I’m Days Away from My First Backpacking Trip
And I can’t stop thinking something will go horribly wrong.
* Republished from a time circa 2016 *
I am a little less than a week away from hitting the European rail system. I’ll be on the move for 36 days.
It’s my first ever backpacking trip around Europe. I’ll see at least eight countries, probably more.
I’ve read so much about great backpacking trips.
Stories of travelers meeting lifelong friends. Running into life-changing opportunities. Days that alter their whole view on life. And moments that change their career trajectory.
How am I not supposed to be nervous for all that to hit me simultaneously?
I am ecstatic. So much so, that I have already mock-packed my backpack twice and I am still 5 days away from departure.
The minimalistic living part of it gets me most excited.
My personal challenge is to keep my backpack’s weight under seven pounds — this not including my laptop.
But I can’t help but think I am in way over my head with this trip. I’ve never traveled without my car. Without cell phone service (I won’t have a European SIM card). Or even a general sense of what to expect.
The thought of having nowhere to sleep at night scares the hell out of me. Especially in a country whose people speak a language I’m not familiar with. With no capability to travel to a new destination or call anyone for help at a moment’s notice.
Of course, I’m being a bit dramatic. There will always be a place for me to sleep. But what if I get caught in a jam? What if I end up in the middle of nowhere? I can’t move to the next town without reserving a train ticket in advance.
My last-minute worries are running wild.
Why would I do this alone? It would be much better to have a friend tag along, right?
Actually, I prefer solo travel. There are dozens of benefits you don’t have when traveling with someone. Plus, I’m worrying about nothing. I can always make friends on the road.
If you bring a friend along, you can never truly be alone. Alone time is necessary for self-reflection. That’s much more important than feeling comforted with a friend at my side.
Don’t let being alone be what keeps you from taking the damn trip. Rather, bask in it.
But I’ve got a slim sliver of hope.
I might live out one of those all-time backpacking tales. One that’s hardly believable that I tell for decades upon decades.
All you can worry about is what you can control.
Make sure you are prepared. Physically, mentally, and financially. After that, the rest is history.
Fate has a funny way of taking you exactly where you need to be.
There is no reason the days leading up to a backpacking trip should not be the most anxious days of your life. But with the anxiety should be a load of excitement. You’re about to travel to a different continent. Go out and live it to the fullest!
And remember, if you need advice before or during your travels, you can always contact me.
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