The other day I dug up my old backpack that has been withering away neglected at the back of our wardrobe. It’s been over six years since our last big trip. Our once so beloved backpacks gave way to suitcases just like multi-week long journeys were replaced by several shorter escapes. As we are getting ready for our next adventure to New Zealand, I can’t help but wonder: What if we lost it?
With age we definitely became more spoiled as travellers. I would go to great lengths to avoid boring motel rooms and would opt-in for a four-course meal with wine pairings without blinking an eye. But did we also become the follow-the-crowd tourists that we used to look down upon in our student years? And most importantly: is this making us less accomplished travellers?
My worst fears will be confirmed if…
- We get scammed
In our backpacking years we were quite skilled at avoiding all kinds of travel scams. We did invest in a precious handmade batik painting (at a ridiculously good value, mind you!) in Java once. But then again, not many tourists are lucky enough to stumble upon a group of underestimated artists whose work will be worth millions some day (still waiting for that to happen). Just to be able to observe them at work was worth paying for!
Apart from that we’ve been known to walk out of Asian taxis if the meter was miraculously broken down. Would I still be bothered with that today? Probably not, especially if the price of the whole ride was less than we pay for coffee today.
- I pack too much…of wrong stuff
The concept of weight loses importance when you can transport everything and then some in the boot of your rental car instead of carrying it around on your shoulders. So does the ability to pack all your stuff back into the same bag every time you change location. As long as you don’t exceed the airline weight limit you’re fine.
I used to survive several weeks with only three changes of clothes. In today’s terms that would be roughly what I pack for an overnight trip. Because, just in case (the weather changes / I am unexpectedly invited to a restaurant opening / I might feel the need to go jogging / any other unlikely thing to happen). How am I going to pack for a month of camping is beyond me. All the while I am theoretically aware that they DO have laundries in New Zealand.
- I totally overplan the whole trip
If we approach a 4-week long trip with the same attitude as we do a weekend getaway, we might
a) end up on the verge of financial ruin, (especially with New Zealand prices, damn, I should have checked before we dropped the pin)
b) need another holiday too recover when we return home.
So while I am putting together our itinerary, ticking off the places we want to see, I need to keep reminding myself that I should plan in some time for mundane things like washing (see above), or just doing nothing at all. Planning was so much easier before the internet era!
We will probably fail at some of the above (packing would be my safest bet). If we fail entirely, I will firmly believe that we’ve lost our globetrotting mojo and have crossed the point of no return on our way to group travel.