning), Travelers diarrhea (Yah I said it), to those mad hangovers from that ‘whacky’ alcohol you drank… Any backpacker will know just what I am talking about. It is not all rainbows and butterflies when out on the road. It is easy to begin missing loved ones back home and missing all those comforts. From the long plane rides, to those rocky uncomfortable boat rides, wild taxi rides, crowded smelly buses and night trains… We look forward to coming back and getting in that comfy car of ours back home, where we are in complete control. The ‘funky’ smells of certain places may have us holding our breath as well. We all have those stories on how we got ‘sick’ during our travels.
4. Missing out on important life events back ‘home’
Being away for months at a time we are bound to miss out on certain life events back home. Whether it be engagements, weddings, birthdays, childbirths, and anything else for that matter. It isn’t always easy seeing photos of people you care about going through unbelievable times in their lives and us not being their to support them the way we possibly should be. We often think to ourselves… ‘Am I selfish out here traveling while my friends and family are back home… or am I doing the right thing by investing in myself and memories made?’ You all know what I am talking about.
5. The curse of increased curiosity
The more we travel… the more curious we get. It’s seriously both a blessing and a curse. The more countries we experience, the more that get added to our list. The more we face our fears, the more fearless we become and we find ourselves wanted to push our boundaries that much more. How far can I go? What else can I check off my bucket list? What more can I ADD to that list? When will I ever be satisfied enough? It’s an endless, vicious circle…
6. Decreased interest in work at ‘home’
Let’s face it, beaches, drinks, new culture, unreal landscapes, hot temperatures, new friendships and experiences… beat that 9-4 job back home, am I right? The freedom we get from traveling is extremely addicting and the more time we spend away from that routine life/work back home, the more we don’t want to go back. Often times the only thing bringing us back in to make more money just to jet off again. Unless we become lucky enough in being able to combine the love for travel and work!
Travels bring us to some unreal places, surrounded by unreal people. For the most part everyone is happy and free, with minimal responsibilities. Backpackers find themselves more able to come out of their shells, and be whoever they want to be when on the road, away from that life at home. We too often see people at our day jobs upset, cranky, and complaining about their jobs and that doesn’t make us want to go back one bit. Why go back to that when you can just travel, have fun and be around happy people? Right?
7. Confusion with personal relationships
A whole new topic of its own… Being away from loved ones at home is tough. Much like #1 in this blog… keeping them up to date… in the loop of what’s going on etc. can become exhausting. Traveling also alters people’s perspectives, and backpacking can truly ‘change’ a person’s perspective. We may grow apart from that relationship and see things differently because of our experiences. We may also meet someone during our travels that we seem to relate better too and find interest in, that may spark the confusion.
Though is that real life? Yah its all fun while backpacking cause we have no worries in the world, but what happens when we get back to ‘real life’ and actually have to exist running errands together, cooking diner, and cleaning the house back home? Who else can relate?
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone who goes backpacking runs into this experience, some couples are lucky to be able to travel together and make memories side by side. Others relationships are strong enough there is NO WAY travelling separate could tear them apart.
8. Running into money ‘Probs’
‘If traveling were free, you’d never see me again’. I am sure a number of people can say this. Travel is not always cheap. We may get carried away, go over our budget, get money stolen from us… spend way to much on something because we are confused with the currency, or just a little bit tipsy at the time (Drinks on drinks). We may end up having to call our folks back home to help us out, or call our trip short because we spent to much and have to get back home to work again! Wouldn’t it be great if money weren’t a concern?
9. Living out of a backpack
Sure it is fun for a while… and great knowing we can survive so many months just off of what we can carry on our backs (The minimalist lifestyle). Seeing how many days we can go in that favourite pair of flip-flops before having to toss them in the garbage, or how many times we can get away with wearing that same shirt before having to hunt down a laundromat to save others from the stench…. Though it is always fun coming back home to a closet full of ‘new’ clothes to chose from.
Living out of a pack also means we can’t always be buying that much on the road. So may as well take a whole lot of photos instead of material memories! Hauling it around all the time can also be a pain, shore shoulders, having to worry about things being stolen out of it when you leave it behind, or ‘under the bus’. Kind of freaky knowing your life is in ONE bag!
10. Missing our comfort items back ‘home’
The backpackers life… sleeping in different beds all the time (not always very comfortable), hammocks, on the sandy beach, or hey who knows where some of us end up finding ourselves sleeping for the night. Mice, lizards, rats, beetles, and other creatures are also not that uncommon in some of these places we may find ourselves ‘bunking’ out in.
Hot showers? Mmmmm not always guaranteed. Good water pressure? Good luck! We may find ourselves resorting to lakes, the ocean, or other water sources to rinse off. Or hey… May go quite a few days without a shower at all! At least we are all in it together, right?
I cant forget to mention PETS… being on the go all the time it is hard to have dogs or other animals back home. Or if you do have them, having to find places to take them to (Parents/friends/kennels) while we head out on our adventure. I know that first handedly – I have been wanting a husky pup for years but haven’t committed to getting one because I would be heartbroken having to leave him behind. I have to wait till I am more settled before taking on that responsibility.
We all have our comfort foods as well, or comfort items. We can’t be hauling around our favourite treats/luxury items/pets from back home. Blow dryer, straightening iron, our dogs… It just isn’t practical. Our favourite foods may also not be available… and have to sometimes eat whatever we can get our hands on!
With all that said there is nothing quite like coming home, taking a wonderful hot, pressurized shower, and falling asleep in that amazingly comfortable bed. Waking up and tossing on new fresh clothes, being around loved ones and having those comforts of home. This experience in itself is something that makes us truly appreciate what we have. It often takes going away and living that back packer life for a while, for us to realize how blessed we really are.