Do you have a friend, a relative, a colleague, or a family that is a backpacker? Do you often wonder why he/she travels a lot? Are you weirded out how he/she does her traveling? Do you have the urge to keep asking him/her tons of questions whether good or bad? Are you curious about how they survive backpacking?
If all your answers in those questions are ‘YES’ then you have to read on and understand the complex lifestyle (or simplicity) of a person bitten by a travel bug! First of all, you have to understand that backpackers are not ordinary people (not because I am a backpacker, but you’ll get it later on this post). None of them will keep a 9-5 job forever (well, maybe for now they are probably saving up or planning something else, but it’s not for good). They are talented people who lives and survives with what the universe offers. Now, let me try and make you understand us a little more…
1) Sociable. Approach one and you’ll be surprised how far your conversation will go. We love meeting people and having new friends here, there, and everywhere… Ask them if you want to rock climb tomorrow even if they haven’t done it before, they’ll join you. All in the name of fun and new friends(but make sure its either cheap or free).
2)Independent. Most backpackers travel solo, these are the ones who are more adventurous and thrill seekers than those who travel with companion (I mean, a lot of solo traveling than not). Don’t get me wrong, solo backpackers are no loners because you’ll find one solo backpacker landed at the airport of his/her new found place, the next thing you know he/she’s got company to roam around it(whether with another soloist or bunch of travelers).
3)Super-Independent. That they know how to respect individuality, they respect your “Yes” or “No” answer over an invitation and would not plead, beg, or annoy you for it. Well, they are expecting the same in return. You can change your mind eventually and tell them, and the party begins!
4)Talented and Creative. They have their ways how to get to a place they have never been and stay there for as long as they can. They may be empty handed but they always find ways. You’ll see them performing a “Fire Show”, singing or playing music on stage in an exotic island, and knows where to find the right resources when they need it.
5)Helpful. I learned a valuable lesson on the road backpacking Southeast Asia, ask fellow backpackers for the cheapest way on where to go, what to do, hostels, and food, they know better than a local (rather than getting ripped off from the local guy’s recommendation). It’s always better to ask a few to gather better information about what you want to know, one’s idea of good food may not be the other, so be smart, but like I said, they are helpful and willing to share what they know.
6)Resourceful. They know how to fuel their passion, traveling. So you think after few months of traveling they’re fed up? No way. You’ll see them planning to get a working-holiday visa to countries that would allow them, get there, start working a few months saving and they’ll travel again. Not to mention that they have lots of fall back to work on if they decided to stay a long time in one place like professionally teach English, scuba diving, volunteering, and other possible means.
7)Smart. They are smarter than you think. Ask them with visa laws on countries they have been or planning to go to, they’re actually better than your travel consultant on these ones. They know conversions, currencies, capital, best carrier, etc. They might be carrying the travel bible all the time but its just their guide, they know how to search information too. Internet is one friendly tool for them, so rest assured they will all be looking for a free WiFi access from the cheap dorm room they found.
8)Lives a simple life. It may not be simple in the eyes of other people because they travel a lot, but they travel the cheapest way possible they don’t care if it’s the $2 mixed dorm using only mattresses on the floor and basic ventilation, plus a common bathroom. Eats street foods, walks a lot to exercise and to save, enjoy mostly off the unbeaten tracks because its cheaper, cleaner, and more serene. Take note: They don’t travel for shopping!
9)Lives in the Present. They always live at the moment, though they care about the future and remembers their past, they value the good life and live at the moment. Takes a step one at a time.
10)Loves to Laugh. Backpackers are light hearted people that enjoys a good laugh, and I’d say a lot. You see them quiet but they’re either busy with something else or planning the next fun times.
11)Money Saver. They know all about budgeting, so don’t freak out if you see them partying at the club that offers free booze from 9-11pm and gone when the clock strikes the time free stuff ends. You’ll see them pair up with new people that eventually become their friends to get a good deal, cheaper on food and tours.
These are all I can think of but surely, there are still a lot of things you might find complicated, but really its not. It’s just too simple that most of us have taken for granted by drowning in vanity, temptation of material world, and commercialism. We often buy what we are conditioned to want instead of what we love. We may vary on taste like probably some are not ready to take another notch up or down for a real dodgy hostel or try to bungee jump in Macau’s highest bungee tower in Asia but more or less, this is how we roll. Everyone is invited to roll with us around the world!