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14 Awesome reasons why backpacking will change your life forever

--Backpacking is more than collecting beautiful photos, seeing mesmerizing places, and hanging out with awesome and like-minded travel mates.

Backpacking is an adventure that makes you live life to the fullest, teaching you things you can only learn by experience.

In other words, travel is the university of life lessons that help you grow into the best person you can be.

It might sound very dramatic, but you’ll never be completely the same after you’ve been traveling for an extended amount of time.

Curious to find out how backpacking will change your life forever? Read on and discover 14 ways backpacking will change your life forever

1. You’ll enjoy your own company a lot more

How many people can say they truly enjoy being alone?

Most of us even grab our phones on the toilet so we don’t lose our connection to the outside world. Or worse, so that we don’t have to deal with whatever goes on in our own head.

This way we never really connect to our deepest thoughts and feelings.

We’re in a constant state of distraction. We fill our agenda’s with work or scroll through social media hours on end, and part of it is so that we don’t have to deal with being alone.

But then you go traveling.

You enter a world where you’ll be alone, at least sometimes. Sometimes you’ll even feel lonely. Sometimes even amidst a crowd of seemingly fun people.

It happens and it’s in moments like these that you’ll learn how to be comfortable with your own thoughts. How to enjoy them regardless of whether your thoughts are positive or negative.

You’ll learn to listen to what you really want. What you feel like doing. And you’ll learn to be completely fine to follow your own path. Even if you have to walk it by yourself.

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Justin cycling all by himself in the Australian outback

2. You’ll discover that being good at something takes practice

Before you start traveling, you’ll always have doubts. You’ll always have certain beliefs about yourself.

For instance, you might believe that you’re not very good at talking to strangers.

And you know what? You might be right. Maybe you aren’t that good at it…

But that doesn’t mean it always has to be like this.

Many of your doubts and beliefs are true, only because you’ve never had the chance to prove them wrong.

How often do you get the chance to talk to strangers? How often do you sleep with 8 people in a room?

You’ll see that, even if you’re the biggest introvert ever, you’ll get better with practice.

Your abilities aren’t set in stone and once you’ve survived and thrived during your backpacking adventure, you’ll be far more open to trying new things.

3. You’ll live in the moment (even more)

A traveler generally has four concerns: food, a drink, a bed and money.

It’s that simple.

When you’re traveling, you live from moment to moment and you’re mostly concerned with what you’ll do that day.

It’s a powerful lesson because when you get back home and shit gets too hectic you’ll be able to focus on the present a lot more.--

4. You experience life like a child

Do you remember the time you were a child and it seemed to take ages before you finally reached the legal drinking age?

That’s because there are so many changes going on in your body, and so many new experiences you experience.

You go to the pub for the first time, you might get your driver’s license and you have that awkward first time attempt at having great sex.

But as soon you get older, life turns into a routine and without major milestones or changes, life speeds up and time slips through your fingers.

You live life on automatic pilot and at the end of each week, you ask yourself where that week went. And then at the end of the year, you ask the same for that year.

During your travels, you’ll experience life as if you were a child again. So many things to process, so many new impressions. Time slows down again, you experience things a lot more intensely. It’s one of the 5 reasons to quit your job to travel.

5. You let go of your shame

We all find it so important what others think of us, but when you travel, you realize that it really doesn’t matter.

Things that would shame you to death at home, will turn a smile on your face when you’re traveling. Because… well, #Yolo.

During your travels, you can be who you want to be. Sometimes you’ll be a bit silly and people will have an opinion. But, whatever their opinion is, what other people think is their problem.

6. You start appreciating the things that you ignore back home

At home, you’re used to things. You’ve seen them a thousand times and often you forget to realize how beautiful things are.

For example, Justin grew up in Lisse, a village in the Netherlands that attracts over 1 million visitors each year between April and May. It’s a beautiful time of year when all the flowers are blooming, and it’s completely understandable why people from all over the world come to visit.

However, the problem for Justin was that he saw it every year and stopped being impressed. Only after he missed it because of his travels, he regained his appreciation for this beautiful time of year.

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7. You’ll realize that everything is temporary, both good and bad things

Sometimes we get really stressed at home thinking that bad situations will last forever.

We believe that we’ll be unemployed, single, depressed, fat, whatever, forever.

But travel makes you realize that nothing is forever (Sorry Rihanna, not even diamonds).

All the good and bad moments pass.

You’ll learn to enjoy the impermanent nature of things, good or bad. And because of this, you’ll become a more positive person.

8. You want to do work that makes you happy

Traveling makes you happy, sure fact.

And you would like to keep this happiness when you’re back home. So at some point during your travels, you’ll reflect on your life, and wonder what kind of job you would like to do once you return back home.

Chances are, you’ll want to do something that makes you happy.

Something meaningful, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it involves a lot of money. As long as it makes you happy and helps others, you’re happy.

9. You’ll be more confident and less afraid of challenges

Do you sometimes dread the important stuff? Afraid that in the supreme moment everything goes to shits?

We’re talking job interviews, exams, presentations, dating, going to parties where you don’t know anyone…

Sometimes you just have to do it. And almost always you’ll realize it wasn’t that bad.

In other words …

You: 1
Your fears and doubts: 0

The more you overcome your initial doubts, the more confident you get that you can handle any situation.

Traveling puts you into these situations constantly. Situations where you don’t know how they will end but you just have to go for it and enjoy the ride.

Think of talking to strangers, finding your way in a foreign country, learning a new language, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.

It’s all things you might dread. But at the end of the day you’ll learn that if you power through the initial doubts, many beautiful moments are waiting for you.

Not exactly what you call a comfort zone

10. You start to appreciate the little things in life

This may sound very cliché, but traveling makes you appreciate the little things in life.

The taste of good coffee, the smell of food, a hot shower, the smile of a stranger, music, a good conversation or simply a nice breeze while the sun warms your body.

Because you are less distracted by everything you need to do at home, you’re much more aware of these little things and you realize how beautiful they are.

11. You’ll be more flexible

In life you sometimes face challenges and some things don’t go as planned. Not much you can do about it, such is life.

Most people complain, victimize themselves and are convinced that the whole universe conspired to make their life miserable.

But life ultimately is not about what happens, it’s about how you handle it. And that’s what you’ll learn when backpacking.

During your trip, there will be hundreds of little things that don’t quite go as planned. Your bus might be late, some spots might be disappointing, there are no nice people in the hostel or you’ve caught diarrhea while you’re on a night bus.

From all those times you learn to take things as they come and just make the best of it.

12. You realize that the world is a safe place and 99.9% of the people have a good heart

Visit any random news website and it’s very hard to believe that the world isn’t actually that bad of a place.

Bombings, deaths, economies collapsing, politicians saying nasty shit, and so on.

And of course, bad things happen in the world, but traveling will show you that the negatively biased news is in no way the only representation of reality.

When you travel, you’ll meet the most amazing and helpful people. Often from other countries than your own.

And so when you return home you won’t be so vulnerable to xenophobic scare tactics because you know that 99% of all people have a good heart and you’ve seen it with your own eyes.

13. You’ll make friends all over the world

You meet people from all over the world and some remain your friends for life. So if you want to travel again in the future, chances are that you’ll always have a place to sleep somewhere in the world.

But it’s not just about the free places to sleep. It’s also about sharing memories with people that were there with you at the time.

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Friends from all over the world

14. You’ll be less materialistic.

When you travel you realize that you don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. Everything you own fits in a backpack and you’re actually pretty happy with that.

Ultimately it’s all about collecting experiences and memories and not stuff. A lesson that doesn’t only apply to travel, but also to life.

Stuff always becomes less valuable over time, and you have to keep consuming to keep yourself happy.

However, when you value memories more and enjoy the little things in life, you’ll never need much to be happy.

But of course, a true traveler already knew this.

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