Every experience in life begins from self and ends in self. Count it from fighting your way as a tiny egg to making it out through a world of thwarts and thoughts. Life is a journey and every journey filled with life is a world in itself. Right from being a pampered little kid on a trip to managing my move out of homeland, trips have taught me a plethora of things. Backpacking is one of its kinds in real. I am going to share the top 5 that backpacking trips could teach us. And many more than 5 that we could learn from them.
- Keep your bag light.
I have seen a lot of people travel very heavy. Take only the essentials and not anything that might be an option. This is easier said than done. In my first trip, I had a bag full of change clothes (and all the what-ifs that lead to this). I am paranoid about wearing the same clothes for more than 6-8hrs. So I always over-packed clothes even if it were a two-day trip. This went on until in one fine hiking trip, I realized what a burden they caused to my back as I went uphill. To get over my paranoia, I started working around with wet napkins, wet towels and frequent freshening up despite the warm/cold water in a new place. Dress to the occasion, season and the place. Don’t stick to fashion while traveling since you are out there to find and try out newer additions to your wardrobe.
- Keep your purse(s) lighter.
This is one underrated point. Women generally tend to carry a heavy purse or wallet and if you ever had a chance to peek into your mom’s purse, you would know that you could potentially find a baby rabbit in there – alive and healthy! On a serious note, I started to avoid loose change, metal accessories and jewels, heavy key bunches and anything potentially metallic including the make of the purse. Using a cloth purse with minimal necessary cards (CC, insurance card, and maybe a debit card with an ID card) should suffice. As you get closer to the town that you are about to explore, get cash denominations from local stores or ATM if you find any.
If you are a small or a big group, try to carry one camera for the group and enough memory cards to click as many shots as you please. This significantly reduces the load on all of your bags. Take turns and assign roles to be watchful of things. This way, when one person is tired, there is another who can keep a watch on speed/milestones/interesting spots to stop/food stops, etc. If you are traveling alone, carry a lighter camera and socialize with people in groups who have better resolution cameras. It is not a bad idea to share good pictures of the places taken by them during the trip, and you can keep your camera for your personal pictures. Life is all about sharing so why spare travel?
- Plan ahead.
Be completely aware of the place you are backpacking to. Educate yourself on the weather risks, expected temperature and delays. I have had bummer trips like the ones when I traveled to a national park during full snow and had a difficult time on the road. After all of the arduous journey, the park was closed down due to weather. I had pushed my research to be done during the drive and was at a disadvantage when my phone signal was out then. It was a letdown in terms of my first ever 12-hr drive that I had dreamed of, months in advance. Always carry a set of active wear even if you don’t plan to jump into water or get into water activities. Another huge takeaway is to use a dedicated GPS so that you are not bogged down by your poor phone signal for navigation.
Here we come to the most important part of the trip. Forgot your GPS? It’s okay. Find a local guide and get a paper map the classic way. Camera broke? Never mind. Nature has given us the best pair of lenses to see the world. Let go of the damage and count your blessings. Did the weather throw some suspense? Divert a bit and visit a nearby treasure. This home planet is vast as our minds. No matter what goes wrong, work around, put up with it and paint the trip with memories. Remember that your smile is the paintbrush and your life is the canvas here! Enjoy. Relax. To your full. Eat, breathe and sleep the place. Dream! Find new answers. Find newer questions to solve. Get out of your frames and expand your horizon. Break free of your comfort zone. Try newer things that you never dared to, or thought you would. There is not a single spot on this planet that can or cannot be fully explored, for this world is full of beauty and mystery just as life is full of surprises.
So what are you still thinking about? Your crunched paycheck? Oh come on, plan a budget trip, at least plan! And go!