5 Things I Learnt on my First Backpacking Trip

Backpacking trip can mean different things to different people. For me it’s a combination of budget (not dirt-cheap) stays, semi-planned itineraries, occasional adrenaline rush, breathtaking landscapes, ancient architecture, long walks and of course, a backpack.

The first time I traveled with just a pack on my back, it was a Himalayan trek in Uttarakhand, with 9 strangers who became friends by the end of coming down the mountains. While most things went well, a few smaller ones did go wrong. For example, my sack weighed almost double of what it should have weighed if I had packed it right. 20 months and several journeys later, I can’t even think of dragging those trolley bags or travelling any other way than carrying a backpack along.

So, here are five things I (and I’m sure a lot of you) learnt on my 1st backpacking trip:

  1. How not to pack: Rolling clothes the right way, making use of those big and small pockets, weight distribution, clipping a water bottle outside and pulling those straps. I had no idea about any of these on that trek in mountains. Hence, I often found myself digging into the bag to look for shoes and even struggled to lug it on most days. Sounds familiar? 😉
    Also Read: How I planned my first Solo Trip
  2. Minimalism is a way of life: Carrying only the essentials has never been so crucial. A lot of us make the mistake of being over ambitious on our first backpacking trip and stuff 8 pair of clothes for 5 days, 3 books to be read and even picking that Rubic’s cube that was lying in a forgotten corner covered with layers of dust since years. But, gradually, you realize that a backpack can suffice everything you’ll ever need to lead a comfortable life.
  3. Travel is as meaningful as you make it: When on the move, everyone has their own purpose and expectations. Some of us just want to relax, get drunk, dream, splurge and come back while others may want to immerse in a culture or a place and not leave before they have found some connections. There’s no right or wrong way but a backpacking trip definitely helps you figure out your priorities and travelling style.
  4. Making friends is easy: As an introvert, I have always resisted small talks, approaching people, interacting with strangers or being in groups. Still do! But, the first backpacking trip made me realize I’m not alone. There are plenty like me, who have been trying to fit in, to pretend being someone else in the world they have come from. I found like-minded people like never before, surprised myself and made friends for life.
  5. Journeys > Destination: Now, whenever someone asks, “What’s your favorite place to be?” I say, “In transit”. That sense on being on the move, literally. It must have always been this way but somehow, it never struck. The road, however bumpy, is usually more attractive than its end.

Do you have any such lessons? Please share in comments below!

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