You log onto your favourite social media site and you see some friends have posted photos of them sunning it on a beach in Ibiza; but that just doesn’t cut it for you anymore. You are tired of the week long party or the two week trip to Florida with the family.
You want more. You work hard and you need a longer break. You need a life changing experience that last for so long that you do not want to have to count down the days left of your holiday on the first day you arrive. And, you want to see more of a country than your all inclusive packages offers you. Well if you want the freedom to roam and enough time to get lost a backpacking adventure may be for you.
So, what is a backpacking adventure I hear you ask? Well, to keep it simple. A backpacking adventure is a trip you take with a backpack. You ditch you’re suitcase full of clothes for "Just in case" and take the bare minimum because you’ll need to travel as light weight as possible in your quest to become a wonderer. A backpacker leaves the comfort of a all-inclusive behind them and steps out of the hotel boundaries to find empty benches and locations off the beaten track. A backpacker is ready to see the world; and willing to travel by land, sea or air to see as much as they can; for as little as possible.
Some backpackers have a plan, while some just go with the flow. But they all have a goal. And, the goal is to break free. They break free from “normal” life. They allow themselves to look at all of the things around them and enjoy the moment of just living in this beautiful world. They are vagabonds, they are nomids. Some have money (a High-packer), and some have none (a standard Backpacker). And, they all enjoy every minute of it (even through it can be a hell raising experience at times!)
Backpackers may travel any length of time from a weekend backpacker; who can only take short break in between the long haul flights. To the other side you have the never ending backpacker; who travels for years without going back to their country of origin; they're the backpacker who most backpackers inspire to become.
A backpacker sleeps in a wide range of accommodation types. Some will stay in a hostel for around £5/15pn. Hostels sleep between 4 to 12 lodgers in dormitories. Guest houses offer double rooms for around £10/40,. While leasing apartments for around £200/1000pcm is also an option. But, then you also have your free accommodation like sleeping on airport floor (if there are no two seats available), tents (on beaches and in random fields), and couch-surfing.
Backpackers travel by any means; from walking (yes literally walking; I know backpacker at present is walking across Europe). Some use the countries local coaches. Some fly. Some jump on boats; some jump on ships. And most do all of the above at some point in their journey (barring walking around Europe!). And when they arrive at the place they wish to stay. They will use the local transportation, and hire motorbikes or mopeds for smaller trips. But rarely do they take a taxi or Tok Tok as they do not have the time or patience for locals trying to rip them off. And, some backpackers will also put out their thumbs and hitch a lift northeast or whichever direction they need to go.
But, what most people really need to know about a backpacker is that they are the real local tour guides/agony aunts/ hero’s/ lifesavers/ wise ones of the holiday market. They are (on an average day) the most helpful bunch of people you will get to meet. Most will speak English but they are from all over the world. They can offer you help from how to connect to wifi to how to take a bus from north to south of a country; and, they will all join to have a debate on what is the best / most safest route to take just in case someone else has a better answer. If you get to share the bus ride or train journey with them and if you are not shy and ask them questions about their travels they will most will have some amazing adventures to tell you about and thrill you with during your normally quiet journey. They are you’re A to Z of food/culture/ and of course the visa runs. And, they tell you all you need to know for free (unlike the locals; who will always be trying to sell you something overpriced).
All on all, a backpacker lives for the moment of just seeing. They try to see everything that they can. And, they try to enjoy it while sweating with a backpack on. They cry like we cry. But, they choose to have not true fixed abow while traveling; and the good ones become independent in the process.