While it isn’t exactly a new idea, travelling or backpacking abroad for an extended period of time (six months or more) is often an activity that is wildly celebrated today. And while it is certainly a lot easier to plan where and how to get to places, it is still a massive decision to make, and an incredible experience to go through.
“I think it gives you a perspective that nothing else can,” said Hannah Marie, a California resident who has travelled through Southeast Asia and Australia. “I think that other countries are better at this than we are, for sure, because on a stereotypical basis, we don’t travel and we live in our own little bubble here. We have no idea what the rest of the world is up to.”
While backpacking allows you to see different places of the world and experience new things, it is also a major factor in your growth as a person. As Marie said, whether you are travelling alone or with a friend, fending for yourself away from home for that long can have major implications on you for the rest of your life.
“Travelling gives you something… I don’t even know the word for it… but it changes you,” Marie said. “An appreciation for life and people, and it restored my faith in humanity. If you don’t travel. I feel you’re missing out and stuck at a certain level of ignorance… educated or not. Some things cannot be taught in a textbook but have to be experienced.
Harrison Mortimer, however, a horticulture student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is not one for travelling himself. He disagrees with Marie on the backpacking idea for a number of reasons.
“Well first and foremost, I do not trust anyone to water my plants,” said Mortimer. “It costs a lot and most people come back broke. I have more important things to me here, and if anything were to happen to my loved ones while I was away, I would not be able to handle it. I’m also a very picky eater and I’m not overly excited by things in general. A trip to my family’s cabin on the Sunshine Coast is enough for me to get away when needed.”
While financial stability is a potential issue with backpacking for an extended period, Marie thinks that it is worth the risk.
“You can always make money when you come back home,” she said. “But there’s so much out there that the world and its people have to offer. Luckily for you and I, we know and are eager to experience as much as we can. You realize the overwhelming majority of people are amazing and will welcome you with open arms, because they are generally in the same boat.”