It’s about being there no matter how big the obstacle, how bad the circumstance, for better OR WORSE! Call me an emo, but maybe the J Geils band were onto something?
‘Backpacking love’, on the other hand, is about living for the moment. It’s about passion. It’s about experiencing new things. Most of all it’s simply about having fun. For this reason I reckon backpacking love is ‘true love’ in its purest form.
Here are my 7 reasons why:
Sure, a swift romance while traveling may be fickle, shallow, insincere and even artificial, but my argument is “who the heck cares?” Reality can be very, very overrated and I’d encourage anyone who believes otherwise to go and stay in a great party hostel for a week. Backpacking is all about experiencing new things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do in everyday life. Carpe diem baby!
The intense passion of a backpacking romance never dies because there is simply never enough time for it to burn out. You know it has to end in the near future, so you have to make every moment count. Also, you are able to dedicate every spare minute you have to each other because you have no other responsibilities. I figure that backpacking relationship months are like ‘doggie years'- I estimate that 1-month relationship in a backpacking context is approximately equal to a 1-year relationship in the real world.
If an official study were to be conducted on ‘backpacking love,’ I’m positive that they would conclude that there is an 83% higher chance for the average person of getting lucky in a backpacking environment then in everyday life. The nomadic life and communal backpacking hostels are the closest thing our generation has to Woodstock and free love. Essentially, it is a bunch of like-minded people, all under one roof, trying to maximize the amount of experiences and fun they can have in any given destination. Sexual experiences are no exception.
It’s a well-known fact that the hardest part of meeting someone is the initial approach. It’s always awkward walking up to a complete stranger with the express purpose of doing or saying anything you possibly can, just to get into their… heart. Adding a language barrier should exacerbate this problem, however in my experience, it does quite the opposite. A pathetic attempt to speak to someone in their own language can score you huge points for cuteness. The more lame your attempt, the better your chances (this is why the pros always carry a single, corny line in at least 10 different languages up their sleeve)! When you can’t communicate with words, let your fun nature and bumbling charm do all the talking.
*Useful tip: Do not let your local buddies “help” you out by giving you a line of what you should say, in a language you do not understand. I cannot repeat what I was given; buts sufficed to say it took me one massive slap to realize that the joke was on me!
Backpackers are typically tolerant, liberal and extremely accepting of others. Love in the real world is governed by unrealistic societal expectations, and people being overly conscious of their own brand value which means they are often guilty of thinking with their head before thinking with their heart. When backpacking you are away from your real life with real consequences. There are no awkward next-day phone calls, no playing games, and no meeting parents. It is simply a mutual understanding between you and the other person that it’s a travel ‘fling.’
When you’re travelling, there is the underlying assumption that there might not be a second date, so you may as well go hard, or go home…alone. You have the luxury of being more forward and impulsive than you would typically be. If you feel you’re getting close and sense a good vibe, why not go for the kiss, you may as well.
*Note: If things don’t work out you can easily just move on to the next destination.
You have the rest of your life for monotony, missionary and double beds. Being in a backpacking environment forces you to be creative about the ‘where’ and ‘how’ if you happen to get lucky. Just remember, if you are in a shared dorm, you are not likely to win friends with your roommates if the squeak of your rusty bed keeps them awake all night.
Clingers: Be warned that there are certain people you will inevitably come across who do not adhere to the underlying rules of backpacking romances. Clingers are adamant on ruining a perfectly good fling by believing that you are the next 'Jack and Rose' from Titanic. They’ll “never let go” so be careful.
STI’s: Make no mistake there can be a significant price to pay if you are too liberal and carefree. STI's are a very real problem. A few years back, a Sydney survey found one in eight backpackers carried the sexually transmitted infection, Chlamydia. Be smart, wrap it up!
And finally, the biggest danger of all...actually falling in love. This is a problem, because as I mentioned true love in the real world is tough enough as it is, but this can be even more difficult as you are likely to be from two different places. However, if it’s the ‘real thing’ you are going to ignore anything and everything that stands in your way anyway… so please disregard everything I have just said and go for it!
Behind the Backpack
Kevin Lippy and Dean Ginsberg are broke backpackers who decided to start a website called Brokepacker.com which is all about discovering the best ways for backpackers to maximize their experiences within the limits of their budgets! They live and travel by the principle that every single dollar saved is a dollar that can contribute to another experience, another adventure and ultimately another day.
You're travelling for a long time and you're on a budget? That means staying at cheap hotels, in places with no standards of quality.
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