Australia

The 11 downsides to backpacking longterm

1. BED BUGS. I’ve had my fair share of encounters with them. I’ve woken up covered in bites and I’ve seen them. Not fun. It’s almost impossible to avoid bed bugs when you’re traveling. Your bag might touch another bag on the bus and then when you throw your bag against your bed, it soon becomes infested with them. Tips! Check the bed before hand. If you wake up with bites, tell reception ASAP and asked to get moved, then wash all of your belongings. Don’t sleep in a bed that you know has bed bugs!

2. Sleeping in a 12 bed room in a hostel. We all know, the more beds in the room, the cheaper the room! I always opt for rooms with the most amount of beds to conserve my money. This however, comes at a price ( lol pun). I’ve frequently had to deal with drunken idiots being loud at night, literally have been feet away from couples doing you know what, and getting woken up the next morning by the idiot that decided to wait until the last minute to pack before his 7am flight. It happens, it’s all apart of hostel life.

3. Peer pressure. Sometimes you want to have a nice quiet night in. Depending on what hostel you book, some hostels are known to be “party hostels” and some are not. When I’m traveling alone I usually read the reviews on hostelworld.com to get a sense of how social the hostel is, and I like to pick hostels that are because I like to meet people when I’m traveling! This can also backfire when everyone is drinking together and getting to know eachother, but you secretly had plans to lay in bed all night on your phone. If you need a night in, don’t succumb to the peer pressure!

4. Be prepared to answer and ask the same questions over and over and over again. Where are you from? How long have you been in Australia for? When does your visa run out? Where did you work in Sydney? Have you been to Asia yet? How long are you staying for? ETC ETC. Yes, sometimes it gets repetitive but again, it comes with the traveling territory! It’s always exciting when you meet those random people that pick your brain about other things than the same old questions you get asked by everyone.

5. GUILT. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that feels this way but I know I’m not. Pretty much ever since I’ve left home I’ve been made to feel guilty about being away from home. There has not been one conversation that I haven’t had with my family that didn’t end with “come home already, everyone misses you”. I know they’re just being nice but it makes me feel guilty for being away from home, when I’m so happy that I’m away and doing what I love!!

6. Privacy. Sometimes you just wanna walk around naked and talk to yourself without anyone being there to judge you or be like wtf? Am I right or am I right?

7. Being homesick. I’ll be very honest, I haven’t been as homesick as I thought I would, but recently I’ve been thinking about home more and more. Being away from home during the holidays hurts a bit, and I also think season change makes me a bit sad. Also, it’s never fun when all of your friends are home together doing something fun, it definitely makes me wish I could teleport home for the weekend to see them!

8. Staying healthy. It can be done, it can definitely be done, it’s just a matter of how much you care. I’ve found that when I was living in Sydney and I knew I was going to be there for a couple months, I was able to get back into working out and eating healthy. When I’m constantly on the move however, it’s a bit harder for me to eat healthy. I usually manage to start my day with fruit or toast with avocado, but I’ve fallen pray to the pasta nights way too often than I’d like ?

9. Having to carry your life on your back. It’s not easy. When I first left for my trip my backpack was not even half full and pretty much light as a feather. (Bare in mind I had no idea I was going to move to Australia). Fast forward 8 months later to a city like Sydney where the girls don’t leave the house without a full face of makeup and their best outfits, I had no choice but to go out and buy some clothes. My “going out” outfit in Asia consisted of jean shorts, a tank top and flip flops….. Basically I was fucked when I got to Australia. Now my bag weighs over 20kg (a lot of lbs.. Not sure) and I can barely lift it.

10. MONEY. Or lack there of. It’s easy to backpack on a budget- it really is. In my opinion money is no excuse to not travel. If you want to make it work, you can. Camp, sleep in your car, cook your meals instead of eating out, hitchhike, couch surf, work for accommodation. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. With that being said- by the end of your trip no matter now frugal you were, you will most likely be broke. BUT, if I’ve learned anything it’s been that i’d rather spend my money on experiences, instead of things. Like I could realllyyyyyyy use another pair of sandals because I legitimately only own 1 pair- but I’d rather save my money for a plane ticket.

11. Saying goodbye. With new cities brings new friends. And with more new cities means more goodbyes. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some pretty cool people on this journey of mine, and saying goodbye is the worst. Again, the it’s price you have to pay when you have the travel itch.

 

At the end of the day, it’s not all pretty instagrams and happy days- sometimes it sucks and you think “why am I in this 20 bed dorm in the middle of bumble fuck Australia when I could be in my cozy bed in New York?” Well let me tell you, it’s all worth it in the end. The good always outweighs the bad, and the bad usually makes for a good story in the end. Traveling is in my veins, and I’d take these 11 downsides any day if it meant I got to keep going.

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