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How to Become a Backpacker?

This question has been coming up often lately and I’m not quite sure how to answer it but let me try. If someone would have asked me 10 years ago what I’d want to be when I grew up, my answer would have been “to become a successful business woman”. ”I want to be a backpacker” would have NEVER been anywhere near my answer. This was my answer before I was exposed to traveling. The rest was history once I began to travel.

My first personal exposure to backpacking was at 14 when I was in Europe with my family. We traveled in France, Italy and Switzerland and slept in hostels. But I kind of forgot about the experience until I got to University. It all came back to me after getting accepted to study abroad for a semester. Living in a different country and being in such close proximity to other European countries, I began to go on weekend trips. Every week-end, I’d be in a different city. It was great! From road trips, I moved on to backpacking during spring break and then at the end of my semester, I backpacked through Spain, Portugal and Morocco for about one month a half. So guess what happened when I got back home? Yeah… I wanted to leave again! Got that right. So from there, I left to study abroad for another semester but wanted to go somewhere different so Mexico was my choice of destination. After that was done, guess what? I wanted to experience something else! So I head to Asia for a month… and then Argentina.. and then Brasil… and it just never ends because I keep on wanting more and more. And what I found adventurous 5 years ago is no longer adventurous for me now so I keep on taking it to the next step.   

Michoacan, Mexico

The thing is that you don’t necessarily think about becoming a backpacker. It just happens. It begins with personality and character. You need to have an interest in traveling and the willingness to go out there and explore. Once you reach that point, you live, you learn, you meet people and you’ll always want to take it one step further. You start off with a regular small trip to Europe for example. Then you start getting bored of Europe so you’ll head to South America. Once you get a glimpse of South America, you’ll head to Asia next. From one week, you’ll want to travel 2 or 3 or 4 weeks. Then you’ll look for a job abroad to experience living abroad for a few months or years. It’s like learning how to walk. You start by taking one step, then another, then another and guess what? Then, you’ll realize you’re a backpacker, without knowing how you turned into one! It’s an awesome feeling!

Any other backpackers want to share their experiences?

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Comments (6)

  • Ahimsa

    I agree completely. Travel–living the life of a backpacker–is so addicting it should come with a warning label.

  • Kunu M

    Ya, if anyone asked me I’d just say “Whenever you decide to”.

    Of course it’s hard and takes sacrifices and questioning social norms if you’re stuck in the “successful 9-5 with 3 weeks of vac a year” routine or other similar ones, but it’s just a matter of making it a priority in your life and taking advantage of and creating opportunities to do it!

  • Denis

    when you strip everything away from life, it comes down to a matter of choices. for those of us born into fortunate societies in the first world, these choices are evident in our everyday lives.
    we choose to travel as do we choose to buy a new four piece leather lounge suite.

    choose life. choose travel.

    choice is a very fortunate luxury we have at our fingertips…

    nice post chica, keep it rolling…

  • Tanya

    I agree with all 3 of you. It should def come with a warning label! It’s easy to keep on wanting more and more. And yes, once you’re part of the corporate world, it’s a matter of sacrificing yourself for 49 weeks in order to get 3 weeks off in a row! Lastly, we are extremely lucky to have the opportunities we have. We all choose to spend our $$ the way we want. I’m making the hostels survive around the world!! Thanks for your comments :)

  • treiffus

    I started backpacking ten years ago– just a little trip to Morocco for a month. Then three months in the middle east later that year. And so on until this last year I spent seven months in Central Africa. I’ve been to a ton of countries and had lots of great experiences, but I agree with what Tanya says– it should come with a warning label. My resume looks like moths got at it and despite intermittent work as an Army contractor in Kabul, I’ve barely got any money in the bank. I own nothing but what’s in my backpack, even after all these years. I’ve been gone so long, the concept of a home has become a murky one indeed.

    What some might see as a life of freedom is to others a liability. Do this long enough, and sacrifices come into the equation. Some of them are not small. Me, I’m a certified addict. That’s the trouble with this lifestyle– like all drugs, it must be taken in moderation.

    • Tanya

      I totally agree with you! You start with one destination and then you keep on going forever- it’s difficult to stop because there are so many places to visit and discover and learn from! Don’t see it as not having any money in the bank, you should consider it as money invested in you! You don’t grow from things you own (house, car, etc), you grow from your experiences. And the house will always be there whenever your ready to invest in it. Its all about what your priorities are.
      If it makes you feel better, I’m a certified addict too! You’re allowed to be addicted, but what you can do is cut the budget you reserve for traveling and put some aside for other investments you want to make. You can do it! Thanks for your post!!


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