I sat on my tiny bunkbed in a grim 6 man dorm in Inner West Sydney and looked around. Spider webs in the window, blinds that wouldn’t shut and dubious looking mattresses. After 12 hours on a Greyhound bus this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I left my cushty flat and job in Perth, Western Australia.
And that’s when it hit me:
Backpacking isn’t for me.
Before we get started here’s some background information:
I left Yorkshire at the beginning of 2015 to try out a year in Australia. I landed in Perth first and bagged myself an awesome job and a nice apartment. After seven months there I realised it was time to do the whole backpacking, hostel thing.
And I hated it.
I travelled from Bundaberg, QLD to Sydney, NSW stopping at Brisbane, Surfer’s Paradise and Byron Bay, staying in hostels and eating frugally the whole way. I am now based in Sydney until the end of the year and I still feel the same way.
It isn’t being away from home that bothers me (although I am starting to miss it a bit more now I’m closing in on a year in Australia) – It’s the shared rooms, the dirty showers and the busy kitchens. Having one backpack with all my worldly belongings in it and having to lock anything important or expensive away.
Some people love that life, but me? I’m all about comfort and a bit of luxury.
I love travelling, I really do but sometimes I feel guilty that I just feel constantly annoyed by my loud, excited roommates, by people who just sit around the hostel all day while I go to work trying to fund my way home.
I have had to work whilst being in Australia because I don’t have the bank of Mum and Dad (and wouldn’t want that either) and I didn’t have enough savings to take the year off. In all honesty, a year without working, a year without having a reason to get out of bed on a morning, would kill me.
Getting me nicely on to the topic of:
Quit your job, sell you stuff, travel the world.
That is something we are bombarded with constantly by travel bloggers and writers but for some it just isn’t realistic. Some people like their jobs, their houses, their belongings. Some people have commitments that mean they can’t just up and leave.
What I’m trying to say is that if you don’t think backpacking is for you, then it probably isn’t. If you aren’t much of a people person or you don’t want to share a bedroom or learn to cook without an oven then give it a miss and stick to private rooms and eating out.
You know what you like so don’t do something just because it’s the thing to do.
Everyone has their own travel style be it spending two weeks of Summer in Spain every year, taking a month off work to go bungee jumping in New Zealand or spending 18 months trekking around South America.
Too those that do backpack long-term this isn’t a dig at you. If anything I admire that you can live that kind of life for so long and have so little dependency on home or material objects. I admire that you can stretch your budget and manage to travel with little or no income.
But as far as it being the life for me? Nah. I think when I go back to normality I’ll be having long weekend breaks in Europe and taking a month off here and there to go to further flung places like Canada and Thailand. Well deserved breaks from a working life.
I’m not horribly fussy – a double room in a hostel will do for me – but I definitely won’t be packing my life into one rucksack for a period of long term travel again.