When I dreamt about beginning my backpacking trip around the world, I knew that I was going to learn new things about myself as well as the people and places I met and visited. I did not appreciate that I would have so much to learn in backpacking week one – though I have no doubts this is only the first lesson in this new course of life study.
For those of you who may be considering your own backpacking trip, or perhaps you are just interested in what backpacking teaches you – here are my 5 things you learn in backpacking week one.
I did not always know I loved home quite so much. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely things I still find boring about Eastbourne, but there are also things I miss. Those easily accessible sunset walks atop beachy head. Strolls along the promenade listening to the final song in the bandstand. Eating gelato from Fusciardis. You get the picture.
I also knew I loved my family and friends, but not quite as much as I know I do now. The support I was shown during my last few weeks was nothing short of mind-blowing. It made me really consider what I was leaving behind, or to look at it another way, what I would be coming home too. We are lucky to have friends and family who want to visit us on our journey – something I know will make the missing a whole lot easier. In April we head to Singapore and I cannot wait to hug those whose hugs are not here right now.
You don’t need a 55″ TV, the latest games console or even that new flashy pair of shoes. Those things are nice-to-haves, sure – but you don’t need ’em. If there is one thing you learn very quickly, it’s that all you really need to get through the day is some food, some water, some clothes and some shelter. Some. Not endless amounts, that’s key here.
Landing in Delhi couldn’t have been more of a culture shock for us. The levels of poverty we have seen have at times been, repulsive. Surely we should all do more to ensure that everyone has somewhere to sleep at night, somewhere to fill their belly and satisfy their thirst, some clothes to keep them warm in the nights chill.
You will soon find yourself leaving bits you packed behind as you continue on your backpacking journey. That’s all part of the journey as a whole and a key part to working out what you need to get by.
It’s the start of week two and I can already say we have met some amazingly friendly, hospitable people in our time so far. Folks who will do anything to make sure you are happy. Some will go out of their way to pick you up from gate 1 (or is it 3) of the metro, before taking you out for drinks and dinner at one of the swankiest haunts in New Delhi. Others will welcome you into their home like it is your own, offer you food, hot water and a comfy bed – without asking for anything in return.
These are the people that the news outlets back home don’t talk about. These are the people that make life a spectacle worth living. These are the people that make the decision to travel a great one.
One thing I can assure you, is that you will occasionally wake up and just feel like you cant be arsed. There is nothing wrong with that either. Travel is amazing. It can also be tiring, demanding and relentless – so don’t pretend all is well if you’re feeling rubbish. If you wan’t to hide in your room/dormitory for the day – do it. If you want to play FIFA all day – do it. Always remember that the adventures can begin again tomorrow and that you’ll enjoy it more if you are feeling tip-top than taking a 50% functioning you to a once in a lifetime visit to the Taj.
When we arrived in Delhi, not only were we struggling from lack of sleep, we were also cautious of leaving our hostel. Old Delhi can be an intimidating place, even for two 6 foot blokes! So we took a day off. We stayed in and sorted out our plans and finances, before playing some FIFA and grabbing a McDonalds. Who cares what people think – you should do what you feel like doing, if that’s not a great deal – then so be it!
Obviously, when you are planning your backpacking trip, you know there will be lots to see – but beyond the TripAdvisor ‘things to do’ there is a never ending plethora of eye-candy for you to feast on. We spent 7 days in Old Delhi, an area most people only stay in for 2 or 3 days – yet we still have things we would like to see there!
We arrived in Gurgaon two days ago, and while there aren’t too many ‘toursity’ places around. There is plenty of the real India. Local deli’s serving a range of cakes (all made without egg, for vegetarians), street stalls where you can purchase almost anything you need and supermarkets that stock pot noodles with Manchester United badges on the front. When people talk about things to see, it doesn’t always have to be the big things. It’s easy to under appreciate the small things, one week of backpacking has made me appreciate them a lot more.
If you haven’t already, please check out our YouTube channel for regular vlogs as we travel around the world.