1. The backpack does not maketh the backpacker.
For some reason I had a romanticised idea that investing in a 55ltr Osprey and strapping it to my back would instantly melt away the debilitating neuroticism that I had been nurturing over the last 43 years, and magically transform me into a happy-go-lucky carefree hippy type.
This does not happen.
Though I have no doubt travel has taken a couple of turns out of my spring, it’s clearly a gradual process. I still can’t sleep if someone drops a pin in the next room, but at least now I don’t stay awake worrying that someone may drop a pin.
2. There’s no place like home.
Well actually, there are some pretty nice places out there. New Zealand and Bali are a couple of beauties. But it wasn’t until we had been travelling a while that we realised just how many gems there are back home. The diversity and beauty of Europe is staggering, and I’m not sure either of us fully appreciated this when it was on our doorstep, not to mention the Peak District just 20 miles from where we lived!
3. We won the lottery.
The sky may not always be blue, and semi-permanent drizzle may not be our first choice for weather, but the freedom, and quality of life which we once took for granted in the UK starts to look pretty special when you see first hand how hard people in some other parts of the world have to work to make ends meet. And seeing them do this with a smile on their face and a spring in their step is actually a little uncomfortable for someone who constantly moaned about his very easy, very well paid job back home.
4. Clothes wear out.
No surprise right?
Well it was a surprise to us as clothes don’t wear out if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and have a large selection to choose from. Some of the clothing I threw away when I set off on our adventure was 10 years old. But if you wear the same pair of shorts repeatedly, and walk for miles in them each day, the life expectancy of the crotch is maybe 1-2 months.
Newsflash, the soles of your shoes also wear out!
5. We don’t like travelling on a budget.
It became pretty obvious, pretty quickly that “roughing it” was not gong to be an enjoyable experience for us. In fact I can tell you exactly how far into our travels we realised this. 1o days.
We booked in to some cute little authentic bamboo bungalows for our week in Bophut, Koh Samui, and lasted 1 night, before leaving and checking into the resplendent Bandara Resort and Spa.
10 days was all it took us to realise that the sacrifices that would be necessary for us to sustain long-travel just were not worth it for us, and we would prefer 1 good year to 5 years of eking an existence.
6. We’re never satisfied.
When we were in the East we missed the infrastructure, and order that we had become accustomed to in the West. After 2 months back in the West we have just made a dramatic U-turn and are heading back East! I’d like to say something profound about living in the moment, and embracing the positives in your current situation, but maybe it’s just that we have short memories, and reflect on the past through rose-tinted spectacles. Or maybe it’s just that I miss the $1 beer…….