Three things I have learned backpacking alone
By MacKenzie Mason, Staff Writer
A month and a half ago, I dropped all of my classes at Mount Royal University, packed my life into a backpack and got on a one-way flight to Athens, Greece. Since then, I have learned so much about the world and about myself.
While I could go on and on about travel tips and the dos and don’ts of backpacking, here are the three biggest things I’ve learned travelling alone for a month and a half.
You will spend more than you think
Things come up, ferries are missed and food can be expensive. I probably should have been more careful with my money from the start, but a month and a half in and my pockets are getting lighter and lighter.
While it’s important to keep track of your expenses or to try to stick to a budget while travelling, I think it’s more important to have fun and get the best out of the experience. So, book that six-bed hostel room instead of the 10, do that boat tour in Milos, Greece, and of course, go wine tasting in Tuscany, Italy (seriously).
Packing in a backpack is way better than a suitcase
Let me set the scene for you: you’re getting up from your seat to step off the train in Rome, but you’re stuck behind a group of people tugging and fumbling with their bulky, heavy luggage trying to lift it off the train. Once they finally get off the train, they are struggling to pull their suitcase along the bumpy and uneven cobblestone streets. But you have no such problem as you pass each one swiftly because you packed in a backpack. Life is easy.
Seriously though, backpacking is so much easier and more convenient in Europe than a suitcase. I ended up walking everywhere, sometimes for 30 minutes or more to get from airports or train stations to my hostels. While this can be quite the trek with a big bag on your back, I promise you it’s better (and quieter) than lugging a suitcase through the cobblestone streets.
You will learn so much about yourself
This trip has given me the opportunity to really get to know myself and the things I want in this life. My confidence has grown like crazy because I know that no matter what happens, I’ve got me and that’s all I need.
The most growth happens when you’re uncomfortable and even though it can get lonely sometimes, especially when I missed Thanksgiving with my family and will miss Halloween with my friends, I’ve been able to be completely okay being by myself.
I’m so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone to be able to learn that I can do anything that I want to do and the only thing that’s stopping me, is me. For this reason, I think everyone in their 20’s needs to take some time for themselves to travel and see the world — if only to learn just what you’re capable of.