11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia

 Well hello to you my reader chums! If you haven't seen my latest travel post then you'd missed out on my return from my three-month backpacking trip to Asia. I'm sitting here reflecting and grateful for the phenomenal trip I had - it was an experience for many different reasons.

11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia

If you're planning to go backpacking or are keen to hear about my experience, here are 11 things I've learnt from backpacking Asia.

I can do things I never thought I would

Travelling pushes you in ways you don't ever expect and I'm grateful for an experience to push me out of my comfort zone. The last time I went backpacking, it tested me in a culture shock way, getting used to their norms. However, this time, I had to push myself with culture shocks again, but the main push came from overcoming my biggest fears. 

I'm not a countryside person and still have a massive fear of the water and this trip tested me in every possible way. We went on numerous hikes, in pretty steep mountainous places including the Cameron Highlands, the Pidurangala Rock and Komodo Island. The views I saw from these places were beyond amazing and the skill to reach the top really pushed me to my limits. With the water side of things, I'm so surprised how much I went snorkelling in the deepest parts of the water and jumping off the boat too. Past me would never have done this and I'm very proud I had the encouragement of my partner. 

Authentic street food is the one

The food across the entire three months was simply perfect; I love being able to try various cuisine from the kottu in Sri Lanka, and pho in Vietnam to nasi goreng in Indonesia. The food was always full of flavour and the majority of the time, very moreish. I always found that street food made the best kind of dish as locals have a way of making it extra delicious. And, there's always something really wholesome about watching them make it on their cart or stall. 

I'm very lucky to be English

I'm already aware of how privileged I am to be from the UK and to be born British. However, I didn't realise how lucky I was on the other side of the world as English is the common language everywhere. Most countries in Asia would learn English as their second language meaning locals always knew a little bit of English even if it was only a common phrase. It also meant it was easy to communicate with accommodation staff and any other travellers we met. Because English is also spoken widely on other continents, we had no trouble speaking to other travellers from around the world as that was mutual ground. 

There's kindness wherever you go

I probably already knew this one from the amount of travelling I've done. Although, it was certainly emphasised on this trip with the many locals we met along the way who were always keen to help us out, whether that was offering advice, directions or just generally wanting a photo of us. Despite the many issues with scams and trying to be conned, between that, there were good locals; very happy people who would smile and greet us. 

You can find beauty in the little things 

In the society we live in, we're always aspiring for the big experiences and seeing the most amazing sights. I found that even though experiencing and witnessing the world's wonders was beautiful, the little moments in between were just as great. The times when we were walking through colourful streets, local markets, cycling in villages or watching the sunset. It's the little things which made the trip ever so magical.

Everyone has a story 

Without trying to sound obnoxious, when you go travelling, you realise going travelling doesn't make you special. But, it's learning the reasons why people go travelling is what makes the experience wholesome when meeting people. I loved hearing people's stories, whether that was about them quitting their jobs to travel, moving to a new country or working alongside their travellers. There were plenty of reasons for travellers to go travelling and learning about their backgrounds, who they're travelling with, what they're up to and their funny stories was brilliant to hear. 

Social media is a time filler

Social media is a great procrastination method as when I find things overwhelming, I'll scroll. On this trip, I was so in awe of everything we were doing that there were days I didn't even have any want or mean to scroll and it was really refreshing. It's made me realise I want to spend more time away from social media and when I find my mind wandering, to do something else rather than reach for my phone.

Don't let something bad stop you from doing anything

Although the trip was packed with dreamy sights and experiences, every day wasn't perfect and there were certainly down moments, including a motorbike accident. We were very lucky it wasn't serious but it did shake my partner and me up for a bit. Instead of letting it get in the way of the rest of our travels, we embraced it and continued with all we planned to do. Not everything goes to plan and at that moment you have two choices, but we learnt to not let bad situations stop us from doing anything.

Money isn't everything

In a place where people have so little materialistically, they give so much. The locals I met in every country including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia were happy living their lives. They were empowered by the connections they had with others, the communities and how they lived. Money really isn't everything. It can help you live a comfortable life but at the end of the day, it's not what's going to make you feel fulfilled. Fulfilment comes from connecting with others, learning about new cultures, trying new things and appreciating what you have.

The freedom of travelling is everything 

The freedom of travelling around for a long period of time is enlightening. It's a wonderful feeling getting up every day not knowing what the adventure will bring and not having any responsibility about where you need to be or where you're going. You can be fully present in the moment instead of rushing into a 'normal' everyday life.

It's not important what you do but who you spend it with

The older I get, the more I learn how important the connections you have in life are. This trip especially emphasises this learning point as I saw the way families interacted and spent most of their time with each other. We all have dreams and all want to be something, but what's most important is when you achieve them, who is supporting you. I also realised who were the special people back home and how excited I was to spend time with them when I returned. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. What lessons have you learnt from travelling?

Thank you for reading <3

2 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing what you have learnt from your backpacking experiences, I to have learnt lots from my travels over the years (which I have shared as well), that its always great to push your self even though you maybe nervous, you never know what you can do :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures

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