Advice to my Younger Backpacker Self

I was a little scared before my first solo backpacking adventure. Would I meet people? Will I be able to find my way from one place to another? Will I get to do everything I planned? I asked myself a lot of questions but there is only one answer. Who knows? That’s the excitement of it all, there may be fear and hope but it’s overridden by the excitement.

Backpacking Advice

My young self, travelling through Thailand in 2009.

If I could go back and give advice to my younger backpacker self it would be this:

Don’t worry about it. Don’t be worried about what could happen, if you’re going to get lost, if you’ll be alone the whole time, everything always works out in the end.

Make a few plans but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to them. It’s the impulsive, spare of the moment decisions that always turn out to be the best!

Slow down, don’t try and rush from one place to the next, whistle-stopping your way around a city because you need to cram in everything. Make the most of one place and enjoy it as much as you can.

Put that massive 90 litre backpack down. You’re completely capable of travelling light. Take only the essentials and carry about a much smaller bag, you can always get clothes washed in a launderette!

Don’t be shy, open up to people and make an effort to start a conversation. You’ll meet more people and learn more about yourself. Your confidence will grow immensely.

You’re not the only one travelling on your own so you don’t need to feel like that lone wolf hitching his backpack around and keeping yourself to yourself. There are more like you. Be the friendly drifter and not the lone wolf.

Be smart with your money, have a credit card for backup, keep funds in your pocket and funds in your backpack (hidden of course). Make the most of opportunities but don’t be frivolous.

Take beautiful photos, don’t snap away trigger happy – stop and take your time on a nice shot.

And overall, just go with the fucking flow. Don’t get stressed about missing a bus or when plans don’t work out. Plans always change, just make a new plan.  You’ll be surprised what will happen. Let life lead.