10 reasons, why you are never too old to go backpacking
When I told an old friend from school about my last backpacking trip around Romania and about how I spent a sleepless night half drunk in a cheap dorm in Bucharest together with snoring people from all over the world, he looked at me irritated and asked: Are you not too old to go backpacking? What he meant was: Shouldn’t you travel in a more grown-up way at the age of 36? Shouldn’t you invest money to have more comfort? Basically: Shouldn’t you do more things, that society expects of you?
But honestly, there are so many stupid ways of traveling, that are considered mature. I imagine myself suddenly carrying a gray trolley around with carefully folded dresses, spending the evenings in the lobby of a hotel, sipping a colorful alcohol-free cocktail exchanging empty smiles and small talk with men in well ironed shirts. Or even worse: Hanging around in a package hotel and pushing away the bald-headed pensioner in the line in front of me of the dinner buffet, because he was about to get the best piece of a lasagne? Is that, what adulthood means for travelers?
It would be my worst nightmare.
Are you too old for backpacking? Never!
In case, you have doubts, keep in mind these
10 reasons, why you are never too old to go backpacking!
The most important thing about traveling is: Never ever think about the date in your birth certificate, when it comes to the way of traveling. Just listen to your heart. If it asks for adventure, then get the adventure started.
Backpacking basically just means traveling independently and discovering the world without any limits set by travel agencies, tour groups or your own heavy suitcase. Why should that be a privilege hold by people under 30 or 40?
Don’t worry: You won’t be the only one older than 30 or 40 years old. Everywhere I have been traveling so far, I have met travelers of all ages with completely different backgrounds. I’ve even met ladies in their 60s and 70s carrying backpacks. If you don’t have a problem with your own age, the others certainly won’t.
Backpacking keeps you mentally and physically fit. It’s a good training for every person of every age.
Nowadays, travelers of all ages stay in hostels. But no one ever said, that backpacking necessarily means sleeping in hostel dorms. Sure, it can have some advantages. It can mean meeting new people, meeting fellow travelers, exchanging travel stories or even getting new perspectives of life. Especially, when you travel by yourself, hostels can be a good option. And not every person older than 30 doesn’t necessarily wants to sit alone in an anonymous hotel room. There are many older travelers, that understand the advantages of hostels already. Often there are even single or double rooms in hostels available, where you can combine the social environment with a good nights sleep. And even if you don’t get sleep, you will have something to talk about afterwards.
You don’t have to stick to backpacking clichés. No one said, that you need to take part in common low quality food dinners or pub crawls organized by a hostel. No one expects you to have six vodka red bulls and to get sick on the floor of the dormitory. In a hostel, there are always different kinds of people of all ages around. Try to choose the right hostel or accommodation for your mindset. Online references will tell you a lot about if you are booking a party hostel or a relaxed retreat. And be aware of where you are traveling. Australia’s east coast might host more teenage party travelers than Myanmar’s hill tribe villages.
Backpacking can be a good way to safe some money and still be able to see the world. You just live once. Not every person over 30 years old has automatically the money to go to a good hotel. And not being rich at a certain age is absolutely no reason not to go traveling.
Life experience can make a backpacking trip even more beautiful. Going backpacking at a higher age can mean, that you often appreciate certain things and little details more: The beauty of a moment, the stunning landscape, the meaning of a smile, the understanding of the political situation in a country, the feeling to be free.
Backpacking for a longer time at a higher age can mean, that you are not so much under pressure to prove yourself being a valuable member of society in getting a good job soon, finishing university or do whatever someone else or even yourself expect you to do. Traveling at a higher age, you might be more relaxed and able to fully enjoy your journey.
Especially, if you don’t have a travel mate, backpacking can offer travelers an opportunity to break out of a too well-structured environment. You get the chance to experience a different lifestyle and to reflect on your own life. At the same time, you don’t need to feel stupid about traveling or being on holidays alone.
Don’t listen to all the people, that want to make you believe, that backpacking is reserved to a certain age. That sharing a dormitory doesn’t suit your age in a time, where many people on this planet doesn’t even have one room to themselves. Many people do not even have a home.
It’s such a luxury to be able to discover the world. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford traveling, don’t let others dictate you how. And even if backpacking means spending the night on a seat in the long distance train to safe the money for a hotel. Even if that means spending a night in a mega-bad fleabag. So what? You will survive and take some interesting memories and entertaining stories with you.
Seriously almost no one can discover the whole world in his 20s. It’s a never-ending process. And the way, this process can change yourself, has nothing to do with your age or the quality of the room service or your pillow. It has to do with how curious and open-minded you are and stay in the future. The people, that don’t understand or even discourage backpackers older than 30 have probably never ever tried or enjoyed backpacking themselves. So if you feel like backpacking, don’t waste your time with doubts. Get your stuff packed!