Guest Post by Bailey Busslinger. Bailey is a full-time traveler and blogger currently traveling Latin America with her partner. You can find more about Bailey and her partner Daniel on DestinationLessTravel.com and through their Facebook page.
The Truth about Living out of a Backpack
As I am approaching my 10 month mark of living out of a backpack, someone asked me the other day “how do you do it?!” Nowadays carrying everything I own around on my back is something I don’t think about anymore, it is just a way of life. Then, I was asked this question and I remembered how many weeks it took for me to pack for this trip and how concerned I really was about having such a small selection of “things.”
I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a “girly girl” and having to cut my wardrobe down to about 5 outfits and my eye shadow selection down to one shade, was a bit terrifying. Despite my hesitation, I stuffed that backpack full and left my girly girl ways behind for a long term backpacking trip in South America (and here I am today, nearly a year later wearing the same thing I was that first day when I arrived in Brazil.)
Having only a backpack was a pretty daunting idea for me at first, and I am sure it is to a lot of people who haven’t tried it already. This is my truth about what my life is like, and how it has changed, since reducing my belongings to a 65 litre bag.
Huayhuash Circuit, Peru
How did I choose what to bring?
Like I said, it took weeks of packing and unpacking and it wasn’t easy. I basically brought all of the practical pieces I knew I would need and then added a few favorite things from my wardrobe or make-up collection (there was no room for accessories, only one very small belt.) Of course, I knew not to pack anything white, super expensive, that wrinkles easily, or takes up a lot of room. So basically it was necessities + anything else that I could stuff in there that I couldn’t imagine my life without.
How do I feel about what I packed now, 10 months later?
I hate everything in my backpack. No joke. Those “favorite” things I mentioned before, I hate them too. I have literally worn everything hundreds of times (or at least it feels that way), when you wear something so much there is no way to keep liking it. Not to mention, the awful washing machines and Laundromat’s have destroyed anything I have that was once nice. All of this being said, I was glad I packed practically as a first priority because I did have everything I needed (and being on a backpacker budget doesn’t allow for much shopping.)
Does living out of a backpack affect the way I feel about my travels?
There is so many more things to worry about when you are backpacking than what you wear (sometimes I just stuff my hand in my bag blindly and put on whatever the hell I grab first.) Travelling is such an enriching and eye-opening experience especially in countries where the majority of the population is quite poor, it is incredible to see how some other cultures normally live with so little, so I think, “I should be able to as well.” Travelling is about so much more than the souvenirs you can bring home or the pictures in the trendy outfit you can take. Realizing this allows me to truly focus on my journey and not on my appearance.
Has living with so little “things” affected me as a person?
Absolutely it has. I truly believe in minimalism now and know that stuff does not make a person happy. I have learned to care less about what I have in my bag, and more about the experiences I have. I used to be a shopaholic, I think I have bought only three new shirts in the entire 10 months I’ve been away now. There are better ways to spend my money and time.
What do I have to say to those who think it would be too hard to travel long term with only a backpack?
I promise it isn’t as hard as you think it is. Actually, chances are you will over-pack and end up throwing things away continuously for the first couple of weeks just to make your backpack weigh less. Travelling is such an experience and not having enough “things” should never even cross your mind when deciding whether or not to go on a big trip!
Author: Bailey Busslinger
About the Author
Bailey is a 24 year old Canadian, full-time traveler, and blogger currently on an adventure in Latin America. Along with her Australian partner Daniel, the two quit their jobs and are now on a never-ending (hopefully) journey around the world where they share what they’ve learned and loved on their website www.DestinationlessTravel.com. They hope to inspire others to travel long-term as well as share the beauty of the world with all their followers.
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