As a ‘long term’ traveller, most of my social media accounts show my day to day adventures. I also follow a lot of other backpackers on social media, who paint a similar picture; that everything is always good.
We must seem to always be lounging on beaches, exploring national parks, and living in crazy cities.
What people don’t realise is that it’s not all highs, but in fact there are a few lows, now and again.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. However, it is a bigger challenge than photos online can ever truly show. Social media creates a mirage of the best.
One hard thing about travelling is the cost. Travelling is expensive, whether you are in Asia or in Australia- the amounts may be different but it’s still costing something. Sometimes the worries of your financial situation can get on top of you. When I’m going to get a job? When’s the next payday?
A lot of people must think we are all rich, because we go to all these amazing places. However, I can say for myself, and the other travellers I’ve met, we work hard to do what we’re doing.
A lack of stable relationships makes it difficult. You make friends, meet people you absolutely love, but you’re only with them for a short time. Yes you stay in touch, of course, but it’s not the same as knowing someone is always there when you need them or they need you.
Travelling alone is particularly hard. Constantly thinking for yourself is difficult after a while of travelling on your own. You have to make every decision; which to be fair can also be a good thing, it just gets tiring in the long term. You have to decide what you’re doing, where you’re going, what you’re eating, and every other little detail by yourself. Some times it would be nice for someone else to say, “hey were going here today.”
If a challenge arises, you have to deal with all the stress alone, and rely on your own initiative.
Seeing all the amazing things you do, and not sharing it with other people can also be a difficult concept to grasp. Now although I write my blogs, post photos on Instagram and tell my family and friends what I’m up to; they’re never going to truly share the experience without being there themselves.
For example, the crazy atmosphere of Bangkok, or the reasons why I fell in love with Sydney or the hustle and bustle of the weekend markets in Chiang Mai. You can tell them how great it was, but only you hold that memory and truly know what it was like.
Homesickness is of course a difficultly at times. You miss everything that’s familiar to you. When you see that all your friends are together back home, you some times wish you could see them. Special occasions like Christmas and birthdays aren’t the same without family and friends you’ve known all your life.
One thing I particularly find annoying is not having your own space ever. Backpacking on a budget means you are always sharing a room with several people, and you can never really unpack.
Now although I’m painting a pretty negative picture, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. The things I get to see and the people I get to meet make it worthwhile.