After 5 months of traveling, it’s time I head back to San Francisco! I’m landing back home at San Francisco Airport soon and look forward to slowly catching-up with all of my friends when I get back.
To summarize the trip, here’s some really cool things I learned from my travels. Here’s my Top Five 5 Travel Tips from a Five Month Global Backpacker:
1. A smile is universal – There has to be something universal about the human smile. No matter if you’re in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Qatar or Spain, a smile communicates the same thing: “Hi, I’m friendly.” It goes a long way.
2. Food Sickness – Every backpacking trip is incomplete without one. You treat it like a traffic jam — you don’t like it but you know it’s coming. I landed on Monday, binged on local street food (which probably sped up the process), and was sick by Wednesday. Felt better after 2 days of resting and taking some local meds.
3. Backpacker’s Five 5 Questions – By now, I’ve met dozens of fellow travelers. And interestingly, every backpacker conversation starts with the “Backpacker’s 5 Five Questions” (not the official name, but what it’s commonly referred as): What’s your name? Where are you from? Where are you going? How long have you been traveling? What’s your favorite place? It’s a nicer way to get acquainted with someone and, unlike in the States, the topic of a person’s occupation hardly comes up.
4. Losing Track of Day/Time – When you’re traveling for long periods, everyday is a Saturday. You didn’t have anything to do today and you don’t have anything planned tomorrow — so you stay up late, sleep in, and when you wake up, you do it all over again. When you’re traveling, time moves in blocks of 1-2 hours; thinking past tomorrow is considered “long-term planning.” Plan accordingly.
5. Take a vacation from travelling – When most people think about traveling, they think it’s 24/7 travelling … where you’re constantly seeing sights, museums, etc. Interestingly, you do need a break from travelling too often, but it’s something that you definitely need to plan in especially for the long term travelers. (I found myself taking a break every 4-6 days). Many travelers may fail to do this and in turn, will have to completely rearrange their schedule when they hit a wall of tiredness after 5 straight days of exploring, trekking, backpacking, traveling or whatever it is you’re doing. So what does a traveller do to take a break? My favorite escape was reading a book or riding a motorcycle. Other travellers fancied: massages and staying in their hotel rooms.
Anyway those are my Top Five Tips for Backpackers and Travelers.
But wait… there’s more….
Pics of Miguel when he came to visit Vince, along with their good friend Chris in the Philippines.
Full Story of them doing THE PLUNGE (bungee swing) here –
Just as a side note, here are a couple more things I noticed on this five month global journey that I took:
Americans don’t travel in proportion to our world population. That’s one of the things you notice after spending a few months abroad: Americans don’t get out of the country as much as other people from other countries do. To put things into perspective, here’s a ranking of 3 country’s populations: United States (300 million), England (52 million) and Australia (23 million); on the other hand here’s a ranking of the number of travellers I met from each country after my first few days backpacking: England (20), Australia (9) and United States (5).
You look forward to going back to work! (and other things) That’s right, after 5 months, I started missing work … a lot! That said, am excited to get back into my career, start the law school application process, and being back with all of my friends. REALLY looking forward to catching-up and seeing all of my friends soon.
When In Manila…. I mean, When Backpacking around the world, take note of those Top 5 Five Travel Tips for Backpackers and Travelers to ensure you have a fun and well informed trip!
This post was written and contributed by Miguel Palma and edited by Vince Golangco. Miguel Palma was one of Vince’s roommates back in college at San Diego State University (SDSU) in the legendary Adobe House! Together, they threw the best parties and lived life like no other. Today, Vince and Miguel are both citizens of the world and both constantly look forward to the next adventure that life may bring onto them. Follow their journeys here on WhenInManila.com.
Top Five Travel Tips for Backpackers and Travelers from a 5 Month Global Backpacker