I did a lot of solo backpacking in 2019 and it was my first time ever doing it. It is crazy to think, I just jumped in head first and didn’t look back. This was by far the biggest fear I had to overcome thus far in my life and honestly, I do not regret it. I do regret not doing it sooner. It took a lot of time and patience with myself to reframe my understanding and really commit to what I wanted to do.
In today’s post, I am sharing a few things that Solo Backpacking has taught me. Please keep in mind, this is specifically for Backpacking. Backpacking is a very different style of travel that not everyone is accustomed to. However, it is something that I think you should defiantly try. It really opens the doors for you to understand yourself in a different perspective. Without the influence of family or friends.
ACCEPT EMOTIONS EVEN THE BAD ONES
Not everyday will be the greatest day as a solo backpacker. But one thing I learned was that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Prior, to solo travelling I often feared sadness and showing that vulnerability because being a Black women in today’s society. You HAVE to be strong and often times being strong 24/7 can lead to a hard downfall. I learned while travelling it is totally okay to be happy and totally okay to be sad. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and allow yourself to experience different emotions to truly feel human. And if I’m being honest, bad emotions can often project you towards the right path.
TO ASK QUESTIONS
This is an ego thing. I will be honest haha, prior to travelling asking questions was very difficult for me. I’d rather struggle and go through PAIN before asking a question. After, backpacking I realized it’s okay, not to know the answer. The most important thing, is to find out how you can get the answer. And if i’m being honest, in interview’s they love this shit. Being able to ask questions when “you’re not sure and seek support”, My friends, if you say this line you’re on your way to employee of the month baby. Lol, just partially joking. But in all seriousness, asking questions and seeking help is a big thing I learned while backpacking and it’s taught me so much about using the community and people to help me get by.
VALUE MATERIAL THINGS DIFFERENTLY
This is a very interesting one because you often think you don’t value material things or showing material things. However, when you step outside of your home city you learn just how much it runs a lot of lives. While back-packing I learned to value material differently for example, buying those bottles at the club and poppin champagne likes its always my birthday. It’s just not the scene for me anymore, that $250 bottle every night I go out can go towards climbing Machu Picchu. Now, Im not saying- not have fun but think of alternative ways that fun can be had that allows you to see the world because honestly, its beautiful.
TO LIVE WITHIN A MOMENT
I loved this realization and it is still an on-going thing for me because I am young and I love instagram and I love pictures. That being said, while backpacking there were a few times when I would be quick to take a photo and not just any photo, but the perfect photo. I would also record views and look through my phones lens (i know terrible right!?).
But most of us are guilty of that because it is what we’ve become accustomed to. For example, think about the last time you were in the club and either had bottles served to you or someone else. How many camera’s were recording? and who was really in the moment?
While, it is good to take photos it is also important that you live in the moment. Take one photo, and then LIVE in the MOMENT, observe it, take it all in or just look at the scenery listen to the; air, the birds, the people, and yourself and you’ll realize that there is beauty in simplicity and despite how terrible the world is, there is also beauty in it as well.
I’VE RECEIVED MORE RACISM IN THE CA THAN ABROAD
Yep. You read that correctly! More than anything, racism (at least the face-to-face kind) isn’t something that a traveler can ever really be prepared for. TBH: Racism is always on my mind when travelling. But, in my years of travel (all-inclusives/short trips/back-paCking) I have only encountered 3 situations and that was in the US and than the every-so often case in Canada(where I live).
When I talk to other travellers (specifically back-packers), especially Black women, we all mostly agree that racism is more in your face in America. In almost all cases I have met nothing but respectful people who are willing to help/sell me items/hang-out with me. I sometimes get stared at thought. In most cases, it’s because Black people are not a common occurrence in the area. And yes there has been a few cases where it was “let’s take a picture” and yaknow I kindly say NEOOOOOOOOOOPE.
TO BE CONFIDENT
I learned very quick that you had to be confident in a holistic way. Confidence for yourself as well as confidence in yourself (decisions). The moment, I landed I had to make a lot of choices in every country and often times it has been easy for me to text a friend asking ‘what do you think’ and when you’re travelling you don’t have that. So i had to quickly, get on the Somewhere in the world train and just trust myself and be confident in my choices.
YOU CAN BE ALONE AND NOT LONELY
If nothing else, being by yourself is a great way to learn who you are, what you love, what you don’t love and where you want to go in life. Learning who you are is a great way to build self-confidence, resilience and courage. Building that confidence in yourself is the first step to living a life you’re proud of.
I realize that such a sentiment is quite dramatic but I have found it to be true after my travels. If nothing else, it builds confidence in the smaller things. I used to be afraid to try new things totally outside my comfort-zone (i.e., doing these crazy long hikes). I am now more confident in my abilities and more willing to put myself out in the world and push myself to the limit. Travel is a big part of this.
I have already proven to myself that I can take care of myself. Why wouldn’t book bigger and better trip? I have already shown myself that I can do what I put my mind to. Why not step up at work and take on more responsibility? Take chances? Asks questions and LEARN.
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post, don’t forget to leave a comment.