Tell me if this sounds like you:
“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just fling myself into an epic, no-holds barred backpacking trip around Asia, but it’ll be too hard so I’ll probably never do it.”
Did you answer yes? Congratulations! You’re ready to go.
If you’ve ever had that nagging yearn to spice up your life with a plunge into Asia, the other side of the world, where you won’t speak the local languages, you don’t really know where to go or how to get there, and you’re not even sure if you’ll like the food… good for you. That tiny grain of thought is all you really need to make it happen, despite all the ways you try to convince yourself otherwise.
I’ve backpacked around a dozen countries in Asia– China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar— and not once did I do any planning before I went. I’m not a rich man either. These trips we’re all done on a cheapskate budget that still allowed me to do everything I wanted to do. Best of all, I don’t regret any of it one bit.
The Backpacker’s Brain
You could spend months, even years, pouring over maps, studying guide books and throwing out “feelers” to your friends and family on whether you should go for it. But none of that is ever going to get you closer to going to Asia and realizing your dream.
If this is something you really want to do, you have to tell yourself today that you are just going to go for it and everything else you’ll figure out on the way. That is the first and most important step you need to take. It’s time to start thinking like a backpacker.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should immediately stop showering and start washing your underwear in a sink (more on that later). I promise you that your mentality will inevitably transform as the backpacker’s brain takes over on your trip.
But your first step has to be accepting that you cannot and should not try to plan all the angles or obsess about all the potential pitfalls of backpacking around Asia. Does that mean this journey is always going to be a smooth sail? Hell no! But I promise you that if you allow yourself to embrace that uncertainty, you can not only make this happen, but you will be rewarded in ways you never thought possible.
In other words… just wing it.