I’ve met many lost and clueless backpackers during our travels. It seems to me (as many of them said themselves) that they are not making the most of the trip because they didn’t pay for it themselves. It’s not that valuable for them and they see it as totally normal to travel the world on their parents’ dime.
Everybody remembers the feeling – your mom buys you an expensive backpack. You are grateful and say thank you. But then you get the first job and buy yourself an expensive backpack. We all know which one you cherish more. Because you put in the sweat (sometimes literally) into it, many hours, early mornings or late night, many missed hangouts and parties with friends.
And that backpack represents all of it. From the moment you buy it to the moment you carry it with you around the world, it is a symbol of hard work for you.
As you travel, you get addicted. To the people, to new smells and sights and all the other new things around you. You get addicted to the feeling of achievement when you climb that damn mountain or when you are finally able to order your food in fluent Spanish.
And you will work even harder and save even more so you can go on a trip again.
When you pay for your travels from your own pocket, something magical happens. You get a taste of freedom. The real freedom. You experience the new feeling that you haven’t had before. That is the feeling all travelers get addicted to. Freedom.
You forget your worries, you are away from home and you grow as a person while adapting to new environment.
I wish it was that easy and everybody gets to experience that freedom. But it’s not. There are people working hard all of their lives and will never be able to travel. Not only indigenous people from the jungle who don’t even have a desire to travel outside their community (just an example). Those people might as well be your neighbours and you’ll never know.
So don’t try to take advantage of your generous parents to travel longer and go further. You got a nudge from them already. At the end, the responsibility of life choices is solely yours. And by working to fund your travels, you become more responsible, respectful and make your parents prouder. It’s a win for everyone.
Pack the backpack you bought and go out there. You will soon find out that traveling with a sense of freedom is the best addiction ever.
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