The Brutal Truth about Backpacking

Backpacking nowadays sounds so cool and great, huh? Yep, it is. For some people like me. It sounds as a passion, a lifestyle or just simply means a journey a head that we can’t wait to do. But to be honest, behind all the backpacking fun stuff that you might see through traveler pictures and videos, you probably don’t know the brutal truth behind all those cool journey.


  1. You Need Money for Backpacking

Yes this is absolutely the key. No one can travel without having money first. Yes for a backpacker, we really great to cut budget by having a kind of smooth cheap lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, but for all backpackers, we don’t want to spend a lot of money only for bed that we will sleep for few hours in the night. We booked the dorm, the cheapest food and we prefer to use bus and public transportation, no matter how local people said to us that our destination is too far with public transportation, we still prefer the cheapest public transportation. We love free stuff. Who don’t?

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We all need money to buy something that make us happy!

But after all the cost cut, we still need money first to buy our first ticket to arrive to our destination. And for sure we also need money to survive during the trip. There is always a way to minimize our spending, but still, we need our budget in the pocket.  So save first, before you want to go for a long journey.


  1. Fight for Your Fears

Whatever kind of fears. You need to fight for it once you are stepped out from your home. You probably hate to be alone, but sometimes, during the trip, you need to be alone in new places and situation. Or you hate to talk with people, then travel pushes you to talk with strangers and make a conversation. I hate bugs – all kind of them. But during my stay in Rote, I need to face with many of them. Too many! Probably hundreds or even thousand!

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I always feel wanted to die if I see too many this kind of bugs. But life should goes on!

I hate the black bugs fly to my hair and cheeks. I also hate to sleep with the imagination that they are around me. I hate all the little insects that always fly straightly to my eyes and mouth every time I ride the motorbike in the evening. I also hate the animals slaughtering. But if you stay during Christmas in East Nusa Tenggara, you need a strong heart to see or hear the animals crying before they cut it. I also hate when I need to eat their meat for the sake of respecting local culture, which I actually don’t want to eat. But all in all, if you want to keep doing backpacking, you need to fight all your fears.

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Driving motorbike was such a nightmare for me because I had too much time falling, but I should fight my fear.
  1. Bye Bye Beautiful Skin

Backpacking means you are doing everything on a budget. So sometimes you need to accept the condition that the place you stay probably lack of facility than one in your house. I always said to myself, whenever I can take shower, I need to take shower, because for backpackers, showering is really luxurious thing (or probably just difficult to get). For example you need to wait in the airport almost a day. The only thing you can do to make yourself fresh is only by brushing your teeth and wash your face. For a showerholic person like me, I need to shower at least 1 time a day. So I will feel myself so dirty if I can’t shower the whole day.

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I am going tanned and black. Yes, I don’t care.
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Umm… Asian also can get a lobster face! *facepalm…


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Can you see the different color between my real skin with my new skin? 😛

Plus during the backpacking, where I need to move from one place to another, I need to accept the condition that all different weather, pollution, changing atmosphere, can bring my skin to their driest condition. Lately I don’t want to look to myself on the mirror again during my backpacking trip, because I know all the heat only make me have a zebra skin. Not mention about how ugly my feet now… Yeah, goodbye beautiful skin.


  1. If You are a Lazy Person, Skip Backpacking
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No porter for you. You responsible with all your own stuff.

Backpacking requires you to wake up early to catch bus or just simply following the habit of local people you are staying with. It is also required you to take care of yourself, including washing your own clothes, cooking your own food or cook for others, tidying up your bed or just helping your host cleaning the house. And the most important thing if you want to find all the cheap tips to make your journey longer or cheaper, you need to do research, asking information or just simply taking longer route than all those people with money avoid. All things that a lazy person will hate to do. If you are one of that, better you don’t need to try backpacking.

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Searching and searching, the key of backpacking.
  1. You Can Easily Get Sick

Yes this is so true. You probably need to make sure that you have insurance or health insurance, because you never know what you will face during the trip. During my backpacking I always make sure to keep myself clean and health. But disease can always be transferred from someone or something. I got my allergic or probably just bug’s bites over all my body and feeling so itchy for few days. Also you will meet lots of people, you will never know what they bring inside their body. But but, if you are too scare you will get sick, staying home forever is a good idea to do 😉

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Yes, this is also can be happened as well. Sigh.
  1. Those *ss-hurt-full-journey

Ohhh, don’t be jealous if we, the backpackers, found really beautiful places that not so touristic. Yes, we asked the local for that. And yes, sometimes we paid the price to arrive there. Price can be a long hour journey in the bus. I still remember the journey from Manila to Banaue, 10 hours bus ride that mostly people won’t suggest me to do, but when I asked to the local, they say it is actually really possible to do. They normally do the ride, so why then can’t I?

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Beautiful right? I know, I know, It took hours by hours to arrive to this place…

But later on, I know that I need to do trekking again for 4 hours before actually arrive in the beautiful Banaue rice terraces. And everyone easily commented on my Facebook, “Oh Deaaaa, what a beautiful place. I wanna go there with you.” My question then, “Are you really sure you want to hurt your *ss to be there?”

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12 hours in the bus, from Paris to Budapest? For the sake of budget…

Oh, you also want to go to this beautiful beach as well? Actually almost 5 hour drive with motorbike, are you sure?

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I know you want to be here, right? But do you want to be in motorbike for 5 hours as well?


  1. Behind All Beautiful Pictures

This is the lie behind all those beautiful pictures spreading in social media that most people already knew but still so eager to avoid the truth and keep going to that place to see it by our own eyes. Ah yes, including me. That’s why I go travel. Most of the time, I see pictures in the internet first, then I go to see it for real.

But I said it again, behind all those beautiful pictures weren’t so beautiful as how it showed. We won’t capture the rubbish behind us. We won’t capture the dirty area that probably exist surrounds us. Or people behind us. We only want to capture what we want people to believe and perhaps get jealous then also doing the trip. We want people to envy with our discovery. After all, we paid all the effort to arrive to that places, right? Shouldn’t we get a bit applause, at least a like on our Instagram? 😛

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You don’t want to know how long we should wait in line…
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To take a picture like this…
  1. Homesick

I hate to admit it. For an adventurous person as me, I still feel so homesick sometimes when I am away from my home. Mostly I miss all the familiar thing that easy to get at home. Or just to do nothing the whole day on my bed. I miss all the habit and familiar situations. Traveling and meeting lots of people, being in lots of new places, really exhausted sometimes. Indeed it is taught me a lot, but sometimes I just want to scream and say : “Can you all be quiet and bring me back home again?!!”

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Ahhh, I miss my dogs so much!

But only to stay for few days at home before I will also scream again, “Can you all be quiet and please I wanna go traveling again.”

Oh the life of travelers, you are really so confusing.


  1. You Started to be Bored to Explain to People about What You are Doing

In the beginning, you probably don’t know what to say to explain to people what you are doing in their place. Why you did come that far only to visit them. Most local people sees their places as a normal places, they won’t take it as really beautiful place or at least, worth the effort to visit from faraway places…

People in East Nusa Tenggara always look at me with a confuse look and say, “Kakak Nona, what are you doing here? Don’t you think Jakarta is better than here?”

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Are you sure you really want me to explain again? Zzzttt…

Then I will say, that I am backpacking around East Nusa Tenggara to visit places. And they will look at me with more unbelievable look… “Kakak Nona, are you doing backpacking? Alone?” I nodded and they will ask again and again. In first time, when people asked me, I will happily and very enthusiast answer their question. But then, I wish I can record all my answer and just play it on when people started to ask the same question over and over again.


  1. You Kind of Sick Meeting with New People

They say travel makes you meet lots of new people. Yess, that’s for sure. I like meeting with new people. I like to learn anything new from them or just building a networking. But sometimes, I wish that I can freeze my trip, so I will be only in one place traveling around and no need to meet with another new people. Kind of impossible. Especially, during the journey, I will find people who knows people who knows people and suddenly all those people become a part of my life. There is nothing wrong with meeting new people, only sometimes I feel so sick to introduce myself over and over again, and asking about thing to them while thinking what kind of conversation interested for them. And I started to miss my old friends who I can talk about anything, gossiping or just spending time together. All those familiar people that already I know and know me better.

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Meeting new people can be good, but also you need to prepare with all the mess. But I liked to meet you Guido! 😀
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But some of them can be a lifetime friends…
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Or at least being a crazy travel partners…


But hey! James Michener once said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” For me, I chose to keep traveling, no matter what. 😉






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