LIFE IS A JOURNEY, ARE YOU READY?

WHAT I LEARNT DURING MY YEAR OF BACKPACKING

I started this year going back to the grind little by little. My backpacking days are rather distant with the freelance jobs coming in. I quit my job without plans and found myself facing a weak market with little opportunities. There was no better time to travel and so I packed my bag and went on a somewhat frugal journey around Southeast Asia. I haven't really sat down to ponder what I learnt through that one over years of backpacking, until someone asked me last night. I thought it will help me to consolidate my thought by writing them down.

  • LEARNING TO BE FRUGAL.
    With the uncertainty of when the next pay check was coming in, I had to learn to be frugal. I had to downgrade a lot of the ways I was doing things. I slept in dorms as cheap options of accommodations. I was surprised to learn that there are many dorm beds with curtains so you really do get your privacy. Ok, somewhat. But you really only need a bed to rest when you are out and about discovering the places. This is also the best way to meet people. I use my savings to have a nice meal every now and then.
  • DISCOVERING A PLETHORA OF FOOD AND CULTURES.
    I revisited morning markets, street vendors, alleys, everything. The cheap eats are wonderful though not always balanced. They are beautiful and gives you a way into the local daily grind.
  • LEARNING HUMILITY.
    I have learnt to be more grateful with what I have. People in developing countries do not have much but they are much happier than us in first worlds. Materials are nothing. It is true that we are born into this world with nothing and we are leaving with nothing. Learn empathy and humility and you will be more in touch with everything around you.
  • GOING BACK TO MY SENSES.
    It is important to do things with your hands. And I do not mean things on the computer. I mean making things, cooking, writing on paper...etc. I had been so ingrained in the digital footprint that going back to the basics and doing things that are organic makes me feel wholesome. I am not clicking on the button to get food delivery. I am understand the texture and tastes as it changes from prep to the different stages of cooking. I get better in doing organic things and I am less dependent on people and services. I am my own woman.
  • MINIMALISM IS FREEDOM.
    Traveling with a backpack, soaps and not gels, sachets of shampoo and not bottles, a minimal wardrobe that you wash every few days. Being light is being free and mobile. Souvenirs mean nothing, experiences mean everything. 
  • I DON'T NEED A LOT TO BE HAPPY.
    I still love to eat out sometimes but I am happy cooking and discovering new combinations and techniques. I used to need a lot. Things. Parties. Events. Extravagance. But now, give me some raw ingredients and a kitchen and I am in wonderland. As long as no one takes away my right to discover, to be curious, to imagine and to create, I am as happy as a clam.

If anything, I learnt how to be a better person and a happier person through my backpacking experiences. Living in basic accommodations, with little belonging, just new environments and cultures, foreign languages, body languages, nothing but smiles. I am bringing my new found practices back to my daily grind and I feel I am becoming more fulfilled with every lunchbox I bring to work, with every thing I give away or recycle that I don't need.

How has your life changed in the last few years?

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