“I thought I was a freak, to find other freaks like me in Europe,” said a reader of the blog on the opinion poll we conducted a few months ago, “the sites I read, I get the impression that travel the world of backpacking just to young people”. In the field to inform the age, she was one of the few people to mark the options they were between 45 and 64 years: only 8.6% of our readers.
You can’t blame her for feeling that way. All media generated around the lifestyle backpacker always shows young people carrying their mochilões, interacting with locals, practicing extreme sports. In the collective imagination, the figure of the backpacker is the traveler in his twenty years, no kids, coveted jobs, funding, time to go back home and with a lot of willingness to travel for long periods with a tight budget.
In the blogosphere, numerous blogs and social profiles that share tips and experiences of backpack and other outdoor equipments from polyhobbies.com contribute to this: the vast majority is young, perhaps because they are part of a generation that has more affinity with digital media.
And maybe the reader wasn’t wrong to see that mochileiras like her are rarer. Everyone who has ever made a trip the guy knows that it is not impossible to see people with their 50 years of backpacking, but a chance to bump into fellow newer road is much higher. And it’s easy to understand why.
Not everyone accepts some restrictions mochileiras after a certain age. Starting with the weight of the backpack, although this is not an indispensable item.
On the other hand, I know many young people who do not identify with this style of travel and prefer the packages, groups, the resorts and the perks. So, I wonder if age has something to do with all this. To me, it seems more a matter of lifestyle, a way of exploring the world.
Who is backpacking in the end?
Although the image of the backpacker is always associated with dorms of hostels and many hassles in the name of economy, which can even scare older people, these characteristics, although present in many cases, are not the defining life backpacker.
In my view, the backpacker is the one who prefers to invest in experience at the expense of comfort (so it’s hard to imagine a backpacker in a Caesar) and shopping. Is who travels seeking to learn from the destination and not just a break from stressful routine. Is anyone seeking trade with the locals because it believes that the exchange between cultures is good for humanity. If not even the backpack is essential, let alone age.
Why backpacking in the half and the best age?
Backpacking with more money in their 20 years
In General, the financial situation of people tends to improve. Of course this is not a rule, and many things can happen along the way to make it not be true in one’s life. But largely, this is how it works. Therefore, you will not be required to go through various situations that younger backpackers face not because they like, but because they need, which can improve enough to your trip.
I can see the effects of it. Today I travel with more money than traveling to 23, when he made it around the world. And do many different things. In Hong Kong, for example, barely met the local cuisine because I needed to contain-and-spending, and the Big Mac combo there was the food cheaper than I could buy. On other occasions, I ended up dropping experiences as tours, diving and surf lessons because I just couldn’t pay for them.
Among the English-speaking backpacker community arose a few years ago, the flashpacker. The term is used to refer to travellers, many of them older, who gave an upgrade in style backpacker travel and stay in accommodation more comfortable and want a higher service standard, but without abandoning the spirit of freedom, and experience of mochilões. I think that’s silly. To me, these people are still mochileiras, but with a bank account fatter than the other.
You’ve gotten smarter over time
40, 50, 60 to years, you don’t see the world the same way as the 20. At least that’s what they told me. You will interpret events and learnings from your trip in a way quite different from that which would interpret to 20 years. You will get more wisdom to deal with different situations and understand foreign cultures (I hope so!). Not to mention all the baggage of knowledge that you have been accumulating along the life has to count for something, doesn’t it?
You only live once
You might not have had the chance to travel when I was younger and regret it, but think it’s age. That time will never come back. You can never go backpacking at twenty again, but what’s to stop you from doing this now? This is the moment you have in your hands and there is no other better. A few years ago, at the beginning of the 360meridianos, we wrote about a Mr nonagenarian that scared the whole family when he decided he was going to start travelling. “I didn’t want to make it to 95 and regret not having traveled to 90,” he said.
You decide everything
“I want to go backpacking, but I’m too old for hostels. So don’t stay in one! Go to a rented apartment, a guesthouse or hotel-boutique or, if you want to rent a private room in the hostel (has many advantages in one, believe me!). “But I can’t handle more than hitting leg all day!”. Just make scripts more peaceful, spending long periods in places and abuse of public transport. Whatever your traveler/backpacker travel restriction, is there a way to get around it. The advantage of being an independent traveller is precisely that: the final word is always your. No rules, no labels, no problem.
You will refresh your mind
That goes for everyone, but I believe that older people can benefit even more the possibility of contact with new ideas, ways of living and thinking. After spending a lifetime in contact with a thought pattern, can be very interesting and enlightening to find out what the rest of the world has to say about life, religion, love and happiness, for example. Not to mention you will still break the repetitive cycle of days and come back perhaps with an entirely different vision of your own life.
Want to be inspired? Explore the history of a backpacker to 95 years.