9 Things Nobody Told You About Backpacking

Deal with Frustrations.

According to backpackers, people of literally e-v-e-r-y country in this world are super friendly, kind, hospital and open towards foreigners. Come on, this is too good to be true. Every country has its good and bad people. Local people benefit from tourist in many ways and they often adapt artificial kindness as well. It can always happen to get robbed, or ripped off. Luckily, the big-hearted people far outweigh the bad ones. I´ve been saved and rescued in so many situations. In many occasions I was invited by locals and made deep friendships with them. But backpacking means getting to know both sides and deal with frustration about local culture as well.

Being Dirty.

The days where you have unworn and fresh washed clothes in you backpack is relatively quickly over. Then it is only a decision between worse and worst. Your sweaty dirty shirt will become your new evening suit and this is mainly because the rest in ur rucksack smells of beer and curry which is far worse. You don´t notice oily hair, dirty nails, unshaven legs or smelly clothes anymore. When they ask you about random filthy toilet in a train station in India, you´ll say "it is completely OK". And the 3 Dollar grubby hostel in Nepal suddenly becomes "superclean".


Yes, travelers really do that. And no, I don´t want to hear you having sex in a 8-bed-dorm room in a hostel. Or in a bus. Or in a over-night-train. Ever. Your moans of pleasure are fake anyway and we have seen your white ass in yesterdays rafting session already. A private room is not so much more expensive than you two pay for a dorm-bed.

Endless Tiredness.

You go to bed late, because you were waiting for a free computer at the hostel reception. You go to bed late, because you just make a quick Skype call home which turn into a hour long conversation or so or you could not resist again to join your fellow backpackers at the party. You wake up super early to take photos of the spectacular sunrise. You wake up early to benefit from the hostels free breakfast and be at the tourist spots before everybody else is there. When you can decide between a 40-minute flight or a 16 hour bus journey you´ll take the bus journey of course because you want to see more of that country. But again, you rarely sleep. Most of the time you stay only one night in a hostel, that's why you have to check out at 8am. Local buses leave too early as well and mosquitoes won´t let you sleep at night.

Telling the same stories.

There are five questions, you will be asked over and over again. In every hostel, by every fellow traveler on the road, from any couchsurfing-host: "Where do you come from? Where have you been so far? How long are you traveling for? Where are you heading next? What was your scariest experience? Unfortunately it often turn into a kind of competition between travelers. Especially in hostels. These knowing-everything-better-backpackers have been everywhere and did everything. Of course. They give you advices (You seriously have to go there to / have to try) and they always name people and places – by wrong pronunciation - to show off (If you go, ask for Swapoo, this guide is awesome / When I did rafting in Mawlaik...) I´m just saying...

Reverse Cultural Shock.

Backpackers are prepared, they know where they heading to and most of the time have realistic expectations. Their hygeniec standards and idea of comfort has already lowered, especially when being on the road for months. Therefore, a reverse-cultural shock is much more likely than a cultural shock in the actual country. When you come back home, you are surprised how quiet traffic is, you are overwhelmed by the choices you have in the supermarket and can´t understand your friend always being super punctual.


Printing your next flight ticket in an internet cafe or logging into the free wi-fi of your hostel is enough. There are spywares everywhere. Personally it happened several times, that my notebook got a virus and suddenly all my travel photos were gone. Flash memory drives are also very vulnerable for those nasty viruses and so far I had to buy a new one after every journey.


Oh damn it. Bedbugs wait in almost every hostel across Asia and it is like playing lottery whether you lie down in an effected bed or not. If you are not infected yet, you definitely have to help fellow travelers who desperately looking for a pharmacy. I got them in a monastery in Myanmar. Annoying and itchy!

You are alwas on.

Backpacking is not the relaxing beach holiday where the hotel staffs serves you cocktails and pre-washed fruits for lunch. In fact, you have to take care about every detail yourself, especially when traveling solo. Where does the bus depart? How do I come to that city? Can I buy the ticket in advance? Where can I wash my clothes? Most of the time you can never trust local people in terms of times and directions so you always have to double check it. You always concentrate 120 percent in order not to get ripped of, pay a hilarious taxi fare or change your money on a crazy exchange rate.