As I look to my right; I see a bulging white suitcase packed full of clothes I will most likely never wear, behind me is a comfortable king sized bed with a door located next to it leading to an en suite bathroom and in front of me boasts a stunning garden view with a property placed behind it with an impressive swimming pool – Being a graduate; in my early twenties and travelling around Australia for a year while on a budget – you would think of me as a backpacker. But in all honesty, I’m the worst backpacker going.
A stereotypical backpacker is firstly in the same itself; a person travelling the world with as little as a backpack on their back, living in hostels, working stereotypical “backpacker” jobs and walking around with a group of backpacker friends. We are fortunate enough to own a car – something we bought within the first few weeks of being in Australia – the initial reaction to this revelation is “oooo, look at you” whenever this is brought up in conversation.
So we were off to a good start of our backpacking journey. Walking around with our bulging suitcases of barely worn clothes and driving around with our ‘Road Trip’ playlist blasting out of our Mitsubishi Lancer. However; during a recent trip to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, it all dawned on me – I suck at being a backpacker.
So let’s talk about this new experience. We were incredibly exhausted from travelling all day, every day, the weather was fairly nippy, and to be honest, we felt lazy – or at least I did, anyway. I didn’t want to walk anywhere and I knew we had a car that would allow us to see more of the “must see” attractions on the mountains. However; whilst driving from one place to the next, I couldn’t help but spot the amount of people strolling around with backpacks, maps in one hand and a water bottle in the other, surrounded by people doing the exact same things. Yep, perhaps I am terrible at this travelling malarkey.
At the time, we were staying in a Hostel for two nights – to my enjoyment, only we were sleeping in a private bedroom whilst every one else seemed to mostly share. After staying in well below basic Motels for the last two weeks, it couldn’t get any worse; and to my surprise, the hostel wasn’t too bad. We had a shared bathroom (a backpacker feature), a shared kitchen, lounge room, and we met people from all ages. Jack was keen to socialise, I wasn’t. But I tried my best before sneaking my way back up to our bedroom away from socialisation.
After two nights; we made our way up to Port Macquarie, again, staying in a Hostel, only this time it was a stereotypical backpacker zone – the complete opposite to the former. The hostel featured; unfriendly hipster backpackers, weird music, surfer dudes and female friendship groups – all of a similar age. If there is anything else to be added to my list of “what travel has taught me” is how much of an introvert I actually am. In this Hostel, my biggest worry was having to socialise with a bunch of people who I had nothing in common with. So instead, I kept to myself, hiding in my room with no WiFi all night – that had an en suite bathroom by the way, and favoured a barbecue on the beach over cooking in the communal kitchen.
Travellers, like a lot of things, are put into different categories that separate one person from another. You can be a backpacker; a budget traveller or a luxury traveller – I don’t know which one I fall under, but I do think I suck at backpacking. Recently we had been offered a job fruit picking – staying in a working hostel, having to share a mixed dorm and coping with 5 minute showers and composting toilets. I turned it down – quite frankly I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending three months living that way. I do question the decisions I make and wonder if I am cut out for this travelling biz; however I think backpackers come in all different forms, and there isn’t much point in doing something you don’t feel comfortable with because that’s what people have said you ‘should’ do.
I believe that I am still making the most of travel; even if I’m keeping myself away from the backpacker scene.
What type of backpacker are you?