Many people claims travelling to be the best education. They also say that you learn from your mistakes.
Sometimes I think of mistakes like a subject in school. Some people find it naturally easy while some people struggle a bit to get their heads around it. Some people need to do one mistake before they learn not to do it again while others need to do the same mistake several times. In this case I belong to the second category. And the most useful lesson my backpacking education have brought me is that I don’t learn from my mistakes.
To prevent others from committing to the same mistake as I did I have listed 10 things NOT to do while backpacking. To share my experiences and expand the views of travelling.
1. Don’t put your money belt away
I was only 4 days into my trip when I was going on a night bus between Bangkok and Koh Tao. I had one of these money belt strapped around my waist keeping my valuables safe. However I found it highly uncomfortable as I woke up in the middle of the night so I took it off and put it in my handbag under the seat. Needless to say that there was no money left when I got off the bus in the morning.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute before withdrawing money
While travelling you might find that not every single ATM will except your card. When I arrived in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) in the ridiculously early morning I realised that I had used up every single penny. I went to all the ATM’s in town before I facing the horrible truth that none of them would accept my Visa card. Tired, thirsty and hungry after a long local train ride I saw myself on the dark empty streets with not even enough cash to get me a bottle of water.
3. Don’t put you credit card in an ADM
I mean, what is an ADM anyway? Apparently it’s where you deposit money, and if you don’t have any money to deposit they’ll simply take your card without further explanations.
4. Don’t travel with only one credit card
For obvious reasons.
5. Don’t forget to pick up your laundry
I handed my clothes in for laundry one day to be collected clean and folded the next morning. I overslept and had to run to catch my departing boat. A 48 hour journey later I realised that I had forgot my laundry in all the destress.
6. Don’t bring you non- waterproof camera on a water festival.
Ever heard of Sonkran? It’s the Thai way of celebrating their new year in April with the biggest waterwar in the history. Everyone from the oldest generation to the youngest kids, backpackers and businessmen get involved all across the country. Everyone dressed in waterguns and waterproof bags. Having photos is fun, but think twice before bringing your camera out.
7. Don’t try to break into your guest house even if you lost your kee
My friend and I had a few drinks too many during a festival in Thailand. She lost our room kee during the day and was in a desperate need of a lie down due to her drunken stage. I simply kicked the door in to put her in bed which cracked parts of the walls. The owner was not happy when he came back the next day watching me on the cameras and we had to pay TBH 10000 for the damage
8. Don’t leave your backpack with strangers
I was standing on the pier in Bali ready to board the boat to gilli Island when a local guy approached me and changed my recite to a valid ticket. He then told me he’d carry my big bag on to the boat for me. I didn’t think twice before handing it over as its not an unusual procedure in Asia. He disappeared out of sight and I never saw my backpack again.
9. Don’t have that goodbye party the night before an early morning departure.
’It’s my last night, let’s party!!!’ Is a classic quote when travelling. You obviously want to have a last drink with the friends you’ve made. However, if you’re leaving early in the morning you might realise, as the night grows darker and the beers heavier, that theres not really any point of going to bed at all. A great idea until the alcohol knocks you out and you wake up way pass departure time
10. Think twice before getting into a car with strangers
I’m all for hitchhiking. It has brought me a long way through my travels and led me to amazing places, people and experiences. However it is important to realise that not everyone is to be trusted. I had a quite unpleasant experience hitchhiking in the Northern Territory of Australia. Read my full story here:
When hitchhiking, be careful and keep it to the big and well trafficked roads. A good idea is to take a photo of the register number of every car you get into and send it to a friend.
What I’m trying to say is that I needed to get my backpack stolen, needed to get robbed and to loose all my cards before I learned to be more careful with my belonging. I needed to miss 10 different long distance busses before realising not to get drunk the night before. I needed to face uncomfortable and scary situations before acknowledge that not everyone can be trusted. And still I don’t wish anything to be undone. Mistakes is what brought me to who I am today. I don’t want to live in regrets and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Travelling is not always easy, but it is always worth the trouble.