Have you ever wanted to just stuff your things in a backpack and head somewhere overseas? And has the thought that you're not in college and "that's not something grown-ups do" ever stopped you?
For many adults, backpacking seems like a thing of the past. College was the time of freedom, the time when exploring another continent with just a satchel made sense. Once you get a job and establish a routine, you don't have time for stuff like backpacking, right? Wrong! Here are five reasons why backpacking isn't just for college kids, and why you should consider trying it on your next vacation.
Backpacking Helps You Embrace Your Spontaneity
Backpacking requires a certain amount of flexibility and spontaneity. One of the trademarks of backpacking is that you usually don't stay in fancy hotels, or even plan where you are going to stay before you get to a new city. You have to be able to roll with the punches and fly by the seat of your pants—all without getting too caught up in making plans. That's difficult for someone used to having schedules, but it's not impossible. In fact, letting go and embracing spontaneity on a backpacking trip can be a great way to start being more flexible in your daily life as well. Trips teach us things. A backpacking trip as an adult can teach you to be less rigid on the regular.
Adults May Actually Be Better at Backpacking Than College Kids
On the flip side, there is one thing that adults have that many college kids don't yet: the ability to stick with a plan. While some college kids just see backpacking as a way to meet a bunch of new people and do a lot of risky things, adults can stick to an itinerary and actually get to see a lot more of the beautiful sights and locations in the country they are visiting. That is not to say that you can't still have fun and take breaks along the way, but adults are usually more likely to prioritize visiting historical sites, natural wonders or famous landmarks, which can make for a richer experience.
Backpacking Is the Ultimate Freedom
You don't have to be a moody teenager to want freedom. There is nothing more freeing than having nothing to carry but the pack on your back as you explore an all new country or city. Backpacking can take you to some really amazing places, but it can also help you to remember (or to discover) who you are when you aren't stuck behind a desk or behind the wheel of the same car you drive every day. When you are backpacking, the only person in charge of your trip is you (and your travel companions if you have them). You don't have to do anything at a certain time if you don't want to, and you can change your plans on a whim if you like. You are free from your daily grind, and free to find your own adventure.
You Don't Have to Backpack Alone
While backpacking is normally seen as a practice enjoyed only by college students traveling alone or in a small group, there is no law saying you can't bring your family along for the ride. You and your husband or wife can take a backpacking trip together for your anniversary, or you can bring your children during their summer break, if the adventure is suitable for them. In fact, it would even be a great experience for children, because it will give them a chance to explore new worlds and interact with different cultures. As long as everyone has a backpack and has all the supplies they need for the duration (or the money to get it later), there is no reason why backpacking can't be a family affair.
Backpacking Is Changing
According to The Coloradan, backpacking as we once knew it is gone, due to the proliferation of smartphones and computers. This is creating the opportunity to change it into something else, something that is arguably better for everyone involved. Men and women of all ages—not just college kids—are getting into backpacking now because it's easier to do. You no longer have to worry about getting lost, because you can bring your phone and use Google Maps to help you stay on track. While some veteran backpackers think this takes a bit of the thrill out of backpacking, in reality it makes it safer, which means it's better for more people. Now, anyone who wants to travel can do so freely, as long as they have the guts to take that first step. And hey, if a college kid can do it, why can't you?