“As you move outside your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” Robin S. Sharma
What is backpacking? Backpacking is an amazing way of traveling. It is life on the road, filled with constant surprises and discoveries. Throw your essential items into your pack and take of into the world not knowing whats to come but trusting that it will be a great adventure.
Now days our options for accommodations are vast and although some backpackers stay in more private lodging options, the classic backpackers have found a happy comfort zone in hostels. Hostels are the medium between sleeping on the streets and paying for expensive hotels. They offer affordable rates in shared rooms in exchange for the privacy of your own room. Of course, this isn’t for everyone, but there is a big lesson we can all learn from the backpacker’s mentality.
When you go to a hostel, you enter into a context of like minded people. Largely, everyone is open minded. Here, sharing is a key idea. You share your room, your ideas, your cooking recipes, your travel trips and your new experiences. Social activities such as city walks, pub crawls or dinners are organized to not only show some of the highlights of the destination, but also as an easy way to get to know other travellers. Hostels can bring you out of your shell, but you still have to make a decision to take action.
It would be easy to go and hide in your room and not talk to anybody. It would be easy to walk around in the city and only use your smartphone to get recommendations. But The Lifestyle Project believes that things are better when shared. It takes courageous to say hello to a stranger or ask them questions but the enriching experiences that come from a simple hello are un-valuable. Our experiences are about interactions. Interactions with our environments, or other people.
In hostels, you quickly realize how easy it is to talk to strangers. You discover different ways of thinking, different insights into the human experience. People from all parts of the world can get together and sing a common song or bust into a jazz session. Everything feels a bit like a dream because your senses are constantly being fed new information.
Over the years, the backpackers that we have met have all taken different approaches to their journeys. Some of them have everything laid out, while others tend to be on the “no plan plan”. Everyone’s time frame is different, as is everyone’s path. Sometimes you will meet the same crew a couple of weeks later, and other times you may never see them again. Often people cry when they separate from their new found friends, even if they had only met for 24 hours. This is because the backpacker goes deep into time. Time feels different when traveling. The combination of connection, excitement and curiosity results in new found friendships, even new romances.
We learn to help one another out, we learn to laugh at our differences and we learn that it is totally alright to be ourselves. The great thing about the backpackers mentality is that we don’t have to stay in hostels to experience this. It is simply a mindset. It is about respecting others and enjoying life. It is about getting out of our comfort zones.
Whether you stay in hostels or not, we hope we have inspired you to step out of your shell, to say hello to a stranger, and to slow down. Every interaction can be exactly the one you needed to have.
Let’s change the way we travel, together.
The Lifestyle Project