Best advice for first time Travellers/ Backpackers!

One of the main focuses of this blog is to not only chronicle our own travels by providing reports, guides and stories from the places we visit but it is also to encourage others to believe that travelling is something we can all aspire too. When we set about making plans for our own long term travels we wanted to let others follow this process, not only to follow us when we are out there on the road, but follow us from the beginning and to let people in on how truly possible it is for us all.

As part of that we are lucky to have become part of a travel blogging community over the last few months and that community is one which is full of encouragement and support… so we asked some of our favourite bloggers and travellers to give us there “Best advice for first time travellers/ backpackers”….

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year
Kelly from “Blue Eyed View” with all she needs in her backpack!
What we love about the responses we got was the variety of angles and perspectives we came across, from practical trips about packing to more philosophical advice about opening your mind and allowing yourself to truly embrace what the world has to offer. This is not your standard “list of things to do before you go backpacking”, but more of an inspirational collaboration which will inspire you to travel, to explore your inner self and also to be that little bit extra prepared!
Thanks to all the amazing bloggers and travellers who contributed, be sure to check out there blogs too for more inspiration and advice!

TWO MONKEYS TRAVEL : There’s a world outside your box…

A few years ago, at a house party for my friend’s birthday and after many drinks, one of my good friends said this to me, ‘Do you know what Jon?

I feel like I’m trapped inside a box and I can’t get out of it.

This box, this box, this box (so very drunk), it’s like it’s all around me and it’s completely grey. My life is just a big, grey, boring box! Do you know what I mean?’ Of course, at the time I had no idea what she meant, in part because I was just as trashed as her. ‘Yeah, I know exactly what you mean!’ I lied, now starting to question what had become of my own life, such that I was even having this conversation. Still, ever the pragmatist and with a passion for telling other people how to fix their lives, whilst rarely examining my own, I offered the first solution that came into my moderately pickled brain, ‘PAINT IT!’ I shouted, ‘PAINT THE BOX! You can paint the box your favourite colour, or all the colours!’ For some reason my friend seemed far less enthusiastic about painting the box than I was. It was almost like she thought I was missing the point. ‘It’ll still be a box though,’ she said, almost stomping her feet in childish indignation. ‘I don’t want to be in the box, Jon, don’t you get it?!’ She was getting a little angry now and I started to back away. Luckily at this point more friends came back inside from the garden and I did my best to divert the attention to someone else, ‘CINDY’S IN A BOX!’ I shouted. Various unflattering responses came back, but, most importantly, my plan had worked. The subject was lost to the ether of drunken memories and we all invariably passed out in various locations around the house.

As amusing as this memory is, what I only realised much, much later, some years later in fact, was that Cindy had actually perfectly summed up the problems that I (and I suspect many others) was having with my own life, only I hadn’t realised it yet. You see, we are all born with a box (metaphor alert!) and as children we fill our box with colours, shape, sounds, people, music…the list goes on. Our box is a sanctuary of amazement and wonder as we discover the world around us and interact with our environment. But as we grow and become adolescents, moving into adulthood, we start to close our box, limiting what we allow inside and over time the bright colours become stale and lifeless, eventually turning to grey.

So, to try and get to the point, what I would tell my younger self is this, ‘Keep your box open and climb out of it as often as possible. Have new experiences, meet new people, learn a new language, do something that scares you every day. Whatever you do, don’t let your box turn grey and most importantly, never, ever, let it define who you are and what you can do with your life. Oh yeah and drunk people know everything!’

P.S. Everyone in this story is now roaming the world, living exciting and fulfilling lives…and not a hint of grey in sight!

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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Jonathan Howe is British traveler, working his way around the world finding new and interesting ways to support a life of long-term travel. Born in the south of England, Jonathan spent much of his early childhood in Africa, before moving to the Lake District in North West England aged 13 where he acquired a northern accent and a love for lakes, mountains, waterfalls, black pudding and gravy. He loves tropical beaches, surfing, hiking, the outdoors, yoga, adventure sports and motorbikes.

You can experience more of his awesomeness at twomonkeystravelgroup.com

SKY VS WORLD : Stop Being Afraid.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been pretending that you are completely excited and absolutely not concerned about anything even through you’re actually terrified. Whether that’s terrified of leaving your job or your family, fear of flying, worry about being lonely or, like me, general worry about everything from your first night in a new city to riding a bus to getting lost. There are so many unknown factors in travel. Things don’t always go as planned and sooner or later you’ll probably find yourself in a situation that’s a little scary. But don’t let that possibility scare you away from travel completely. You’re already ahead of the game by making the choice to travel. You know this is the right decision, regardless of external factors.

It’s normal to be nervous/scared/worried but don’t let that control your decisions.

Breathe. Relax. The world is not as scary as people tell you. No one is out to get you. You are about to have an adventure that most people will spend their entire lives dreaming about.

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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When I was 12, the only place you would find me was in my room with my nose in a book. I lived vicariously through the characters as they went on adventures, fell in love, and lived lives worth talking about. I never expected I would end up living my own adventure.

But, fast forward a few years and I’m boarding a plane to Guatemala with a bunch of strangers. First time on a plane, first time out of the country…first everything, really. I was terrified. Turns out sometimes doing things that scare you is a great thing.

It’s been 3 years since that first trip to Guatemala. I’m 20 and, according to society, I should be in college, getting a degree that’s going to lead me to a 9-5 and put me on track to get

married, buy a house, and have 2.5 children. No thanks! After 3 years of dreaming about travel I finally booked a one-way ticket to Costa Rica. I’ll be spending 2015 volunteering my way from Costa Rica to Mexico. It’s an adventure I can’t wait for, though I’m still pretty terrified.

I blog at www.skyvsworld.com.
Instagram http://instagram.com/skyvsworld
Twitter https://twitter.com/skyvsworld
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/skyvsworld/

PACK ME TO: Be prepared, but not overly prepared

Be prepared, but not overly prepared. It can be easy to over plan and have a schedule down to the minute, but that’s not a very fun way to travel. Allow yourself the flexibility to change your plans as needed. Maybe you’ll meet a cool group of people at your hostel along the way and decide to travel together. Or maybe you’ll discover and fall in love with a little town in the middle of nowhere and want to extend your time there. By having some down time and flexibility in what you do, you can embrace these scenarios and change your plans as needed. It’s good to have a general plan and a general idea of what you want to do and where you want to go, but give yourself enough time.This can also be true when visiting a destination. When people visit a major city full of tourist attractions it can be easy to plan to see everything. This leaves you racing around from point A to point B trying to fit it all in. In the end you’re tired and exhausted and you feel like you haven’t even seen anything properly.

Some of my best memories are of when I slowed down and just lived in the moment.
Down time spent people watching in a park or sipping a cup of coffee in a café is great. It gives you time to relax and enjoy where you are. Plan your activities, but also schedule some time to just chill out and relax.

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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Adelina is a globetrotter and food lover. Currently based in Vancouver, she has lived abroad in the Netherlands and Hungary. She loves telling stories, going on adventures, and eating her way around the world. You can often find her behind the camera lens or out exploring new places. Follow along as she decides her next adventure.

Blog: www.packmeto.com
Twitter: twitter.com/packmeto
Facebook: facebook.com/packmeto

BLUE EYED VIEW: Pack your backpack wisely!

“The main reason a lot of people turn to back-packing is for ease and to shed a lot of unnecessary weight. Failing to pack your back light means you may as well have stuck to dragging a chunky suitcase, whilst hauling an awkward shoulder bag and a hefty handbag you question what the point of bringing it was in the first place.

To put it simply; when compiling travel necessities for your back-pack, keep it light!

Just imagine arriving at your destination, everything you need in one place (on your back) and the freedom to move around as you wish. No more having to worry about storing your belongings whilst you nip off into the city or standing out from the crowd as you locate your hostel. Choosing what to wear becomes less of a problem when you only have 2 choices and you will soon realise how dispensable ‘things’ become when you are travelling.

Top tip: be sure to pack a bar of soap – not only does it pass through airport security in hand-luggage but it will cost you only £1 and will last for weeks!”

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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In 2012 Kelly left behind a life of conformity in England and went in search of adventure. So much has happened since then and amongst many incredible experiences Kelly has found her 3 main passions; blogging, photography and travel. So far she is not sure where she will be this time next year but that’s okay, she is in it for the ride! In September 2015 she is heading off to Iceland to solo cycle around the island for 4 weeks, cooking and wild camping as she goes. As well as setting a maximum spend of £1000 for the entire trip; she hopes to raise a minimum of £500 for TREEAID and their pledge to plant 1 million trees in Africa.

Blog: blueyedview.com
Facebook: facebook.com/blueyedview
Twitter: twitter.com/blue_eyed_view
more about my upcoming Iceland cycle: blueyedview.com/barking-bicyclist/

I AM AILEEN: Think long term & secure your travelling future!

If there is one very important advice that I would like to share to would-be travelers who want to start a life of travel like I do, it is this: always think long term. As you travel or before you travel, start thinking of a profession or a business that can support your traveling lifestyle for the rest of your life. This seems very tough at first, I know it is, but I am telling you that it is very possible because I am a living proof to that.

Now of course, there are a lot of on-the-road jobs that can keep you going for years and it’s absolutely fine to do those at first; however, as time passes, it’s important to start thinking of living a more sustainable life of travel because you surely wouldn’t want to work for someone else forever. There are different ways to achieve this but the first and very vital step is to find what you’re good at or at least find what you are interested in doing.

As examples, some people have a vision of being English teachers abroad so that they can set up their own school or tutor company in the future, and then there are others who make use of their hobbies (dance, yoga, diving, surfing, etc.) so that they can set up their own establishments as they slowly gain enough capital and reputation for themselves.

But then of course, there are those who take advantage of the possibilities that the internet brings — people like me who become digital nomads, travel bloggers, or entrepreneurs. I actually started out as a digital nomad after I quit my corporate job when I was 21; it ranged from simple services at first like being a customer service staff and data encoder. But then it turned into more complex things like SEO, graphic design, and marketing. After a year of traveling and working remotely online, I have even found the inspiration from the jobs that I did to set up my online business today (‘Adalid Gear‘).

With all these and more, I think it’s safe for me to say that I have secured my future and I hope that you can do the same (which I know, you could!)

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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Aileen is a wild spirit from the Philippines who quit her corporate job at 21 to travel the world. Today, she is a digital nomad and entrepreneur living a life of travel. She is also the mastermind behind ‘I am Aileen’, a travel blog where she documents her adventures, thoughts, and experiences as she aims to inspire others to wander out more! Come and follow her updates around the globe!

Adalid Gear business: www.adalidgear.com

TRAVELLING BUZZ… Keep a journal

Keep a journal. Write down everything. What you see, how you feel, who you meet. Don’t forget to write down contacts of people you want to meet again or just say hi when you get a decent internet connection.

But writing down your experience daily is going to make you appreciate what you’re doing.

In my opinion the perfect memory “souvenir” is your own experience. Writing a journal will make you remember every single step you took during your backpacking trip. When you get back home, you can read everything and even publish a travelogue and share it with your family, friends and the world. Another thing I like to do when travelling is when I like a certain view, I sit down for a minute and breathe the moment, trying to take a mind picture and remember it forever. You can try that out, too.”

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

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Maria is a part time traveller from Bulgaria. She blogs at Travelling Buzz about best weekend destinations in Europe, giving tips for part time travelling and inspiration for people who think they don’t have “enough time, money or will” to go out there and see the world. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Advice from the Roaming Renegades!

For us we are at a transition between going from travelling via short trips to going off on a long term round the world adventure. That transition came about after we were brutally honest with ourselves and what we wanted in life. The truth of the matter is whatever way you want to travel the best thing to do is to be honest and to stop making excuses. You may dream of visiting a certain city or country, but you put it off because it’s outside of your comfort zone, it’s different, it’s scary… you make excuses because of work, family, money, fear… the list goes on. It’s easy to put things off, to be settled and just let these things be something someone else does. But life goes by too fast for excuses, get up, shake things up and get out there!

Read some more of our inspirational rants (lol) here:

best advice for new first time travellers, traveler, backpackers, gap year

What’s your best piece of advice?

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.