How do you start with the backpack?
Why backpacking will change your life!
What does freedom mean? How does it feel to have no obligations and just be able to do what you want? What if you could just leave life for a moment, nothing changed and you could easily get back in at a later point in time? Not as you, who you are now, of course, but as a completely new person, because backpacking will definitely change your life!
I've been backpacking the history of the world for almost a decade now. In the past with large 70 liter backpacks, today with small 40 liter hand luggage backpacks. And during that time I got to know a lot of great people who had nothing and still gave everything they had.
I leave my comfort zone almost every week. Sometimes it's small steps outside of this zone, sometimes really big ones, and I always learn an incredible amount in the process. I get to know places I've never heard of and learn things about people and nature that no bio course has ever taught me!
So backpacking has definitely changed my life and over the years I have managed to build a life around backpacking. I even wrote a bestseller about backpacking that sold out on Amazon in the first few days.
Today, on my 27th birthday, I would like to explain to you why I think backpacking will also change your life and why you should definitely pack your backpack and give it a try.
1. Backpacking is the best university in life
Going to school is very important. And the university? A matter of opinion!
I think it always depends on the person. The university years are valuable for some, not for others. They didn't do me much good. Rather, I should have immediately invested all of my money and time in traveling. Because, in my opinion, traveling is the best university in life!
I learned a lot of what I know today while traveling. By talking to interesting people, by gaining great experiences, or by having the freedom to try new and unusual things. An opportunity that we don't have that often after we finish school.
And that's the only way we really learn. This is the only way we can understand what life is really about. What is important and what is not. Because the reality, the truth, is out there. She is just waiting to be discovered by you. Behind every new encounter, behind every unusual experience. Because the truth is not hidden in books!
2. Backpacking broadens your horizons!
You sure have some prejudice, don't you? Not?
I'll give you a few examples and maybe you'll find yourself thinking about one thing or the other:
- The mafia rules everywhere in Italy
- Everyone in Turkey eats kebab
- Mallorca is a pure drinking and pop island
- Traveling to South Africa is far too dangerous
- In Bangkok you get ripped off by tuk-tuk drivers
And do you believe, or did you also believe one or the other? If not, congratulations. Either you've traveled a lot and seen a lot, or I've picked out stupid and very superficial examples.
No matter how, backpacking helps you broaden your horizons and see things differently. You will notice that you have to look for the mafia for a long time and run your feet flat until you finally find a kebab in Istanbul. Because he comes from Berlin-Kreuzberg and is more of a German and not a Turkish phenomenon!
You will also notice that not every Thai wants to kid you and is only after your money. You shouldn't necessarily wander through dark alleys alone in South Africa at night, but otherwise you will meet more warm and open people here than criminals.
And of course Mallorca has a lot more to offer than just the Ballermann! Here you will find secluded bays, for example you can go on really cool tours on a mountain bike or sail around the island on a catamaran. I'm a Mallorcan myself and I know what I'm talking about!
3. You learn to look at things with different eyes
But most of all you will find that your point of view is not the only real thing. As the saying goes: different countries, different customs. Or also: different cultures, different perspectives!
Do you think there is nothing more important than being honest and punctual and always giving your mind free speech? You should be able to rely on plans, because otherwise everything will go awry?
Maybe that's not necessarily true. Perhaps there are countries where punctuality and adherence to plans are not so important, but the happiness of living the joy of living in the moment and being carefree. Where treating the other person with respect is much more important than expressing your own opinion and insisting on it.
Suddenly you will notice that it doesn't matter whether the cashier needs 2 minutes or 5 minutes for the goods - because what is it worth to be stressed and upset about 3 minutes? Yes, it can be annoying if the bus does not leave at half-past as planned, but just 45 minutes later. But you will find that you are the only annoyed person while others use the time and have a good chat.
All of a sudden you will learn to look at things with different eyes, to accept different perspectives and the way to deal with situations, and possibly also to adopt them. Because the way you've learned it doesn't always have to be the best way, your point of view is not always correct.
Values can be very different, and that's perfectly fine. You shouldn't judge other people for not caring as much about something as you are. And that's exactly what you will learn when backpacking: there are an infinite number of points of view, all of which are justified and each have equal rights!
4. You stop judging and become happier
And the most important thing is: you will judge other people less and less. You become more open and you get exactly this openness back.
You will learn to accept things as they are. You no longer want to change things convulsively, or want to improve out of your own eyes.
Suddenly you are annoyed much less often. You are much more relaxed. You are much happier!
5. You get to know friends for a day and often for life!
Many come and go on their travels, but some stay forever.
You often meet her in a hostel, in a bar, or on the bus / train on the way to your next place. The conversation usually starts right away. You go through the backpackers' questionnaire and when you have completed the standard questions and know where your new friend has been, where he still wants to go and what was the coolest thing on his trip, the actually interesting topics begin. And suddenly you realize, hey, he or she is really cool!
A few more beers and other topics and you've already booked a bus trip or even a flight with your new friend and you'll be on your way together a few days later.
It's been something similar to me a couple of times. In Bangkok I met Ash a few years ago in the famous Cheap Charlies Bar. After a few beers and funny conversations, I booked a flight to Chiang Mai to see the city with him. And as soon as we arrived in Chiang Mai, we booked a flight to Myanmar together to explore the country at a fast pace.
A short time later he visited me in Berlin and only wanted to stay a week. After two months on my couch, I urged him to look for a room of his own in Berlin and in April of this year Line and I visited him in Sydney.
And all of that just with a beer in a bar in Bangkok! Pretty cool right? 🙂
6. While backpacking you collect stories and not senseless things!
When you are on the go, you experience so much, experience yourself, get to know people, you are incredibly frustrated one second, and infinitely happy the next. And after a while you have a lot of stories to tell. Stories of wonderful experiences and encounters.
Backpacking makes you a storyteller. You start collecting stories, collecting memories, and no things, no objects. And no one can take these stories away from you, you cannot lose them. On the other hand, things do, which make them almost worthless. And ultimately, things are only valuable to us if we can tell a story about them.
So you see, stories are really valuable. Then nothing.
In Australia, for example, I met the nicest people in the world. Back then, on my birthday, exactly 5 years ago today, a friend and I got stuck in the floods of 2010 in Kalbarri, a small town about 1,000 kilometers north of Perth, when an old college friend called me to congratulate me on my birthday and because he saw that I had checked into Perth on Facebook two days earlier.
Since he was doing work and travel on a farm in Bunbury, he invited us to his place. And because the roads to the north were flooded anyway and we didn't know when we could continue to Broome, we rebooked our flights from Broome to Sydney to Perth to Sydney, and made our way south.
The farmer was incredibly nice and welcomed us straight away. We laughed and talked a lot by the campfire the first night and the crate of beer that we brought as a thank you was drunk straight away.
We stayed a few days and promised to stop in Bunbury again on the way back to Perth, and we were back on December 23rd. The farmer persuaded us to stay over Christmas, which we did.
Christmas in Australia is exactly how you imagine it: you start drinking early, there is a barbecue all day and you laugh a lot. In the evening I sat on the veranda with Pedro, a cousin of the farmer, who told me that the next day was great weather to go swimming with the dolphins in the sea - a dream of mine!
But unfortunately we couldn't because our rebooked flight was supposed to go from Perth to Sydney the next morning. Pedro got up and came back about 10 minutes later with $ 300 in hand, almost forcing me to rebook the flight.
All adults had thrown $ 10 each so that we could rebook our flights and experience this event - how awesome is that?
With a big hangover and a big grin on my face, I jumped into the sea the next day and swam with wild dolphins!
I travel for stories like this!
7. Your life in the backpack: there is no more freedom!
Did you know that the average person owns over 10,000 items and is almost hoarding things?
If all of your belongings are only in a backpack on your back, it is very liberating. You can do what you want, you don't have a thousand things waiting for you somewhere. Which have to be dedusted, stowed or cared for. That take your place away and, in a sense, restrict you.
Yes, things are limiting. And you only notice that when you free yourself from them. Line and I sold, given away or donated our belongings a few months ago, and besides our two backpacks (we travel with hand luggage) we only have three boxes in the storage box in Berlin.
We can spontaneously decide where we should go tomorrow and where we want to live in two weeks. We don't have to worry about any thing, any thing, just what really concerns us. There is no more freedom and, above all, independence!
And best of all: our home is where we are. At the moment it is Cape Town in South Africa and it is extremely beautiful here!
8. You leave your comfort zone regularly and grow a little more every time!
Backpacking is a pure adventure and every time you leave your comfort zone, you grow a little more.
These can be little things, like riding a gondola with a glass floor, or climbing an ancient tower even though you are afraid of heights.
This is part of everyday life when backpacking. There are regular moments in which you don't feel comfortable, but which you still have to go through. These are the moments that make you stronger as a person and that you can tell about years later!
9. You only have this one chance
This point is actually my favorite and one that I also included in my book. You only have this one chance. You only have this one life. So please make something of it! In 30 or 40 years from now you should by no means look back grumpy at your life and think to yourself “I should have!” No, you should think: “Great! My life has been great and I've seen so much! ”.
We only have this one chance and it doesn't look like we will survive this in any way. In the end we will all have to say goodbye to this beautiful planet, to our families and friends, and then at least with the knowledge that we had a great time, right?
Therefore: You alone are responsible for ensuring that you are happy. So please make something of it. Buckle up your backpack, book a cheap flight and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
10. Backpacking means finding yourself!
All the experiences, all the stories that you collect, the freedom you experience, the new perspectives that you take in, as that makes you a new you. To be precise: it makes you who you are.
On the way you can just do something and see what happens. If you like one place, you can just stay longer, and if not, no one will mind if you move on the next morning.
At home we are often tied to things: we have to decide which job we want to do for the next XY years, which city we want to live in, when we want to have how many children, and, and, and.
We can hardly do what we actually want because we don't have the time to even find out what we actually want.
When backpacking, on the other hand, you have all the time in the world to find out what you want. To find out who you are and what you actually want to achieve in life. You can finally listen to yourself, to this voice within you, which is so often suppressed by society, by the ideas and wishes of others.
You will finally find yourself!
And when you come back at some point, nothing has changed at home. Maybe the street lights have new, brighter lamps. Maybe there is a new supermarket and one less old one. In the end, that's all irrelevant.
Because what is ultimately important is who you really are and what you want to achieve in this one life. Because don't forget, you only have this one life.
So I ask you: who are you really? What do you want to achieve? Who do you really wanna be
Come on, find out ...!
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