What is backpacking?

Backpacking is an economical way of travelling anywhere in the world. Backpackers go to the same places as tourists but tend to stay in cheaper accommodations, eat at less expensive establishments, and take lower class transportation. Everyone has a backpack that contains all of their possessions for the duration of their trip. The goal is to save your money, but still travel to wherever you like, and do whatever you find interesting at in any given location.

Some people mistakenly say that they are “taking a year off” or “taking a break from school or work” to go travelling. Backpacking is not taking time off or taking a break from life, it is actually another type of education that can be both challenging and rewarding. Travelling the world places you in many different situations and you begin to learn more about yourself and life around you. It’s the kind of education you cannot learn by reading a book (even this one) or going to any school. It is “experiential learning” that will give you more rewards than you ever believed possible.

I would stress that backpacking should not be considered a holiday or a vacation. A holiday or a vacation is more for taking a small time out from your regular life, going someplace exotic to relax, unwind, and recharge. After that short period of time is over you come home, feeling better, and go back into your old life. Backpacking is where you don’t mind roughing it a little bit and skimp on a few creature comforts. You face more day-to-day challenges since you are choosing to stay in less “touristy” areas. By doing this, you are able to discover and immerse yourself within new cultures and ideas, and removing yourself from the “tourist bubble”. Backpacking provides daily challenges and teaches you to use your abilities to adapt and survive in new environments. I found that backpacking is more of a life investment than a holiday.