After months on the road I wanted to write a piece of my experience what it feels like to travel with just a backpack and a passport. ‘Backpacker’ is a term well heard nowadays. When leaving home to start travelling long term you think your backpack will be too small to actually carry all the stuff you want to bring. You’ll pack everything you think you ‘might’ need at some point. After one week you’ll throw or give half of that stuff away because it overloads your backpack with unused gear.
You read it on every blog; don’t take too much, don’t carry a big backpack but still you pack yours too heavy. While being on the road you’ll soon enough start to notice that we don’t need that much stuff. You’ll become ‘a minimalist’ in a sense that you will only carry stuff you actually find useful and you actually wear or use more than just once. It’ll make you understand that wherever you are in the world you can buy whatever you need.
You’ll start to experience the freedom of living out of a backpack where the only thing that actually really matters is not losing your passport!
This doesn’t mean that you will not go shopping every now and then but it does mostly mean that when you buy something new you might replace something worn out away. At home, we just leave our old clothes in our closets and maybe we will wear it once in a few months! You’ll become so much more obsessed with saving money to be able to visit places or have a nice meal once in a while than spending money on useless goods.
To only have your backpack and passport to worry about will give you the biggest feeling of freedom you can imagine. You don’t have to think about keys, your house, your pets or anything like that. Just pack your bag and head off to the next destination where you’ll be making a new home for yourself with new people and new experiences.
The other day I spoke to a friend and she asked me if there was anything materialistic that I miss from home? After a few moments only three things came up; my guitar, my car and my kitesurfing gear. Out of all the stuff I have at home (clothes, tv, playstation,…) only these three things came out. Additionally these things are useful things where two of them are used to practice my hobbies and the car to being able to travel on easier and cheaper.Afterwards I spoke to another fellow traveller who replied that she gets it that I miss those things but that these are goods you can buy anywhere in the world.
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. – Will Rogers
Considering this it makes one think of the value we give to the goods we buy. Even though we have the money to buy a lot of goods we barely use, it is definitely not necessary to have all that stuff. In the end the things we really miss when abroad is only a small part of what you actually posses. Taking this even further, the more goods we have the more difficult we will make our life’s. For example the girly question ‘what should i wear tonight?’ would not be so complicated with only three clothing pieces to choose from instead of ten. And this is not only with clothing the case it’s the whole modern lifestyle that gives us too many choices. This might be one of the reason’s people get stressed out so much especially indecisive personalities. Compare life to Netflix where there is too much choice, it makes us nervous because we cannot decide anymore what we really want! When travelling and especially solo travelling this feeling completely fades. Everyday you will have to make decisions which have an important matter not wether you are going to watch ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Game Of Thrones’. The trick is to hold on to this thought when going back to ‘reality’.
To conclude, living out of a backpack gives you the biggest freedom you’ll ever experience, at least for me. Free to go wherever you want whenever you want with only those things in your backpack that are really necessary to you. Everything you think you might need you can buy anywhere in the world. Live like a minimalist and your focus will change to more important things in life than clothes, series or what other people think of you.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. – Charles Dudley