A massive hello to you soon-to-be-backpacker. My name is Stephanie, I'm the travel blogger of My Seven Worlds and a life coach on the side. My story began with a boat hitchhiking and crossing the Atlantic, after about 6 months on the road I met Ines in Colombia who was also on a soul searching 1-year journey just like me. 2 years later she traveled to visit me and create this course so we can offer 2 very different perspectives on a very similar story. The reason why this course came to life was that Ines and I had done year-long backpacking in Latin America in 2016 and we both felt that the information we found online about backpacking just wasn't touching all the topics. Whatever you read online is always only one perspective and only one experience. I wanted to create something that covers more angles and also talks about the difficult topics that are considered taboo or censored in everyday life. Just because we don't talk about them, they are happening and I would argue they are even more important. If it's difficult to talk about it, it is worth talking about it, because I'm sure there is a lack of information and understanding around it. And if you are going to go out on the biggest adventure of your life, you should be prepared, but at least aware. So we are covering practical, emotional, mental topics because backpacking is mostly about the last two. The least of your concern will be about the practical, so we thought we'll prepare you for what backpacking is really about. We both visited the most beautiful nature, the most exciting culture and met the most interesting people, but what none of us expected was just how much we grew as individuals. As I said we traveled to Latin America. Ines planned and booked most things in advance, I hitchhiked and had no plans what so ever, so you will hear 2 completely different stories within the same experience. Hoping this way we'll give you a better understanding of what you are about to embark. Enjoy the journey!
Everyone has a motive to travel and they usually sign up to way more than they initially intended. Some leave because of personal trauma like a breakup, divorce, death, being fired...some leave because they don't like what they have at home. Everyone has a story and you'll find this out when you start talking to travelers. It is a wonderful, supportive, active and self-aware community. Whatever your reasons are, you will get way more out of your trip than you thought. Backpacking is no tourism. You are not there for the pretty photos and new profile images, but for a more profound journey. Your inner journey. Backpacking usually lasts way longer as well then a family vacation. You interact with philosophies, races, feelings, gastronomy, and way of thinking that you might never have heard of, but definitely never experienced this deeply. They are all there to teach you. One advice as a backpacker and life coach I could give you before such a trip is to leave your prejudice, expectations, and judgments at home. Allow the new to affect you. Without personal experience, it is almost impossible to have a credible opinion anyway, so immerse yourself in anything and everything that used to be taboo, uncomfortable and unknown. Silent your ego that says you know it better, then make up your mind. Backpacking will challenge you in every way possible and might even change everything you believe in and what you thought life was about, so this is why I say, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride.
The number one lesson here for most backpackers, especially ladies, you will not wear half of the things you pack. I did meet a few girls who backpacked with a 10kg bag for months, so it probably wasn't their first rodeo, but on mine, I had a 25kg backpack and maaaan it was heavy. In this video, we will be explaining a lot of practical lessons we learned through experience about what to bring, what not to bring, bank cards, money, safety and more.
There are advantages and disadvantages to traveling alone and with a buddy, but this spectrum is not so black and white. There are options in between, which we'll talk about in the video. First of all, you will need to redefine the word "alone" because it is not as easy as you'd think to actually be alone while backpacking, but to be lonely is easier if you leave yourself unchecked. Try as many variations as you can to have the full experience, because they each teach different lessons.
Now, this is the fun part and I added some videos from the trip to show you what backpacking was like in Latin America. For all the travel videos visit my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCclbK04W4id0AAkEhuJ3OAg?view_as=subscriber
There will be a ton of memories you'll never forget after your adventure, but the friends you'll make and the people you met will always stand out. Getting a glimpse into how people think on other sides of the planet, the beliefs they possess, the routines they have and very educational. You will see that your truth is not the only truth. Everyone has their own based on culture, experience, education and personality. About making friends, that could be very tricky, but not the way you might think. We both met people (and each other) who we had such a strong connection with, it just didn't compare to our friends at home. But we should never compare. One is not better than the other, they are just very different. Firstly, while traveling you are probably experiencing the freedom that is so wide open, you are intoxicated by it. Imagine only meeting people who are as high on life as you are. Of course, you'll have the time fo your life with them, talking about deep stuff, sharing experiences that will change who you are and then you go home to friends who do 9 to 5 saving for bricks than they'll pay for the rest for their lives. In their lives getting a discount of a new sofa or going on a week vacation is the most excitement. We both found our old friends boring after backpacking, but we both realized, these people are just as valuable as before, but our expectation towards conversations had changed. So we both had to find our way back to these friends because we seemed as alien to them as they did to us. Once you saw the world, your world changes so much, you will need to be the one who finds a great way to merge the 2 you into one. The one you used to be, and the one you are now. This will not be easy because you will think you'll know life better. Try not to feel superior to any of your old friends. Their values are based on the microenvironment they are in. You expanded yours, but theirs are right for their environment. About your new friends, you might not see some ever again, or few a long time, but the quality of the friendship should not depend on physical presence. As love has no boundaries, this applies to nomad friendships as well. You'll have very different conversations with nomadic friends than with the ones at home, but try not to have these high expectations of all these people need to meet your recently updated and constantly changing needs. Lessons here will be compassion, love, adaptation, and healthy expectation.
One of the most shocking experience for backpackers is the lack of privacy. Most of you probably were told by society that sex, drugs and the heavy party are not accepted. You just shouldn't do it. It's a disgrace. Well...backpacking is about letting loose once in a while and letting all those suppressed desires and tension go. This doesn't mean you will see people doing what you were told not to ever do - all the time, but unless you get private rooms, you might encounter the "dark side". People let go of their boundaries and experience a whole new level of freedom while on the road. This includes sex, drugs and rock n' roll, but you can't let this scare you or ruin your backpacking experience. If you are going to share the room with others there will be instances where your comfort zone is pushed out the window. Now there are many lessons to learn from this. Lesson 1 - You become a lot more accepting towards people Lesson 2 - You become less judgmental Lesson 3 - You expand your comfort zone Lesson 4 - You see how these topics are handled in different cultures Lesson 5 - You will see why is it important to be yourself, so you don't end up only expressing yourself while traveling, you might break out of your own prison and the prison of external expectations So our advice is to be yourself and enjoy learning about the true you. Also, we talked about hygiene, so more on that: - Wet wipes - Antiseptic gel - Toilet paper - A whole body scrub with sand, by the beach (better than any shower gel because it removes dead skin) - Organic coconut oil for hydrating your skin and hair (it also has UV protection properties) - Girls, use a menstrual cup when having your period because you have 12 hours between 2 changes, plus it is environmentally way better
We don't want to scare the bejesus out of you, but it is important to touch base on no so happy topics like what if you get sick, robbed and prevention. Being ill - that will happen eventually when you are traveling a different climate with different organisms. Being ill is not necessarily from something you ate or drank, but simply your digestive system has to face new challenges. No need to bring an entire pharmacy with you because the local pharmacist is more likely to have what you need for a tropical illness, but do check the shots you need before you travel. In many countries, you don't actually need insurance to see a doctor, you just pay a visit fee and that is it, but of course, best to be covered. Being robbed - just don't be stupid. Don't ignore the advice locals and travel mates are telling you. Even if following all the rules you might get into trouble, but in the video, we'll explain prevention techniques. THE MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL to be targeted less is self-confidence. Psychology says the stronger you come across the less likely it is to be targeted because you won't seem like a victim type. Look into people's eyes, because when you do, you are no longer a defenseless stranger. You have no idea how powerful this technique is until you try. Accidents - this is what insurance is for. Check with your credit or debit card provider if you have travel insurance attached to your card because many banks, in fact, do offer around 2 months of coverage. If you travel for longer than that, check out backpacker insurances if you plan on traveling multiple countries. If you do get into an accident people from home will tell you that it's your fault and you shouldn't have left the safety of your country. Ignore the noise because fear talks from people who blame the adventure. Things can happen at home as well, but don't let fear get in the way of your decisions. It is important to handle communication with people at home because their advice and outbursts come from fear, but this particular fear comes from love. From a good place. They worry because they love you. Let them down gently and leave emotions out of that conversation because it can get heated. You might feel "no one understand me, they have no idea what they are talking about." And you will be right, but this is an excellent place to improve communication between 2 parties who have a widely different experience. When you backpack you take on the risks, but they pay very high dividends.
Don't worry, the title sounds way more dramatic than the actual topics of the video :) We are just expanding more on the practical side the long-term traveling.
I always tell people that the most exciting part of traveling is the part you can't take pictures of. The inner journey. The person that leaves home is not going to be the same that returns. How could it? If you only left your environment for brief periods of time, you never really checked out. But when you are away for a long time, experiencing the world, these are stimuli that you wouldn't get at home. And since everything has an effect on us, the world will too. Your core values are most probably not going to change drastically, but you will become a way more improved and open version of you. Your mind will expand and see beyond your microenvironment. Your whole approach to life will become different. As long as you pay attention to the lessons life is going to change you, you will benefit from this more than anything else. I always say as an employer if I see long-term traveling on a resume I would think that's a huge advantage. Because a backpacker learned to love life and would not take a job that she wouldn't enjoy. So when someone finds me wanting to work for me, I know they are for real. There is no better education for life than what the videos are about. Don't misunderstand us, we know backpacking is not going to be ponies and rainbow are the time. One of the toughest times we went through happened on the road, but we wouldn't have wanted it otherwise. Because of these challenges we grew so much, running our own businesses, living the lifestyle we only just dreamed of. Of course, not all backpacker will end up following their dreams, but it is a hell of a good start. It is up to you how much you want out of your adventure.
This could be the most difficult part of your trip. This is what I wished someone would have warned me about. When you are out experiencing the world, learning about yourself, having the best laughs, having to say goodbye to people you connect with every day, seeing the most gorgeous nature and buildings on the planet, engaging with cultures that seemed so different at first, tasting fantastic flavors from all around...then bumm, you get home. After the first week or two when the joy of seeing old friends wears off, reality hits you: there is hardly any stimulation. People are more boring than remembered, old places you loved are not as exciting anymore and your friends just don't get you anymore. Well, this is, of course, worst case scenario, everyone feels the post-travel depression differently, but we all do to some level. You will need to make a hell of an effort to keep it together unless you do some mental prep. So here is my advice: Be patient with the people around you. You changed, they didn't. And you used to be one of them. Their reality is still the same, you are just seeing a much biggest picture, but you can't expect them to see it too without having the experience you had during your backpacking. Their truth is just as true as yours. There's no right or wrong. They are always right in their reality, and you are too in yours. Be patient and try not to know everything better than them. Take the time to share, to explain and never try to convince. Secondly, your brain will get used to constant new stimulation during traveling and you can't expect home to give you the same stimulation. Keep in touch with travel buddies and share how you are feeling because they will be the only people who will understand and could be credible support. This'll be your time to self reflect and reorganize your priorities, set of values, set new goals, apply the knowledge you gained from the world and come up with an action plan. Most backpackers are charged with energy that they never felt before, so if you feel the same, use this source right away to get on a constructive chain of thought about your next moves other than allowing it to wear off and begin the post-travel depression. I don't want to scare you, but I do want to inform you in case this happens to you too. If you are one of those who just get back in the game at home or never return, you'll have a different experience, but it won't hurt to know this is a thing and you might be able to help others.