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5 lessons you learn about yourself when backpacking

2019 February 8
by Paul

There’s no denying travel is an amazing opportunity. Seeing the world – wherever you choose to go – is something many of us want to do. Of course, the benefits of backpacking are numerous. Experiencing different cultures, making new friends, exploring new landscapes, seeing varied wildlife. The list could go on.

But what do all these benefits give us? What do we really learn about ourselves when we head off into the unknown?

Here are some ideas:

Confidence

Our limits are only what we make them. And travel has a way of pushing our boundaries and comfort zones. The result is an undeniable – and recognizable – change in confidence. Whether you were sure of yourself before or not, getting away and doing new things will show you just how much you’re capable of.

That some things are worth planning…

Did you know one week in a USA hospital can cost over $30,000? Wherever you’re travelling from, you probably have some comfort of knowing you could get help if you needed it. To get any kind of help when you travel, it’s wise to get insurance.

You’ll also need to plan visas, vaccinations and other boring things.

…and others aren’t

But once you’ve got the essentials out of the way, how much you plan is up to you. It’s good to have an idea of the countries and places you’d love to see, but it’s also fun to see where your trip takes you. It’s good to be flexible enough to say yes to opportunities as they arise. Just know what your essential must-sees are, and what you’re willing to go home without seeing or doing.

Patience

You’ll stay in weird hostels, you might miss a connecting flight, you could lose something or have a day or two when you miss home. It all happens. Travel isn’t non-stop fun. In fact, this is when some people say you learn the most – when you’re at what feels like the edge of your mental and physical limits.

But the whole point is you get through it all. You learn to reveal in uncertainty and become comfortable in situations that make other people stressed. Problem-solving even gives some a little rush of dopamine – getting themselves out of tricky situations creatively.

A new perspective

Many travel bloggers say that when we travel we quickly move from being the majority to the minority. A lot of what we know and what we’re used to is stripped from us. But what we gain is an appreciation of different cultures – and their history.

After all, it’s what shapes their belief system. It’s what influences the way they dress, act, talk and so on. Travel opens our eyes to new perspectives on life that make our own more universal.

What have you learnt when backpacking? Share your stories with us.

 

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