A Transformed View on “Backpacking”

When I found out that I am going to be traveling for a much greater amount of time this year (2014) as compared to the prior years, I was simply ecstatic.  Frantically, a number of countries popped in my head as to where to venture out to next.  And then, naturally, I started writing up an itinerary focusing on maximizing all the places I’m able to see with the limited amount of time I have because the truth is moments like this hardly ever come by. It’s not that it will never happen again.  It’s just that the opportunity is truly so few and far between.

As I get used to the idea that I’m going away for a while on an adventure, I couldn’t help but notice that there is this conflict internally for me.  The best way to put it is I have this disturbing notion that this endeavor is happening at a much later time in my life than initially desired.  In my 20s, it would have been GRAND!  Yes!  So grand that I would jump up and down like a little girl while knowing that I can work my way into the backpacker scene flawlessly. But see, I’m not in my 20s… and it is becoming more apparent that the opposite is happening — I am finding myself approaching this adventure as my stated age (of 37), characterized by the following description: mature, mindful, and cautious.

Boat captain wannabe in South Thailand.

Now, is that such a bad thing?  Possibly not.  I am afraid in some ways to realize that this experience may turn out differently from what I initially imagine it to be as my vision of this adventure occurred in my younger years.  That vision unfortunately did not catch up with my age as time went by so I have to make some conscious effort to grasp the fact that I am backpacking in may late 30s, not mid, ….and not even in my late 20s.  Inevitably, there is a big difference, and for the record, I am not going to be one of those backpackers who are in perpetual denial of that difference.

For one, there is more a sense of responsibility on my end.  I am more conscious of the fact that actions can lead to consequences and we as humans have to ensure that those consequences are ones that are positive, not negative.  As part of growing up and getting older, my backpacking must coincide with my current level of maturity.  Having recognized that to be the case, I have no choice but to be more “adult” like when I’m on the road.  No late night dancing and waking up early to catch the first long distance bus.  No associating myself with just about anyone or anything without determining initially whether doing so would be safe and legal. No jumping off things or engaging in dangerous activities unless it’s some form of high altitude hiking.  Obviously, the list of modified thinking and acting as a result of the many years of maturing can go on and on.

On the upside, I should be more well-equipped to fight off scams and touts while I think it would be fair to say that my negotiation skills have improved over the years. And that virtue we call patience?  Well, that should come handy much more so now than ever before as I have become more approving of letting go of control when things don’t go as planned.  Perhaps this will be an opportunity to fine tune myself as a young-at-heart-adventurer or this may very well turn into my last ditch effort to act as if I’m still in my 20s.  Or perhaps this will be my personal nostalgia as I relive the adventures that I had when I was in my 20s. Whatever it may be, nothing will prepare me for it.  All I can do is embrace the unknown experiences that have yet to present themselves.  I guess that is why this is all exciting and scary at the same time.  I am taking a journey by myself.  But the thing is this has been long overdue and with all the hustle and bustle over the years along with a few hardcore heartbreaks here and there, there is nothing more critical than revisiting my self.

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Brown Gal Trekker is a nomad at heart who survives the mountains to inspire others to trek them.