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Backpacking, or how to travel nice and easy

People still have (maybe too often) this idea that travelling is expensive. It depends on what you want. If you want to go some place as a tourist, yes, it will be pretty expensive. But if you really want to blend in, you have high chances of doing it very cheap.
And before I start rambling on in a long post, I recommend a book about backpacking written by a guy I met on the road, that I still keep in touch with (yup, Marek, that’s you).

  • Pack smart

rst of all, pack your bags in a smart way – so that you still have a minimum comfort on the road. If you’re the king of packing or if you learn from those who know how to do it better and have perfected the process and brought it to an art-form level, you can even get maximum comfort. Kind of like – you have your whole house with you. 🙂

  • Sleep cheap

If you’re going to do it, what’s the point of backpacking if you stay in 5 stars hotels? There are countless guest-houses, hostels, couchsurfing (you can find me here), and the wonderful Work Away.

I wonder why couchsurfing hasn’t caught on in Romania by now? I was talking to a guy tonight who is looking for a host in Romania and he said that people aren’t that active in this part of the world… and the only ones he can find are in Bucharest. Do you use Couchsurfing?
  • What is Work Away?

Briefly about Work Away – you find a place where you want to go (continent/country/city) and you look for the kind of work you would like: from digging, animal-care, painting walls, bartending, teaching, baby sitting, etc. The hosts provide you with free accommodation and sometimes even meals, in exchange for a few hours of daily work (3-5)… this way you can have enough time to visit, but you also get the chance to meet people, live among locals and learn about their culture, habits, daily lives… You actually find out where local people buy their food, and what they do differently from what you’re used to back home.

  • You don’t have to visit everything. Some places are created especially for tourists and they’re not worth it. 

Again, when you travel, you have to carefully choose the places you want to see. Of course if there are important things or places, that are all about culture and tradition, those once in a lifetime kind of things, you should go for it. But if it’s just another science museum, it’s, most probably, not worth it.

  • Don’t do it if you don’t want to

These are just some tips and tricks…. I’m off course from the idea from which I started with anyway – the idea that you can do whatever you want, as long as you’re well prepared for it, you manage your resources efficiently and you learn how to give up on comfort. The most important thing is that you really want it, and have a high capacity of adapting. On the road, and especially as a backpacker, you meet a lot of people. One time, I was approached by a fellow backpacker in the subway in Vienna. Normally I would have thought that I’m in danger, that the guy wants to pick me up,etc… but being on the road, I know that people, and especially the ones who travel like this, are just friendly and in most of the cases, pretty honest. Openness and a strong will. Those are the ingredients.


  • What you have/don’t have at home, what you have or don’t have on the road, how much are you willing to give up on comfort?
And now about comfort. We’ve been living in comfort our whole lives and not every habit can be „untaught”. We’re used to waking up and going to work, we sit all day, we buy ergonomic mattresses and „wonder-pillows” that fix our back problems caused by sitting at a desk the entire day…. Hmmm…. wait, what? Yes! That’s exactly what we do. And no, I’m not the one to judge… I’m there with all of you, but I still find it hard to wrap my head around the idea.
After a while, when we feel that the clock is ticking and life is escaping us, we start buying more things to fill up the void but we realise that life is still escaping us. Useless crap like a big ass TV. The ironic thing is that we don’t even like watching TV, but we can’t just not follow the rules of society, which taught us that this is „the right way”.
If you need security (and you do, we all do, check Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)… It’s funny how we function as people. You do realise we often skip stages. Sometimes we miss esential things but we are somehow afraid to go after them so we keep on building withouth having a proper structure.


On the road, level two of this pyramid kind of gets fucked up. It depends where you go, but both your mind and your body can play tricks on you. If you don’t have a safety net (money-wise), then the need for security of resources is seriously shaken up, needless to say employment is out of the question. Your family is far away, and about property, let’s put it this way: the world is yours!

  • Strong character (or madness)
Those who want to travel, to try new things, to „break the chain” (though the chain is nice – it gives us comfort and security), definitely need a strong character. Just like back home, a thousand good or bad things could happen… you can give up and run back to mommy or you can deal with it and stay strong. It depends a lot on the situation, different approaches, the way you are and most of all, character.
Many people think that the ones who travel a lot have a strong will, many more think that they are crazy.
Eventually… why should we care that others choose to do things differently? We don’t know which way is the right way. Everything is possible and probable, and, as a wise man once said: „It’s all relative” :).

Now it’s your turn! Go ahead and throw rotten tomatoes at me because I’m cuckoo. I challenge you to a debate! Great ideas can come out of it!

Simona Stanescu(1)


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