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Backpacking isn’t always magic and adventures.

Travelling the world, not a care in sight, meeting fascinating people, visit wonderful places and living your dream.

Found a slice of heaven. Up in the jungle lays a fancy Moroccan styled chill out bar with one sensational view of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Paradise.

What’s not to love?

Let me tell you, it’s full of adventures, magical moments, unforgettable experiences but it’s not all sunshine and daisies.

Backpacking – budgeting.

You have to keep things on a relatively low cost. Some people more than others but for the majority, cheap is cheerful. It’ll have to do.

This means big dorm rooms, slow ferries, long night buses, no aircon, basic accommodation and cheap meals.

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It’s difficult to complain while travelling as you realise how lucky you are. I feel unbelievably privileged for my home life. My health and support, my upbringing and love from friends and family. I want to elaborate I’m not complaining but we all know backpacking and long term travel comes with its negative moments.

Sh*t wifi. Dirty un-ironed clothes. Minimal belongings, dirty smelly bathrooms, stiff wooden hard beds, crazy temperatures and awful insects are just some of the things we don’t all shout about.

Bedtime.
Most of the time we don’t know who we are sleeping in a room with. We don’t know the country, city or town, the currency, the people. We just turn up with our bag, a smile, an open mind and time to explore. There’s no better feeling of finding a new destination and venturing out, making friends, discovering new places never the less there are tons of things we have to overcome.

Walking into a dorm of 15 other people, not knowing who they are, where they’re from, what language they speak and leaving your stuff. The bed you get given is your space. The one single bunk bed you will share is your new home for the night.

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Hostels can be the funnest or most relaxed places with the best environment to meet people, I’ve stayed in such awesome hostels all over Europe and Asia but if you’re one for personal space and privacy, you might struggle a little.

Traveling throws all sorts of challenges at us and it’s pretty fun embracing all the craziness but it’s not all luxury. We take the cheapest option and it’s not always the most comfy or cleanest.
We have one rucksack with minimal belongings, no wardrobes of clean ironed clothes, no big double bed, no quick 4G to message our friends.

Still smiling…image

We get tired.

Yes we hang out on beaches, drink beers watching the sunsets in the jungle. We explore fascinating temples and discover busy cities.
Why would we get tired?

We don’t know the city, we don’t know the language, not always sure of the currency. Sometimes we don’t know where we are sleeping that night and always stay aware of what’s going on.

Traveling as a young solo female I have to keep my wits.
I can let my guard down, don’t worry about that and I know how to be silly but always having an idea of where your stuff is, knowing where your hostel is, who’s around you not to mention some of the crazy temperatures is constant. Backpackers know how to have a good time and how to chill out however we always need to have an idea of where we are and who’s around.

Slightly cloudy but spent the day having fun on the beach with new friends, eating French toast and drinking beer! #travel #thailand #gopro #ocean #beach

We take so much in, constantly exploring and discovering. Keeping your wits of your valuables, your health, your safety, your company, your space.

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No we don’t sit in an office all day and trust me, rather the backpacking life any day but we always have to be thinking of all these things.

For friends back at home they see all the photos of the stunning golden sunsets, the hippy reggae bars I find where I get to chill and watch the world go by, not to mention seeing all my new friends and exciting new experiences. I always like to try and remain positive and always want to portray my life and journey the best it can be as it is however there are sides we don’t all like to boast about.

It’s not a constant stress, I feel relaxed 99% of the time despite the odd random situation so it’s no big deal.

Managed to grab a beer on a hammock looking over the rice fields. Breathtaking views of fields of gold and green! #gopro #travel #ricefields

We don’t have days that we just relax in our own space, shove on the TV and watch pointless programmes. We don’t have our pets to cuddle when we are feeling a little low or tired.image

I did find this guy on Koh Samui however …

We have to be adapting almost every minute of every hour, every single day. I want to be 100% all the time but traveling all the time is mentally and physically pretty tiring.
Carrying our rucksacks, keeping hydrated and aware.

We are around cities who barely speak English.

Tokyo / Japan

Where I am now I’m always having to keep things cheap, the weathers humid and sun is hot, wifi connection is poor and it’s not the safest of areas. I don’t feel unsafe or bothered but it’s learning to adapt on your own.

I don’t mind it and I kind of love the challenge but it’s not always easy peasy.
We have love hate relationships with wifi, depending on the connection, which in most developing countries is pretty useless, not too mention small islands. We try desperately to find somewhere with a strong connection just to speak to friends and family or book any accommodation.

When I feel a tad homesick it can take 20 minutes just to find somewhere to get some kind of connection to have a brief chat.
Despite the stresses there tends to be wifi in most places in south east Asia where I am now. Not that it always works but there’s always some kind of resort or Internet cafe with something slightly quicker.

Backpacking and traveling is fun, can be done cheap and there are thousands of us around the world doing it, it comes with challenges, struggles, down days, unpleasant experiences and crazy memories.

Today James and I woke up late, ventured into the centre for coffee & pasty and headed to the floating markets. 40 minutes out of Siem Reap we drove past remote villages, streets of poverty and run down communities. Instead, we decided to not pay $20 each for the markets, go back into the villages and took the families fruit, sweets, water and balloons. We played with the children, met the families & cared for the puppies. Cambodia is such a fascinating, beautiful but remote and poor country. The fact people can live happy like this, shows how much we don't need possessions. Family, friends, hope, love and strength was what I witnessed today. No profit organisations, no tourist attraction. Just a basic community.

Last night I left Siem Reap for the 11 hour night bus down to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I got on the squashed bus, rucksack chucked in the boot and was greeted to a lovely Indian man on my bed. I payed 3 dollars extra to be able to lay down rather than slightly recline with space and a plug socket.

This is your bed and patted the space next to him.
So why an earth are you on it? I thought.

It’s mine too, look b6 & b7.

I could have easily flown in less than an hour with space, convenience, saving time and a shit nights sleep however that’s not how us backpackers work unfortunately. Cheap long ass night bus will have to do.

I awkwardly giggled and sat down slightly unsure where to put myself. We both sat and chatted and he was a lovely young fella who was working in Berlin, Germany from India.

Luckily I managed to somehow grab one spare bed just above the floor below two French girls so that was me.

Being 5’1 it was small enough to maybe fit another child, let alone two grown adults. I barely could sit up and my feet touched the end. I had a random blanket, a broken light above my head and slept right next to the driver and his assistant playing the radio all night, bear in mind this is an Asian station so no clue to what is being said or sung.
Sleeping wrapped in a hoodie, thick walking socks, attempting to block out the music, ignoring the wobbly roads, clutching my teddy and sleeping next to my camera and rucksack I got there in the end.
It all pays off when I arrive, repeatedly saying no the the shouting tuk tuk men, I made a friend, grabbed an iced caramel latte, found a cheap hostel and we headed down the beach where I’m writing this. It’s all part of the experience I keep telling myself. We can’t complain.

These things shouldn’t put you off but remember, it’s not all as exciting and luxury. Backpackers have struggles and challenges, seeing the world isn’t always easy, but it sure is an experience.

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Affordability

So the biggest question I get is, ‘How do you afford this?’

money_2121224b Lets get one thing straight, priotiries.

What you spend your money on is entirely up to you. Whether it’s car insurance, protien and gym supliments, trainers, makeup, fine dining, cigarettes or a messy weekend on the town.

I spend my money on flights and saving for backpacking.

I like my nice things yes, but I just try to make the most of what I have. I get bus’ instead of taxis. I eat out when there is offers, I drink at bars where I know staff who always kindly give me discounts. I don’t have a car to save on money and currently living at my parents house while i’m England, despite never actually spending time in the house.

Either way, home life always costs a lot more then travelling. Rent, bills, we all have to pay them.

One thing I enjoy about living and backpacking to other places is that the cost of living is next to nothing compared to England.

You get so much more for your money elsewhere. I have found doing things is so much more benifical then buying something new. I become overwhelmed with the amount of belongings I have when I come back from being away. I am so happy living out of a rucksack or suitcase exploring new places and meeting new people. I don’t need things to make me happy anymore.

I want to spend my money on living.

My moped, insurance and petrol, rent for my own apartment on my own and gym membership at a 5 star resort came for a month came to the same price as living in a four bedroom flat in Headingley, without bills.

Travelling is not as expensive as you think.

Once I was done at dance school I made the decision to move to headingley with friends. For the first time, I was paying council tax, rent, bills, travel, gym, phone bills, transport, food, etc all out of my own pocket.  I was working full time just to afford my out goings with a little extra to go out and treat myself. I was pretty disgusted at how much I was having to work at 19 years old just to live with a roof over my head, eat and have a mobile phone.

I was living a fun life, having my own place and going on lots of nights out, but this came at a cost, a cost of a lot of working and budgetting.

I now try and distant myself from shopping and over priced unneeded items, instead I think of how much money that could be towards a flight. It almost becomes a little obsessive. I keep comparing the cost of things at home to the cost of things when abroad and it’s a little scary to realise how much money we can waste in England on such small habits.

Like I said, it’s all priorities. It’s how hard you want to work for your money and what you want to spend that on. Sometimes the thought of living ‘reality’ with a full time job, own house and a car, living in the same country doing the same things everyday becomes the norm.

Nothing is impossible and if your priotities are on travelling and exploring other countries, you will be able to do this.

IMG_4536All my belongings ready to travel Europe. This was my bed for the night on the ferry from Greece to Italy!

Want to know more about budgetting while backpacking? Make sure to check out ‘How to budget when travelling’