Friends & Woes: The Best and Worst Things About Backpacking

Friends & Woes: The Best and Worst Things About Backpacking

Very early into my travels, about a week I’d say, I had already cracked and lost a toenail dancing on the beach in flip flops (there really is no escaping this – who wants sand in their trainers all night long). I had also dislocated my knee shortly after saying goodbye to said toenail. But whilst both injuries seem awful, they both happened during having a lot of fun! It’s safe to say being injured whilst you’re away from home isn’t ideal and it seemed the travel Gods just weren’t on my side, but that’s the beauty of travelling and well, life in general. Travelling a 24 hour high, it simply isn’t all fun & games (but it is a lot of fun) so I’ve put together some of my best & worst experiences about backpacking so far.

The Best

  1.  The Friends: As cliche as it will sound, but the best thing about travelling is the people you meet. After injuring myself, people who were in fact complete strangers, helped me hobble around, brought me food when I couldn’t walk, helped me with my baackpack & even gave me a piggy back or two when it was completely essential. You wouldn’t get that kind of care from someone back at home who you had just met, ey?
  2. The Freedom: I had no plan of where I wanted to travel when I landed in Thailand. Within 48 hours, I had booked a ticket to Koh Tao to be a beach bum with a girl who I had literally just met.
  3. Hostels: These are an experience in itself and are, most of the time, where you get to meet everyone you end up travelling with. Some of the hostels I’ve stayed in have been pretty cool. hammocks, pools, parties… So much fun!
  4. The Places: I’ve had the absolute pleasure of being able to visit the most amazing places and more often than not, the people who you travel with usually make the place that touch more special.
  5. No Responsibilities: Back home I was constantly busy. Not a day in my diary was left blank and I was forever on tour with work, trying to squeeze in social plans in between work and blogger events. The lack of responsibility and detachment from my hectic lifestyle has been like a dream!
  6. The Sunsets: Dusk is my favourite time of day & being able to plan meal times and activities around this seemed to become the norm and I love it! Sitting on the beach and basking in the golden hour watching the sun go down is something I don’t think I’ll ever tire of.
  7. Improving yourself: Everyone knows that back home I am terrible (and I mean really terrible), with bearing and any sense of direction. Even driving around my home city I was clueless without a sat nav! But since coming away I’ve completely surprised myself with how well I’ve been getting around. Maybe this skill was always deep within me & it just took me to travel thousands of miles before it surfaced?
  8. No makeup: Make up will generally slide off your face during the day in Asia. Getting that all important Vit D has been amazing for my skin. Give me that glowwww!

The Worst

  1. Being tired AF: suddenly that 4 hour drive from Manchester to London seems like a walk in the park after spending countless times on a bumpy 15 hour night bus that smells like feet and unwashed men. It’s not a smell you get used to either, or one I want to get used to in fact.
  2. Being clean: Its funny how your definition of ‘clean’ seems to change when you travel. Wearing the same item of clothing 3 days in a row whilst you find somewhere convenient enough to do laundry is pretty standard, even if it does smell pretty musky. Yes, this really is true.
  3. Getting your period and general peeing: This one is actually soooo annoying! Guys have it easy being able to stand and pee; I’m especially jealous of this when it comes to night buses and stopping at those awful ‘service stops’ where you pay 50p to relieve yourself to only have to hover and squat over a disgusting hole in the ground, trying not to get pee down your leg. Throw in periods and sometimes you think it’s better to just not travel during your cycle.
  4. A minimal wardrobe: As someone with 2 very stuffed wardrobes at home, living with 0.08% of what I do back home is pretty tough. I miss my faux fur coats (not that I need them here, but we all know my love affair with them is undying) and jeans! I miss my Monki jeans! I have to restrain myself daily from making new apparel purchases. I am about to burst.
  5. Home comforts: I felt this particularly when I hurt me knee a few weeks ago. I cried in my hostel room thinking what f**k am I doing on the other side of the world like this? All I wanted was my to be in my bed, stroking (or annoying) my cat & to hear my mum watching TV in the background.
  6. Lack of personal space: I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being stuck travelling with people who I actually really did not enjoy the company of. It went from being on the same island, to staying in the same hostel, to then them staying in the very same hostel room (which was so cramped and small). Some hostels have privacy curtains, which are an absolute God send, but this particular one did not and I was stuck being faced constantly with this annoying individual for over a week!
  7. Saying goodbye: This ones a real bummer. You make such amazing friendships and connections with people that it’s hard to not get sucked into thinking that it’s not temporary. 1 week travelling with someone is like 6 months in real life and most people are on their own journey, which means goodbyes happen far too often.