My First Backpacking Experience
I recently had the chance to travel to the amazing islands of Hawaii. I’m not sure if you’d consider this a real “back packing trip”, but it did consist of us dragging our backpacks from airport to airport and hopping from a hostel to another. This was our first “unplanned” trip, if you want to call it. My sister and I arrived in Hawaii and had a bucket list, that’s it. We basically planned what we we’re going to do on a day to day basis. I wanted to chat about my trip with you in hopes that it will encourage you to do the same if you’ve been thinking about travelling. In only two weeks, I gained a lifetime of knowledge and an unforgettable experience.
The Hostel Life
This was my first experience staying in a hostel. Basically, this is like a hotel for travelers, but most rooms are shared with other people and there’s usually a recreational space where everyone goes to have breakfast and/or hang out. I’d say that the majority of travelers staying in the hostels we’re between the ages of 18-30. Most of them we’re also dragging their backpacks on their shoulders. My sister and I decided to book a semi-private room for majority of our stay, but still got the chance to connect with a bunch of people.
This experience for me was great because I got to meet people from all over the world. From South Korea, Japan, Germany to different parts of the United States (of course they were a lot of other Canadians there as well). Although we couldn’t always communicate through words, we were able to converse through signs/body language and were even able to form great friendships. I’m incredibly grateful to have had the chance to learn about so many different stories and cultures.
Another thing I enjoyed about living in a hostel, is that you have to learn to live with the minimum. This was great because it forced me to socialize with people from the hostel. We ended up splitting on rental cars, learning about new places to visit, sharing meals with them, etc. There was something so simple and great about the hostel life. Each hostel we left, it felt like we had to leave our little hostel family. As much as we we’re sad to say goodbye, we left feeling fulfilled.
Open Your Mind
I should mention that I am a bit of a routine freak. So breaking out of my daily routine was a bit of a discomfort for me. This trip meant that my sleeping schedule would change, my daily gym routine would be consisting of hiking mountains and most of my meals would contain a fruity alcoholic beverage. As much as this was a change in my routine, it gave me the break my body needed. This helped my body, both mentally and physically. Coming back, I felt refreshed and recharged. As crazy as this may sound, breaking out of the routine also helped me appreciate it a little more when I got back home.
Travelling allowed me to open my mind a bit further. Experiencing new cultures and sceneries was definitely eye opening for me. I haven’t travelled too much, so this trip was definitely one for the books. Like I mentioned earlier, we had a bucket list and nothing much other than that planned for the time we were there. We played it day by day. This helped me let go of all worries back home (work, finance, relationships, etc.). I was able to focus completely one day at a time (side note - this is my dad’s advice for everything, haha). I was able to open my mind to the unknown and enjoy every bump in the road (I was in Hawaii, how could I not).
To say the least, we had stressful times during this trip. We did everything we could possibly think of “while in Hawaii”. We had a few scares and found ourselves in situations where we should have known better. However, this also made me realize that life is so very precious. And it could be taken from us at any day, for any reason. I’ve realized how important it is to enjoy every present moment and try to find the positive in every situation. Each experience had a beautiful ending and was able to make me grow as a person. If you are thinking about travelling, I can guarantee that you will gain so much more than a pin on the map.
Travelling is costly, it’s not a secret. I used to tell myself I didn’t have enough money to travel. I always thought I should invest my money elsewhere. However, travelling has provided me with much more than whatever money could ever buy. I did have some money set aside for a trip and had been saving for a while. In all honestly, it took me a bit of encouragement to finally purchase my plane tickets. I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to spending money and I always think about the “what ifs” (what if my car breaks down, what if I lose my job, etc. – coincidently also coming from my dad’s vocabulary).
Nonetheless, travelling was something I promised myself I’d do once I graduated from University. Without any exaggeration, it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. You can always make an excuse not to go. But taking that leap could turn out to be one of the most valuable experiences of your life. My advice is to not second guess yourself too much. If you’ve been thinking or planning of travelling, then you should absolutely pursue that goal.
A few Memories
I’d like to share some of my “highlight moments” with you. You are welcome to browse through the pictures below. Hope you enjoy!