Saturday, May 14, 2016

5 things I learned during my recent backpacking

I came back from the solo backpacking around Spain and Portugal last week. Every time I try  to add new threshold to my travel. I always go for comfort travel if not luxury. This time I wanted to stay in hostels and move from place to place like a backpacker. Here are some of my finding and learning from this travel.

Hostel stay – It was the first time I stayed in hostels. Travelling solo and staying in hotels is expensive. With so many apprehensions of me getting used to  hostels I booked hostels for most of my travel. For those who doesn’t know about hostels, these are common budget accommodations in Europe having 6-10 beds in each room. There will be lockers for each one of them to secure their belongings. Hostels are good places to get to know other travellers across the globe. On my first day I did feel like why the hell I ended up here to share the room with strangers. Imagine one wash room for 6 people! As my days moved I learnt to live there. After all I would go out for rest of the day and would return  to bed only at night. It was not as bad as I imagined it to be. At the same time I can’t live like that for all of 15 days of travel. May be next time I will choose a combination of hostel and hotel, with a space for privacy for at least few days.

Slow travelling - I like slow travelling. Going to a place and be stationed there exploring around is what I want and do in many of my travels. But with my limited 15 days of leave and the excitement to travel through couple of countries I was rushing from one city to other. Most of my focus was on how to catch the train and how to reach the hostel. Need to give a lot of thoughts on how can I travel slow with the limitations of having full time job for my next travels. No doubt I love microscopic, snail pace travel than telescopic travels. That’s the way to absorb the mood, weather, ethnicity, architecture of the place and I like the feel of pain when we leave the place behind after you spend few days there.

Cities and countryside  - I love cities. The vibrant city life attracts me. This time I travelled through 5 cities of Europe. But when I travel I would also like to experience the countryside which will be free of hustle bustle providing a lot of time for introspection. It’s not that I avoid cities totally. But in my next travel I may limit to one city spending maximum time in the countryside.

Barcelona view
Camera - I carried my DSLR. I believe in exploring through walking. Ambling for 10-15 kilometers with a day pack which is heavy because of camera is not so easy. Every time keeping the camera inside the hostel locker  is too much for me to handle. I can’t compromise my traveler self for a photographer self. So if I backpack and stay in hostels probably I leave my DSLR at home and carry only point and shoot camera which is not a burden and will allow me to experience recklessly
Packing for Europe weather -  When I checked the weather forecast it was showing 18-20 degree Celsius in all the places I was planning to visit. I thought it wouldn’t be bad and didn’t carry any thick jacket but packed some thermals and fleece. I don’t like jackets spoiling all the colorful clothes we wear. But for my luck weather was very bad except in Barcelona. It was raining in Portugal even in the driest places and the temperature went down. I didn’t want to buy a Jacket to add up to the already brimming wardrobe or to my backpack. Any extra weight on backpack means weight on my back. I survived wearing multiple layers and buying wind sheeter for rain. A good jacket is a must for Europe travel even if need to compromise on other clothes to accommodate space in the backpack

Are you a backpacker ? What's your experience ?
Other links from this travel


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