Travel. It sets us free. It tests us. It teaches us about who we really are and it opens our eyes to new thoughts, ideas, people and ways of life. The experience itself is life changing. However, backpacking doesn't always go to plan. We make sacrifices to be able to cross borders and we leave the security of home behind us. As we leap beyond the confines of our comfort zones, we welcome a new world and new challenges. Let's face it - travelling is not always easy and we've all encountered the same obstacles. But let's be honest... these problems are not that bad right?
"I'm running low on money"
We've worked hard and saved our dough for an overseas trip and with no incoming wage we really have to watch our budget. We all have that nagging fear of cutting our trip short due to a lack of funds, or waking up the morning after a big night with the realisation that we've spent WAY more than we'd budgeted for. But - for the love of backpacking, it's a risk we all eagerly take.
"I look like shit"
Yes we can all relate to this one. Despite the positive, carefree energy oozing from our tanned skin, a constant diet of noodles and booze eventually starts to take its toll. No gym. Our best clothes are hanging nicely in our wardrobe at home and we haven't had a proper haircut for months. Although it gets us down at times, there's something about backpacking that opens our eyes to the less unfortunate. So we suck it up, chuck on the flip flops, spray an endless stream of deodorant to disguise any smells and continue living life in large.
"Where the hell can I pleasure myself?"
We won't go into details with this one... but a few tips (because let's be honest, it has crossed your mind): Shower. OK just one tip. Any ideas?
"What I would give for my own room"
Hostel life is an inevitable part of the backpacking experience. We snooze away next to a new person each night and eventually become immune to late night light switches and snoring (or buy ourselves a set of headphones). It's a great way to make new friends and the excitement of sharing a room takes us back to our younger, carefree years. Who doesn't like to play Pirates? However, if the opportunity to spend just ONE night in OUR OWN room, snuggled up in a double bed with OUR OWN bathroom and OWN wardrobe arose (at the same price as a dorm)... we wouldn't say no!
"I honestly don't think I can ever drink alcohol again"
We've all thought it. We all overcame it. Enough said.
"I have no idea where I am"
Every one of us has experienced that little rumble of fear in our stomachs as we make our way around a new city. Google Maps is down and you actually have no concept of north, south, east or west. In fact, you're not even sure which way you've come and how to get back to the hostel. As scary as these times can be - the thrill and sense of accomplishment of reaching the place we need to be is the reason we travel in the first place. Getting lost in a new city is a part of the journey.
"This internet connection is the worst"
Paying for internet. Sharing it with 100s of other travellers. Trying to find free Wi-Fi zones. Skype calls cutting out JUST as your best mate was about to tell you who they slept with last night. These are all problems every backpacker has to deal with. No matter where in the world. Soon we take it as a blessing and chill out!
"I can't believe I did that last night"
Nudity. Skinny Dipping. Wet T-Shirt Competition. Waking up next to someone and not remembering their name. Losing your dorm room key. Losing your ID. Losing your wallet. Losing your passport. Losing your dignity... yep. We've all done it and we soon learn that the guilt subsides long before the good memories.
"I miss my friends and family"
This one is a given. We all miss our mates and loved ones back home. Luckily we have Skype and Facebook to stay in touch. We soon realise that our true friends are OK with us not contacting them every single day and filling them in on every single details. Our true friends and family set us free. Plus travelling opens up to a whole new world of friendships, lessons, inspirations and an entire globe of individuality.