A budget travellers life

Fact: It only takes two words to make a backpacker’s eyes sparkle: “free lunch.”

Fact: It only takes three words to make that backpacker a friend for life:\”are you hungry\”?

Living out of a backpack really does make one realize how little is really necessary. With the obvious exception of my book collection, I’ve actually missed very few of my things since I’ve been a backpacker. It’s a bit of a worry to think that all I need to survive day to day can be stored in one decent-sized backpack. I was especially shocked to realize that I hadn’t had KFC for over a fortnight and was no worse for the wear. And with only two pairs of shoes and limited clothing options, it’s a good feeling to not have to worry about what to wear each day. It quite simplifies the process of getting ready in the morning.

The backpacker’s challenge is this: You have to carry your life. Too many bags, and you won’t get too far. Too heavy a bag, and you won\’t make it. Therefore, you give yourself a pre determined amount of space and weight, and you adhere to it. It’s like physics – if you buy something, something else of equal or greater size and weight must be farewelled. It certainly makes you think twice about unplanned purchases. Personally, I wish most things in life worked like this – I think I’ll make an experiment of it next time I\’m at home. One thing bought, one thing tossed. It would certainly remove the clutter, don\’t you agree?

Some dangers of the travellers life:

My brand trainers now look like I’ve worn them continuously for four years. Australia’s Uluru with all the clingy red dust is mainly to blame.

I managed to get so sunburnt scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef , that I had to cancel my white water rafting trip

I’ve avoided bed bugs, thank christ, but just barely. My travelling buddy was not so lucky. I felt itchy the entire day just watching her.

24/7 company is good but can be dreary at times. I imagine long term travellers must lust about just one night in a empty dorm.|Towels never get fully dry. Damp towels = disgusting. Smelly towels + dirty joggers = musty smelling clothes. I have learned quickly that backpacking is not a way to impress people with your personal hygeine. The true (female) backpacker wears no makeup, hair tied haphazardly into a ponytail-ish bun, wrinkled clothes…and a huge grin on her face because she’s more thrilled about the free food at her hostel than the shopping center down the street. (She couldn’t fit new stuff into her backpack, anyway.)

And on to the primary joys of the backpacker life:

Flexibility! Halfway through my travels from Adelaide to Perth, I decided I wanted to experience in Melbourne with a guy I met. So I did. Simple as that. I love it!

I’ve met new friends from everywhere! I’ve had meaningful conversations with new friends from Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, China, Japan, Canada, and the USA. (And those are just the ones I can remember at this late hour.)

While in Cairns, I made new friends every night, even conning a few of them to join me hanggliding.

While snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, I made friends with a Frenchman who invited me to visit him in Paris. I think I’ll pass on that one, but it was fun to be asked to meet someone there, all the same. I’ll always be able to say that now.

I’ve met friends in one part of the country, only to meet them again a few weeks later! Case in point, I met Helen first in my Farmhand class in Tamworth, again two months later in Melbourne, and again several weeks later in perth!|I helped a Chinease girl work on her English in Tamworth , and in return she made me an origami crane out of beautiful Japanese paper, which I still had when we met again in a bar in Melbourne

All in all, I\’d say that I rather enjoyed my experience of at backpacking down Under!

This blog entry is dedicated to my lovely sister-in-law, Nadine, for giving me the inspiration for my trip.

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