Monday, August 09, 2010
What is Backpacking?
St. Augustine once said that , “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.
The thrill one experiences while traveling, the adrenaline rush one gets from it is unmatchable. The prospect of being in a new country, exploring it and in the process learning a thing or two on the way , can truly be dubbed as the experience of a lifetime. How one chooses to travel certainly helps determines whether one is a traveler, a tourist or a backpacker.
“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight seeing". Daniel J. Boorstin
The backpacker is not only active , in search of adventure and experience but also in search of a community, a community of like minded travelers who want to see beyond the usual and experience the ‘real’ thing.
Backpacking essentially means a form of traveling which is low cost, independent with no fixed itinerary
‘Sight-seeing’ is not something, that is top on the priority list of a backpacker. A backpacker is more interested in seeing the real place and not just the monumental landmarks. To the backpacker the journey is more important than the destination. We live in a global village today. Traveling is a lot more cheaper, places more accessible. Things couldn't’t have looked better for the backpacking community. Armed with a few essential supplies , these people backpack across the length and breath of a country, making friends along the way, and educating themselves about the customs and traditions of that place.
The experiences that one accumulates while backpacking remain etched in the memory of the traveler for years to come. Living with strangers you met on the way, eating on the roadside, doing your laundry by the riverside- these things are not only characteristic of backpacking, but also the very things which make this experience so special and memorable.
So if you want to experience the real thing grab that backpack and get on. And just keep in mind what Rick Steves once said “Travel like Gandhi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind”.