The sacrifices a backpacker makes

So, I don’t think I’ve ever really read much on this topic, it can put a bit of a negative spin on the amazingness of travelling, but my intention really is to highlight the sorts of sacrifices backpackers make, that non-travellers take for granted, and even often complain about.

1. Having your own place. I would love to have my own place, rent or buy, whatever, as long as I can do whatever I want. But I don’t. I live with my parents, its cheaper and easier for me to save, and because I’m always dreaming of going to explore some obscure corner of the world, I always think what is the point in moving out if I’m just going to leave again soon. I don’t like being tied down.

2. Climbing the career ladder. Despite my language degree, I’ve only ever worked in shops and pubs. I’ve never managed to get a job I want to become my career. It would be nice (though possibly mind-numbingly boring) to experience the routine of Monday-to-Friday-9-to-5 type of job, a job that would allow me to climb to the very top of the career ladder before retiring early on a massive pension. But I’d have to settle down properly first before I got a career.

3. Having a car. I gave my car up when I went to Australia. I really miss it, because sometimes I find bus timetables so restricting.

4. Having a phone contract. I’ve never had one to be honest, I find its too much commitment. What is the point in taking out a 2 year mobile phone contract if you know you’re going travelling very soon? Can you really afford to pay £40 per month, plus whatever calls from abroad will cost you, when you’re travelling?

5. ‘The perfect life’. Everyone thinks life is about growing up, getting a fancy job, a fancy car, a fancy house, getting married, having the 2.4 children (or whatever the average is) and a dog. Backpackers are essentially ‘missing out’ on this. Obviously these things aren’t our priority, otherwise wanderlust would take a back seat until the children are older, and we’re too old to enjoy the adventure of travelling. To backpackers, the perfect life is what they make it, its not what other people think or expect them to do, its what they do.

6. All of life’s little luxuries. Things I want to do, the ‘settled’ sort of things like get a monthly subscription to Hotel Chocolat and enjoy the quarterly samples they send. Regularly buying clothes just randomly, not clothes I even need for travelling, or that I even need at all, just an expensive pretty dress, once in a while, just because I just got paid and I can. If I can’t take it travelling with me though, I might as well leave it for someone else to buy, my money can be put to better use.

7. My own bed. Travelling means sleeping in different hostels, buses, sofas, tents, airports, boats. When you come home, being in your own bed is amazing.

8. Spending quality time with loved ones. If you travel a lot, you only ge to see your family now and again, you make new friends, but still miss the old ones. Travelling really makes you appreciate your friends and famiy when you come back from a big trip.

So, while these might not seem a lot, and I know everyone whinges about work, their house, the fact that they have ‘absolutely no clothes’ while actually having a wardrobe full of clothes, this is what a backpacker chooses to give up, or at least defer until a lot later in life than all their friends ‘back home’ (if they even have a ‘back home’ anymore). Obviously travelling is amazing, and I think its totally worth missing out on these things, or deferring them, just to see the parts of the world you want to see and achieve your dreams and lifelong plans of travelling.

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