Long-term budget backpacking life: everyday life, is part 6 of the traveling realism’s series.
The glamorous life of long-term budget backpacking life!
So, you’re ready to go on your first ever budget backpacking trip? You’ve done all your research and planning, you’ve read just about every travel blog there is to read. You’re excited by the glamorous pictures filled with amazing adventures from one day to the next and you want some of that action.
You’re about to swap your ‘normal’ life for a life of daily adventure. You can just imagine it, you’ll be ticking things off your bucket list day after day, you’re friends and family are going to be so jealous of your new life.
And, why wouldn’t they be jealous, while they’re stuck in their everyday life, the mundane routine, you’re going to be gallivanting around the world, going from one adventure to the next. Your days are going to be crammed with new experiences, meeting new people, drinking cocktails on paradise beaches and discovering hidden gems on a daily basis.
Well…that’s not entirely true!
Everyday Long-term budget backpacking life
While there is no doubt your trip will most likely be an incredible journey full of adventures, mystery, meeting new people, discovering hidden gems, new cultures and crammed with unforgettable experiences; not every day will be an adventure, backpacker life is not all glamour.
It’s unfortunate but a lot of travel-related information like blogs, magazines, websites, videos don’t like to actually educate and prepare you for what long-term budget backpacking life is going to be like. They give you snapshots and like to ‘sell and showcase’ the idea of backpacker life being glamorous all the time. However, they don’t tend to mention what happens in-between the adventure days.
Not trying to put you off long-term budget backpacking.
Before anybody starts to think that I’m putting a damper on budget backpacking, or trying to put you off, that is not what I’m doing. I’m just making you aware of another traveling realism.
If you’re not aware, I’ve been budget backpacking the world since 2010. And, over the years I’ve come across so many first-time budget backpackers who were so under-prepared or didn’t know how to be a backpacker but it wasn’t always entirely their own fault. They just didn’t know any better. They saw and read about the glamours of traveling but just weren’t clued up on what everyday budget backpacking life was going be like and felt lost.
It’s not just others, I was exactly the same before my first trip. I read all these amazing things about traveling, watched incredible videos and vlogs and my mind was bursting with endless thoughts of what my traveling life was going to be like. However, it didn’t take long to realize I was not prepared for everyday long-term budget backpacking life and I didn’t know how to be a backpacker!
So the reason for this post is to give you an insight into what backpacker life is like.
How your backpacking life will evolve.
First few days and weeks of Long-term budget backpacking life:
The first few days, excitement will be bursting out of the seams, you’ll want to see and do everything all once. The adrenaline will be pumping and you literally will be bouncing off the walls. Those first few days are the days when you go from one adventure to the next without giving your budget a thought. Everything will be brand new, you’ll be wide-eyed and everything will feel surreal. Those first few days, you’ll be trigger happy with your camera to make sure you don’t miss a thing and you’ll be so excited to upload them to show your friends and family back home.
After a few weeks…
Things start to sink in, you’ll start to adjust to long-term budget backpacking life, things start to feel normal and you become more conscious. You’ll still be doing a lot of trips and activities but you might give yourself a couple of days to rest in between to re-cooperate.
After a few weeks, you will understand how to be a backpacker and how things work. You’ll understand backpacker dynamics and how hostel life works. You’ll gain a better knowledge of local costs as opposed to tourist costs and in turn, learn to budget better. With the knowledge you’ve picked up you’re also more likely to cook for yourself rather than eat out, friends will be made and you’ll start turning from tourist mode to backpacker mode.
As weeks turn into months…
Your pace will slow down, there will be days you’ll just lounge around your accommodation or just hang around with friends you’ve made. You may find by now you’ve started to stay in places longer, you’ll be known as a ‘long-termer’ in hostels. You’ll be more methodical and conscious with your budget, like really stringent. So, there will be less needless spending and trips will be prioritized, skipping ones you don’t feel are worth the money. With that, you’ll have figured how to be a backpacker and will make things cheaper, haggle and take advantage of any free things on offer. If you are in one place for a prolonged amount of time, locals will even start seeing you as a local and not a tourist, which really helps the longer you travel.
When the Months turn into years…
Well, traveling becomes normal life, it’s just what you do now. You’ll move at a snail’s pace, taking as long as you can in one place. Those days when you can’t be bothered to do anything will turn into weeks and even months in some cases. Your everyday life will be just living in a foreign country, and moving on or doing activities when you can be bothered to.
Truth is there are only so many touristy things you can do and more than likely be fully immersed in local culture. You will have more fun hanging around with locals, going way off the beaten track.
Other travelers will be gobsmacked when they find out how long you’ve been traveling for and to some, you will be an inspiration. The budget you started with will have evaporated by now, so you’ll work as and when you need to. You’ll be an expert on finding things for free and you will just see life from a different perspective. That wide-eyed novice backpacker you started out as will be a distant memory, in-fact reality and the normal life you once left will also be a memory.
You need rest days for Long-term budget backpacking life.
Well, it’s as simple as saying you’re only human and not a machine. You cannot physically be on the go all the time, you need rest, you need to recuperate, you need time to take in what you’re doing. You’ll be surprised at the number of long-term travelers I meet who come armed with pack itineraries. They get burnt out within weeks of traveling or look so stressed out because they didn’t give themselves time to enjoy the moment.
These are people who have every minute of every day planned out. Now, let me just say, if people are traveling just for a few days, weeks or even a month I understand why they would want to cram as much as they can in; they are on a time frame. However, if there is no time-frame, remember this – Long-term budget backpacking is not a sprint; it’s a full-blown marathon. Between big trips and activities – chill out! Soak in what you’ve just experienced…Enjoy the moment!
Partying too much.
It comes with the territory for a first-time backpacker, especially if you’re a gap-year backpacker. There are going to be days where you just do nothing because you’re partying too much, check out backpacks and booze and see what I mean.
There will be some people reading this and turn their nose saying ‘I don’t travel to party’. Well, that’s fine if you don’t but a lot of first-time backpackers are young and like to party (That’s not to say only young people party). I was one of those people and although I hadn’t planned for it, I became part of backpacking party culture during my first trip. There were a lot of lost days through partying over the years for me.
Times you have to work to carry on!
Something you should really comprehend and a facet of long-term budget backpacking life is that you will have to work to replenish or even create new funds. The money you saved before your trip will only last for so long, and remember I’m talking about traveling for 6 months+ or even years and not just a few months.
Like I mentioned before the more you travel the better you will get at managing the money you do have but money management isn’t a strong point like it wasn’t for me there’s no need to panic. There will be ways to earn money on the go, trust me when I travel there are days I don’t have a penny to rub and other days when my pockets are full. This post explains how you can earn money while backpacking: How to sustain long-term backpacking life.
Emotional and mental states of Long-term budget backpacking life.
A part of your everyday backpacking life will be to deal with your emotional and mental states, I’m going to be brutally honest, long-term budget travel can be excruciatingly painful at times. It can be a battle with your mind and sometimes it can get the better of you.
There will be days when you just feel down-right depressed for no reason. It could even be as simple as having a come down from doing an amazing activity the day before. It could be from having to say goodbye to another traveler you got close to or starting to miss home. You may even have to deal with a breakup during your travels, or been given some bad news from home.
Whatever the reason, we all go through it, we all have to deal with it, and sometimes you just feel fragile for no reason. Sometimes the best solution is just to hide from the world. As with everything though, these feelings and emotional states pass. You just have to ride it out and a few days later you will feel right as rain.
The longer you travel.
The longer you travel, there will be days and weeks you just take some time out from traveling. There are literally days when you wake up and just want to be lazy, do nothing, catch up with friends and family back home, or binge watch on TV series. And when these days come, don’t think you’re wasting your time, trust me, in the long run, it’s healthy to just stop. It helps with longevity.
I know some long-term travelers who just pack a few things to check in to a hotel and hide away for days to have sometimes to themselves. They collect, re-group, refresh themselves and come back a few days later.
When I first started to travel, I would see people in my hostel just lounging around, so I would ask why they’re not doing anything. The answer, “Just can’t be bothered to do anything” would shock me but over the years, that’s the same response I give when I’m asked the same question.
I just can’t be bothered to see or do anything.
‘I just can’t be bothered’ – Sounds ridiculous right? And some of you are probably laughing reading this and thinking this guy is talking shit, how can you not be bothered?…. Well, it’s just what happens sometimes, it’s the truth.
There will be days when the most exciting thing in your day is what you’re going to eat or doing your laundry!
Are you ready for long-term budget backpacking life?
As you can see from this post life on the road is not going to be glamorous all the time, your trip will be filled with incredible highs and joys but also some downright lows. Things are portrayed as easy but life isn’t that easy and if you’re willing to battle through it the rewards of long-term budget travel will be so rewarding.
Did you find this post helpful Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know about how to be a backpacker or backpacking life?
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