This past winter I set off for 42 days with a 10kg back pack, some books, and some granola bars. I had never been out of the Western world for longer than a week, so this was big. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience new cultures, and so Thailand and Vietnam were the destinations of choice. The trip was a total BLAST.
While solo backpacking, I learned some key lessons along the way:
1. Everyday is an Adventure – You don’t have a lot of routine when backpacking which keeps life very interesting. You wake up every morning with a hunger for adventure that day
2. Just Go With It – Buses, taxi’s, and ferry’s run late, you just have to adapt. I was in Vietnam on a 8 hour bus ride which turned into 12 hours because the A/C broke down on the bus
3. Say Yes – Within reason of course, saying yes when travelling is what it’s all about. Say yes to the food, to the excursions, the conversations. You may be scared at first but you will be thankful you did
4. Just Show Up – You don’t need to reserve tickets or passes or rooms weeks before. In some cases yes, but the vast majority you can just show up and get your ticket or room on the spot.
5. Pack Less – I brought 6 shirts and regretted bringing 5 of them. Whatever you need you can buy once you get there. You don’t want to be carrying a heavy pack around.
6. Things Don’t Make You Happy – The people I met in Vietnam were the poorest people I’ve met in my life, but they also had the biggest smiles. Happiness does not equal what you own. The more things you own the more you have to keep track of. Keep things simple and stop collecting stuff.
What lessons have you learned in your travels? Would like to hear from you!