Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life as a Backpacker - A Relfection Piece

Okay so it´s time to get personal with a reflection piece. I meant to do this a while ago but never found the time, but with free internet at this hostel and a wide awake mind I couldn´t help but finally write it. I hope to do another after 2 or so months and then one at the end. As time consuming as this blog can be I do enjoy writing it and find myself thinking about what I will write throughout the day, so I hope you all enjoy reading it!

Let´s Get Personal!

Jay and I have been backpacking for the past 2 months, and as much as I read blogs and googled things to prepare myself for a life living out of my 60 liter backpack for the next 6 months I sometimes wish I didn´t. Looking back on it,  I wished I would have just brought some of the things I wanted to bring and say screw you to all of those blogs I read about how I should bring this and that. There truly is no real way to prepare yourself for a life like this.

Through my last 2 months I have discovered that the only way to know what you need for life out of a backpack is to live it. No matter how many people you talk to or how many blogs you read, none of them will prepare you for your experience because everyone´s experience is different. For example, we were told over and over again by people and blogs about how you will have to wash your own clothes and to bring a limited number of underwear and just wash them and wear them. Well they were all wrong! Did you know that you can send your clohtes off to be laundered, pressed, and delivered to you for as little as $1 and as much as $4 even in Europe? Yeah, thats an expense Jay and I have been very willing to pay for. And only limited underwear?? Psh! I am glad I ignored that one and brought as many as I wanted to because we don´t get laundry done that often and serisouly, of all things to take up space underwear is not a concern. I absolutely do wear the same shirts, shorts, and pants over and over again, as I could only bring so much, but honestly they really do not smell as much as one would think they would and if they do I just air them out and rub dryer sheets on them that I brought to take out the stench. Problem solved!

I am very very thankful for the one blog that I stumbled upon which told me about a cocoon. This is a sheet that fits on your bed and have a space to slip a pillow into and has proven itself handy in several locations where we didn´t want to use the sheets provided. The other thing I am very thankful that I brought are sarongs. These things are seriously universally amazing! They have been a bathing suite cover up, a blanket on the bus, a sheet on the beach, a sheet to sleep on, a pillow, and a jacket to keep me warm when walking around town. These things are a must have for any traveller. This I promise you I am not wrong about.

While traveling you come across many different types of travellers. Those who are just taking weekend trips, a month trip, a couple months, and those who lives are out of a backpack. As a female I would sometimes feel intimidated by other females that were wearing nicer things than me and even smelling better because they brought along perfume. I have learned to be comfortable with who I am, which is a person who is backpacking for 6 months. Well I take that back, I am still learning to be comfortable. I have limited clothes and space and I will not always fit in or look glamerous. I will sweat, smell, and have messy hair and you know what, that is just who I am and I am okay with that.

Things become less complicated when you are a backpacker. Which for me, was hard to grasp and took me a while to realize that I can do whatever I want and I have nothing to do. My entire life I have lived with deadlines and planning and getting from point A to B, and for once in my life none of that exists. It may seem odd, but it literally took me the moment of when Jay and I discussed going to Europe last week that I realized that I do have this freedom. Even though I always had it I always felt like I had to plan something or pressure to do this or do that or that I should be doing this or should be doing that. I feel as if I should be living this crazy adventerous life, when in reality this trip has not been so much crazy has it has been relaxing spending days sleeping or just people watching and reading a book. While in Vietnam, after going for a morning run and having breakfast, I seroiously went back to bed from 11am -2pm then went to bed again that night around 9pm. I was tired, so why not sleep? At first I felt guilty like I should be doing something, but why? This is my trip, my adventure, my time, so why live it to expectations of what I ought to be doing?

Travelling with someone can be enjoyable and difficult. I say this regardless of how well you know or don´t know someone. You are with someone 24/7. You go to bed around the same time in the same room and sometimes in the same bed, you wake up at the same time, you eat all 3 meals together, you adventure together, you are always together, and someone in that togetherness you start getting annoyed. Jay and I have no doubt annoyed each other and although it took us a while to realize the simple fact that we need to communicate this with each other, we are doing fine and are learning to work through things. There are times when we have gone off and done our own thing, which has been nice, but then there are times I am glad we had each other. We have had some crazy times together that I know would not have happened if not traveling together. It is a challenge still as we are continuously learning who the other person is and accepting those things of that person. We have seen each other at good times and bad, through gross sweaty moments, and fun clean times. Regadless of it all, we are still travelling together and intend to do so through the end.

As much as I love being an American and love my country, I do not miss it. I miss the amazing people there, but I do not miss it. I love being abroad, and although it can get a little tiring traveling from place to place, I love it. If you didn´t realize yet by how many times I said it, I LOVE this lifestyle and highly encourage everyone to travel, whether its via backpack or a week adventure. If I had the opportunity I would never return (which I have thought about if I do not get into grad school). I do realize that I must go back, and will, but this does not mean that my travels have ended, I will return and continue travelling whether it be with friends or alone.


  1. Hey Marissa!
    Hey there little sis, hows it going? Sorry I haven't been on here to comment much on your travels across the far east, but glancing through it, it sounds as if your having a nice journey. I've been staying pretty busy here with work and getting ready to the board exam which I will be eligible for in the next few days. Anyways, I just wanted to hop on here real quick to say hello and I'll be reading up on your travels here my next few days off and check back in with you. You and Jay stay safe. Kyle

  2. You have changed my life. I'm 17, im finishing school this year, and i'm backpacking in 2013, after a first year of uni. I dont even want to go to university. Cheers