Traveling long-term isn’t for everyone. First of all, not every individual is able to jet off to the other side of the world for months on end. And not everyone wants to. But if you have an adventurous side and you’re up for the challenge of long-term travel, it might just be the most rewarding experience of your life.
Once you decide that a long-term backpacking trip is for you, it’s time to decide on a location. There is nowhere else in the world that compares to Asia when it comes to traveling for months on end. There is so much to see, so much to do, and you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck in Asia. Not to mention, immersing yourself in new cultures is the best way to learn about the world, as well as yourself.
This guide will give you a clear picture of what it’s like to spend months or even years in the stunning Asian continent.
You’ll Learn to Stop Thinking About Things
Once you spend a significant amount of time on the road, your entire perspective on the concept of possessions will change. Instead of worrying about the things you have, you’ll start focusing more on the experiences you have. Part of the reason for this is that traveling with a lot of possessions is difficult, and opting for a lightweight backpack is much more conducive to long-term backpacking.
That’s not the only reason, though. Traveling through Asia will open your eyes to new cultures, and many of these cultures don’t put the same value on possessions that citizens of the Western World do. It will quickly become obvious that you can be just as happy without tons of possessions getting in the way. In fact, you might discover that minimalist living brings you more happiness than you could ever imagine.
You’ll Learn to Fend for Yourself
Traveling through foreign countries is the ultimate way to learn how to be independent and fend for yourself. That being said, do your best not to rely on other travelers all the time. This will be an option, especially if you choose to stay in social dorm settings. But try to figure things out on your own when you can. You’ll quickly learn about helpful tools to help you along the way, like Google Translate, Bookaway Thailand, Skyscanner, and Hostelworld.
You’ll Learn How to Budget
Unless you are traveling on your parents’ tab or you’re just inherently rich, don’t expect to stay in luxury hotels and dine in 5-star restaurants. Sure, this is completely acceptable for short-term vacations that last only one or two weeks. Typically after these luxury vacations, you head back home and start working again right away, eventually making enough money to go on vacation next year.
Chances are you’ll be staying in dorm rooms, budget hotels, or maybe you’ll rent an apartment for a month or two. Whatever you choose to do for accommodations, you’ll learn the importance of budgeting. Not only do you need to pay for a place to stay, but also all of your food, transportation, and don’t forget about adventure activities.
You’ll Learn to Be Creative
Creativity goes hand-in-hand with budgeting. As soon as you realize you’re getting low on cash, it’s time to get creative. Maybe you start looking for couch surfing stays, learn to cook your own meals, or even start working in exchange for room and board. Many long-term travelers take advantage of a program called WWOOF.
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. There are tons of farm jobs available around the world, especially in Asian countries where the land is extremely fertile. When you sign up for a WWOOF program, you’ll work in exchange for a place to stay, and sometimes you’ll even be fed three meals a day.
Another similar program is Workaway, which is even more popular in Asia than WWOOF. Workaway doesn’t specialize in just organic farming but instead offers a wide range of exchange opportunities. The most common Workaway opportunities can be found in hostels. Typically Workaway programs require you to work just a few hours per day in exchange for a place to sleep.
You’ll Learn About Yourself
Not only will you learn some valuable life lessons while on the road, but there’s also a good chance you’ll learn about yourself along the way. Traveling makes it easy to learn about likes, dislikes, and what you ultimately find most important in life. All in all, becoming more connected with the world is the best way to become more connected to yourself.