I recently got back from a year in Australia and I had the pleasure of having my first ever backpacker experience. I had an amazing time and learnt a lot – some would even say that I developed skills which would be admirable in the workforce. What are these skills though? It got me thinking and instead of coming up with genuine, CV worthy skills (which would have been wise), I instead came up with a slightly different list.
On behalf of every backpacker, I’d like to present a list of 10 skills which I feel we should all qualify for following our backpacking, hostel-living, noodle-eating stint (N.B. If you plan on getting a job at any stage in the near future then I definitely don’t recommend using this list. Being able to drink excessive amounts isn’t impressive to the average employer – unless you plan on being a professional wine taster that is).
Because if you didn’t catch the only bus taking you to your next adventure, you’d be stuck in that small town a lot longer than you had clean underwear for.
Pushing your body to the limits by having one too many cups of goon (cheap nasty boxed wine) and getting only three hours sleep then still managing to wake yourself up in time for your free hostel breakfast. It’s an unspoken cardinal rule in backpacker world that if there’s a freebie going, you take it!
3. Problem solving
Aimlessly exploring the city, getting extremely lost and having to determine how to get back to your hostel with nothing more than a trusty old brick of a phone to help you – about as useful as a chocolate kettle – all requires superior problem solving skills!
Ok, maybe that’s too generous a word; organised chaos, on the other hand, is a great backpacker trait. Having the contents of your bag spilled out onto the floor in a way that makes perfect sense to you, but to everyone else, it’s just a plain old mess.
Becoming a master at negotiating the price down or agreeing to do a clothes swap. Trust me, finding a girl with the same taste and similar sized clothing to you isn’t as easy as it sounds.
6. Research skills
Sourcing out all the bars which do happy hour and going to them on the corresponding day. My best find was a bar in Melbourne that sold Prosecco for $1 on a Thursday. That’s the equivalent to 55p a glass here in the UK.
7. Decision making
To go out or to go “out out”, that is the question.
8. Interpersonal skills
It’s impossible not to acquire this skill when you’re sharing a room with as many as 19 people at times and having people in your personal space on a daily basis.
Getting so used to plans changing and falling apart that you become ‘flexible’ i.e. you no longer have enough energy or strength to care.
Going from shyly smiling at someone in the corridor to three days later when you’ve got private jokes, you’re sharing food, behaving like siblings and calling yourself a “team”.