5 Reasons Why Backpacking Is Your Best Option When You Have Nothing

by Isabelle Thye

Research proves that money can buy happiness through experience, and one of the most common experiences people seek is travel.

What is on your mind before you start a journey? How do you mentally and physically prepare for unknown adventures? What do you seek from your travel experiences?

The essence of backpacking is traveling with minimal needs and the purpose of blending in to local life. When you backpack, your whole life is contained in your backpack, and you only have so much space for things that matter to you.

Contented Mode vs. Survivor Mode

You don’t have to live poorly when you backpack, but you realize it is incredibly easy to be happy, even when you own so little. You feel content for the simplest things in life, like getting a bowl of piping hot noodles without knowing the language.

When you have so little with you, you are more confident to take risks because, well, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Even though you have nowhere to go in the middle of the night, a sleeping bag and very few belongings are all you need to make it through.

Living with minimal needs is a life skill;  what do you need to live the next day, and how do you make the most out of it?

Observe, Grab, Absorb

When you travel on a minimum budget, you follow the lifestyle of a local, middle-class individual: how they travel, what they eat, where they shop, how they interact with each other. And, you stay in a budget-conscious hostel, where like-minded travelers reside.

You observe how people around you live their everyday lives and what the conscious state of local society is. It makes you contemplate the differences between your current environment and from where you came. It forces you to communicate with people from all walks of life.

Problem, Feel Express

It is exciting to be in a foreign land and live your life day to day without much planning.

More often than not, you will stumble upon unanticipated difficulties during your journey. When money is not an option to solve a problem, you learn to be resourceful in looking for alternatives.

You find that life is a series of problem solving, and people are usually the source and solution for the problems. While navigating your way out, you learn to deal with your emotions.

You feel empowered to make decisions when you have nothing much to lose.


The more you travel, the more you see and the more you feel. You will realize there are so many ways to live life.

Whatever problem you had before the journey started will become insignificant as you see bigger problems along the way. What if you lose your job tomorrow?

You know you can always be an English teacher somewhere in Asia. You learn that you can survive anywhere with minimum need. You feel excited about possibilities in life.

What Is Stopping You?

Backpacking gives you the chance to discover the breadth of the world; it opens your eyes to the idea that you do not have to be financially abundant to do many things in life.

Travel is an investment in life in that generates returns like experience, stories, contentment and skills that will broaden your perception of what you are capable of doing.

If you so choose, reach a certain milestone in life before you see the world.