Sunday, November 2, 2008

Backpacking doesn't mean you have to carry a backpack

I saw this blog post on Lonely Planet titled "Backpacks - are they really necessary?", and it struck a chord with me.

I think backpacking doesn't always involve carrying backpacks. To me backpacking means exploring a foreign country on a low budget (read: no luxurious hotels, budget meals and public transport). Does it mean I've got to carry a backpack to feel like I've experienced backpacking? I don't think so. I've been to 3 backpacking trips, and I've only used a backpack once out of the 3 occasions.

That was to Taiwan, for about 2 weeks. I wasn't that seasoned as a traveller yet, and brought too many changes of clothes and many other unnecessary stuff. It was a back-breaking affair for me, while trudging up and down the Taiwanese streets the first day of arrival, while trying to find our hostel. Add to the fact it was a 45 litre backpack that looked like it was 3/4 my size and me looking like I was ready to keel backwards by the weight, I was quite a pathetic sight then.

Since then, I've learnt my lesson, and used the wheelies. I used it for the Europe trip and it was quite a liberating experience - to pull along your luggage instead of struggling with it on your back.

That's me and my wheelies at the Venice train station

However, even with the wheelies, I've had quite a problem carrying up the luggage on the overhead compartments on the trains in Europe. And so I've had to trouble Mr Irish or Ms Rehau to help me (since they're so much stronger), much to my embarrassment. I REALLY, REALLY hate troubling others, it makes me feel rather helpless, inadequate and a burden to others.

Thank you Mr Irish and Ms Rehau for your help during the trip! Although I didn't always ask for help, I guess both of you, being astute, could see right away from my petite, struggling frame that I needed help, each time I attempted to carry my luggage up and down the stairs, train and overhead compartments. I resolve to train my biceps and triceps and become stronger!

In any case, I'm not about to relinquish my trusty wheelies any time soon. If I still have problems carrying it up the overhead compartment, I'd just have to ask a nice gentleman for help. =)

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