In short: Travel to explore and experience the world and yourself, let things happen to you, practice emotional and mental hygiene, and training always helps.
The travel style of Backpacking allows you to experience a place in an immersive, authentic, and a non-touristy way.
It lays emphasis on experiencing a destination by finding a sweet spot between being a visitor and being a local; living like a local with the interest and fascination of a visitor.
It involves making economic choices regarding transport, food, and lodging, which are the major expenses of any trip. And as the name suggests, it involves carrying your luggage in a backpack.
By extension, backpacking also means making an itinerary and executing the trip by yourself without using packaged tour services.
Does this activity sound like something you can do right off of your office desk or your home couch?
No, right? You need to plan and prepare in advance.
So as a part of your preparations, look to collect insights from other people’s experiences.
Advice that will assist and enhance your backpacking trip is what I’m offering here.
My name is GrizzlyBunny. I live in Mumbai, India, and have backpacked across a few different regions of this incredibly diverse country. My first backpacking trip was a month-long solo trip to remote and popular destinations across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.
My second trip was another month-long trip through offbeat destinations of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, and Meghalaya.
There have been a few more long and short trips that have added to my learning. Checkout my Instagram page for original photos and inspiring captions.
During my travels,
. I got scared to camp alone in an uncannily silent and remote corner of the Rann of Kutch.
. I successfully camped alone amidst the dunes of the Thar desert, with no other person nearby.
. I’ve had strangers buy me meals, share their immediate concerns and joys with me, welcome me into their homes for a stay. I’ve had a man sneakily stuff money into my pants.
. I got locked out of my Jain Dharamshala and was forced to spend the night on cold Delhi streets.
. I forced my way into a Border Security Force guarded area and then got kicked out at night.
. I went to pee, and the bus left with all my luggage and wallet.
. I’ve had three extortionists invade my hotel room at night in a remote river island of Assam
. I almost got caught smuggling.., let it be.
The point is, I’ve been through varied challenging instances and have come out wiser. Growth lies outside your comfort zone, indeed. The idea is to learn to handle yourself being in the discomfort zone. This way you grow yourself and expand your comfort zone too.
Oh, and I’ve also done a basic mountaineering course and a wilderness first aid course.
I’m telling (showing off) this to give you context of where my advice comes from, and that I know what I’m talking about.
So here’s the meat; while on a solo backpacking trip,
– Travel light, but always carry a blanket and a towel. Carry a neck pillow for long duration, seated journeys.
– Plan your trip around activities and interests you enjoy.
– Be alert and skeptical where required. Don’t get too friendly.
– Circumstances can change in a flash, don’t panic.
– Feel things. But be logical and practical.
– Train your intuitions and follow your gut feeling.
– Learn to ask for help.
– Carry water and some nuts/dry fruits at all times.
– Carry a physical list of important contacts.
– Keep your money in multiple (2 to 3) bank accounts.
– Be active in listening, be genuine while speaking. Engage people, build connections. Learn to develop trust, fast.
– Don’t get attached to plans; be flexible, life is long and transient to be too rigid. Adapt and improvise as per the situation.
– Apps are useful, but don’t rely on them completely.
– Practice confidence. Look smart and harmless.
– Befriend discomfort. Learn to get comfortable in awkward positions.
– Be clear on what matters to you. Compromise on the standard of things, not on your principles and values.
– Get a room with a window.
– Seek experiences. Withhold expectations.
– Observe the locals and how they interact. Learn to read people and their ways.
– Read body language while interacting with strangers. A little paranoia is a good thing.
– Be graceful and well mannered. Be cute, it helps.
– Always lock your room. Extortionists invaded our room and caught us off-guard because I didn’t lock the door.
– For road-sickness, carry a lemon to suck on; it eases the nausea greatly. Carry a puke bag, just in case.
– Carry a handy pocket knife.
– Learn to bargain. Negotiate for mutually beneficial arrangements.
– Always carry a first aid kit. Also, know how to use it.
– Train for the solo experience. Explore your hometown alone.
– Get fit. Backpacking is demanding; physically, mentally, and emotionally. Exercise, practice, and strengthen all three aspects.
– Have a relaxed mind. Give off good vibes, attract good vibes.
Adventure is letting things happen to you, facing them boldly, and learning a thing or two by the end.
Hope these tips help you out on your travels and other journeys of life.
I also write short stories depicting my travel adventures. I’d love for you to check them out at AdventureBunnies.
Until next time. Take care.