Traveling realism’s

Traveling realism’s.

Every coin has two sides and traveling realism’s are on the other side of the backpacking coin! The not so fluffy side of the coin we don’t really hear about before we embark on our adventures.

Traveling realism's

Before we’re about to head out on our travels we imagine and picture what traveling is going to be like, we plan and research all the amazing things we’re going to do and see. We read blogs and watch videos from other backpackers and fantasize about discovering amazing new countries and cultures. We dream up how the trip will play out, thinking of the people we will meet, the food we’ll taste, the adventures that will captivate us and the cultures we’ll immerse ourselves in.

However, not many of us look at the other side of the coin, we don’t want to lower our spirits, we don’t want to think about anything negative. Sure we might prepare for some eventualities, safety aspects and have a back up plan if certain things go wrong but how deep do we really look?

The other side of the coin:

There are things, certain situations, times, events and changes that will occur that we’re not prepared for or think wont happen to us. Things like getting stuck in one place for way too long, plans changing, transportation issues or if you start running dangerously low on funds. What do you when you’ll feel lonely, homesick, vulnerable, down in the dumps or if anxiety creeps into your life?

You might be shaking your head saying, “Nah that wont happen to me, I’ve got enough funds, I’m a positive person and traveling is a dream, nothing can get me down.”

Unfortunately these things can happen –  You’ll learn when traveling how quickly things can turn on its head. And, no amount of planning can prepare you for when shit goes horribly tits up!…

The harsh truth:

Traveling realism'sThe truth is as I’m sure you’re well aware, traveling isn’t all roses all the time. There will be major bumps in the road, the longer you travel the harder it can get and you have to be mentally strong at times. It will test your character and you will either adapt, learn and grow or sink and go back home. That might sound very harsh but it’s true, for some people their dream backpacking dream can turn into a nightmare.

However this is not to put anybody off traveling or to deter you in any way, this isn’t me being negative and saying traveling is shit you shouldn’t do it. Far from it, traveling, in my eyes is the most amazing, eye-opening and fulfilling experience you can ever have. As a long term-budget traveler I’m just being real with you.

Traveling realism’s will hit you at some point in one way or another and you will experience the other side of the coin. So I just want to touch on a few things that you could come across.


Getting used to hostels/dorms:

One of the biggest trepidaHostel lifetion’s and adjustments to backpacking life will be getting used to hostel life and sharing dorm rooms. Thoughts like “What’s my hostel going to be like?”, “Will it be safe?”, “What are the people going to be like?”, “Will it be clean?”, “Will I get along with my Roommates?”, “How many people will I have to share a room with?” “Will my dorm smell?” Will run through your mind. (I’m sure there are plenty other thoughts too)

It would be easy for me, a long-term traveler who’s….

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Getting stuck in one place.

Oh, I know your shaking your head right now saying “Nope, this will not happen to me. I have a plan, I will not be getting stuck whilst traveling.”…Well you might be right, it might not happen to you – But in all likeliness, it will at some point.

Take it from a long-term traveler…

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Running out of money:

backpacking without money

I’ll make no bones about it; running out of it and backpacking without money can undoubtedly be one of the worst situations and feelings a backpacker can have; a real low point in your travels. It can make you feel really shitty about yourself and traveling, incompetent and at times even depressed. Self doubt takes over and you question yourself to why you’re even bothering to continue. It can ruin the whole traveling experience…That’s if you allow it to!..

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Language problems while traveling.

language problems while traveling Wouldn’t it be great, if there were no language problems while traveling? If only you could walk into any country and just speak their language fluently, with no communication problems, no language barriers, nothing lost in translation…Well what if I had the magic answer to this?

No second language…No problem.

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Transport problems:

There will come a place and a time where your patience will be tested and none more so than when you come across transport problems. It’s unavoidable and unfortunately it will be part of your backpacking life and experience. At some point, you’ll have a cancellation that ruins your plans, an overbooking, or a break down in the middle of nowhere.

There’s nothing much you can do in these situations, obviously if it’s a cancellation or over booking you can book for the next available date but if it’s a break down you have no choice but to…

(Full post coming soon)

Touristy places:

Those famous landmarks, monuments or places you dream about and want to visit, well guess what?…You’re not the only person that wants to see or do it; in fact thousands of other people want to do exactly the same thing.

You may imagine visiting a place you’ve dreamt of, you’re going to stand there take it all in, going to take perfect pictures to show your friends and family. Here’s the traveling realism – most famous landmarks, monuments or places will be crawling with tourists. You’ll even get sold “Beat the crowd” deals but you never beat the crowd, the crowd is always…

(Full post coming soon)

Feeling lonely and coping with it:

One of the biggest worries any solo backpacker has before or adventures is “What if I get lonely?” At some point it will happen, it’s just a fact of traveling solo. However I’ve said in many of my previous posts ‘traveling solo doesn’t have to mean lonely travel’…

There are situations when you’ll be alone like being in transit or having to leave a group of people you’ve got close to in a short period of time and that might make you feel lonely. You might walk into a new hostel or environment and feel lonely but remember…

(Full post coming soon)

Becoming homesick:

Homesickness hits different people at different times. It all depends on yourself, how attached you were to your home life, how far out of your comfort zone you’ve come, if anxiety has taken over you or if you just don’t like a place. I’ve met people who became homesick after a matter of days, others it’s taken months for them to even think of home. For myself it took until my last trip to feel homesick.

traveling realism

When you’re traveling, there will be things you miss from back home, friends and family, home comforts, those times you feel homesick…

(Full post coming soon)

A country or place not being what we expected it to be:

There might come a time when you arrive in a country or city/town that you’ve been looking forward to for so long and it doesn’t A.) Live up to your expectations and or B.) Sold you a false dream or C.) Has been over hyped.

Picture this, you’ve planned and researched a country, you watched a few videos and other people have loved it there. You’re excited about going there. Then you turn up and it’s not what you thought it would be, . While other people have raved about the place you just…

(Full post coming soon)

Traveling being the worst part of traveling:

It’s funny but I say this a lot, “The worst part of traveling is the actual traveling” – And I know so many backpackers that agree with me.

Here’s the thing, we all love traveling, we love exploring, discovering new countries and cultures, to see and do the things we’ve dreamt of, there’s no doubt about that. However lugging that backpack around, getting on yet another bus/train/plane is horrible. specially on a long bumpy overnight journey. It’s tedious, arduous, sometimes physically painful. Yes the longer we travel the more we get used to them, yes we get used to 10,15 20 hour journeys but that doesn’t mean we like them…

(Full post coming soon)

Traveling long-term is hard and tiring.

Oh I can feel all the sighs and eyes rolling at this title.

Backpacking is no holiday, people laugh when I tell them how tiring or hard traveling can be. When you’re backpacking you’re constantly moving from one place to another. There’s a lot of packing and unpacking involved, constantly making new friends, learning new things and then the actual traveling from one place to another. Not to mention actually doing activities and excursions, it all takes it out of you and can be draining. If you add in having to work, budgeting, planning and re-planning it can be mentally…

(Full post coming soon)

Taking the rough with the smooth:

Backpacking will give you so many highs, arguably some of the greatest moments and times of your life but it will give you some massive thuds too. While the smooth will be amazing it’s the rough times that will test and shape you. The lows will show you exactly what you’re made of and how strong you can be.

The key is not to let the rough times ruin your trip, easier said than done I know but you should try to take them, learn and grow from them. This isn’t me preaching to you, I’ve endured many low points and the roughest…

(Full post coming soon)

Traveling changes you:

In one way or another and it doesn’t matter if you travel for 6 weeks or 6 years; traveling will change you. (Not just going from a fresh-faced backpacker to a seasoned traveler as seen below.) It might be your mindset, your way of thinking, your personality, your character, the way you see other people or it could even alter your complete perception of life.


Sounds a little far-fetched I know but as somebody who’s traveled, lived, worked and roamed the world since 2010, I’ve seen it happen to others and of course it’s happened to me. I’m not the same person I was when I packed my very first backpack for Australia in 2010, my whole way of thinking, the way I see life has all changed to what it once was. It actually feels like I’ve lived two separate lives; Before and after travel. Ok, I can tell you’re either laughing or thinking I’m talking out my ass but…

(Full post coming soon)

Becoming detached from reality/ Traveling becomes normal life.

As soon as you start backpacking, this bubble starts to grow around you and it feels like you’re in an alternative reality. The longer we travel the more we distance ourselves from reality. You might not think so but once you start backpacking you have stepped through the rabbit hole, and the longer you’re in it normal life starts to fade away. Ask any long-term backpacker if they could ever go back to their old lives and in most cases they will say no chance.

The moment you become a backpacker this bubble starts to form, the backpacker bubble, it keeps growing…All of a sudden you’ve been traveling for years and it just becomes normal, it’s what you do…

(Full post coming soon)

Travel bubble bursting:

Traveling realism'sSomething that I never thought would never happen to me. In all my years of traveling I have never felt like this, it was horrible, to feel the way I did. I didn’t want to carry on, things started to annoy me, other backpackers started to irritate me, I didn’t care for seeing or doing anything. It felt like I had my fill and just didn’t want this awesome life anymore. This was actually the first time in 6 years of traveling that I actually felt homesick, not just missing things but really homesick like I wanted to get on the next plane home.

It sounds ridiculous but I had drifted so far away from reality that I couldn’t see how good I had it. It was only after I came home and reality smacked me in the face that I realized…

(Full post coming soon)

Is there any other traveling realism you think I’ve missed out? Do you agree or disagree with the above? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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