People don't really need much of an excuse to pack up and go backpacking whether for a month or a few years but they're not really excuses, there are primary reasons why we should all pack up. These are reasons for our mental and physical sanity and if anyone should question why you have chosen to become one of the majority and see the world then you can send this article for your accuser to read, that way you don't have to put up with the sighs of despair and accusing tone as you try and explain your reasons for wishing to broaden your horizons.
So why travel?
- Number 1. You cannot and will not learn everything from a book.
There is this thing called 'life experience'. Ask 100 people who they would rather sit next to at a dinner party, someone who has stories to tell of their travels, or someone who read about a country in a book, I guarantee all 100 would say the person who has lived the experience.
It is also amazing how many more conversations you are able to join in just because you have travelled somewhere and have that genuine knowledge inside you. The best way to learn is to physically experience it, the socially inept and boring academic stereotype had to come from somewhere.
- Number 2. The sociability factor.
You are on your own and you cannot hide behind your friends. Loneliness is hell so you have to make the effort to talk to people and engage in social interaction. Or, you have become far too introverted with your own friendship group that you ignore and forget other people around you and are essentially being an unpleasant person. Backpacking is the perfect way to understand all areas of social interaction.
If you are staying somewhere long term and have bonded with those within your dorm room, be honest how often do you try to talk to new people in the hostel? Chances are you stick to what you know. That is until you eventually move on and find yourself the new arrival in a hostel full of long termers.
With backpacking you meet people from all walks of life and develop an understanding of how people feel. You will never forget that feeling of arriving somewhere on your own and not knowing anybody and you will always remember the people you first spoke to when you arrived somewhere. Simply by living as a backpacker you develop empathy, respect and understanding of treating people as you yourself would like to be treated.
- Number 3. To be a little slutty.
It's not really the correct thing to say when someone asks you why you want to go backpacking for a while but it is an unspoken reason for many a backpacker. You're at home, working, not really meeting the wealth and variety of the opposite sex you want to, or maybe you still live at home and bringing home that sexy girl / guy you met isn't really a good idea. So you go backpacking where nearly everyone you meet is sociable. Throw in some days on the beach, some drinks, raging hormones and any other reason you may have had for justifying your trip goes well and truly out of the window.
- Number 4. Backpacking helps the economy.
For some countries tourism is the major area for income and the economy. In fact, nearly every country that you can possibly imagine visiting ranks tourism as one of the top earners for their countries economy. If we all stopped travelling we would seriously hinder the global economy and we have all experienced the pain of the recession.
Now if anyone dares to question your motives for backpacking or dismisses you as a person who is 'lost' then take this, point 4, and throw that in their face. "I am doing my piece for the global good, what are you doing?" Just remember to do your bit for the global good as environmentally soundly as possible. We backpackers aren't exactly innocent when it comes to polluting the globe.
- Number 5. "I can either stay here and become depressed, or go somewhere else and feel better about myself"
Nobody likes to talk about depression so the conversation will soon be over. However, it is still a valid point. If you are miserable in your life then do something else and be surrounded by people filled with positivity and energy.
You only live once, yeah YOLO, if your life isn't really going anywhere or you aren't sure exactly what to do then do something that's challenging, fun and that you will remember forever. No brainer really.
We all have plenty of personal reasons why we decided to either pack it all in or treat ourselves to some time away but regardless of this backpacking phenomenon there will still be some skeptics so this article is for them, the 5 main reasons we should all go backpacking.