A backpacker is any budget-minded traveller. Independent or in groups, a common constraint binds all backpackers together. Freedom, independence, and a limited budget.
Today, more specifically backpackers are young travellers, students on gap years, working professionals, teachers on summer break or vacation, couples, parents with kids, athletes, musicians, artists, retirees, pre-tirees, staff and faculty going abroad, people seeking an escape, someone seeking an experience to define themselves or just doing something different, and everyday people like most of us.
When I first went backpacking, we were younger. Many of us were travelling for the first time and we fit the persona my parents envisioned about backpacking. Independent, not much money, all our stuff in one bag, a camera and probably a travel guide book, little to no tech. I call this the classic backpacker.
However, this is a much too limiting descriptor for a backpacker these days. Today, most of us have a massive advantage with a powerful tool with us (almost) all the time. The smartphone. It has a camera, GPS, instant communication, and the internet. Thank you. Thank you very much.
I’m not prescribing an electronic backpacking experience exclusively, because there’s something quite liberating and formidable to unplug this part of our world and go el fresco. But there’s a reality to the barriers to travel which can be removed or limited through responsible use of our smartphone.
The backpacker of today can be anyone. Any age, social rank, ethnicity, or education level. But share in common traits such as seeking experiences which highlight the wonder of life.
We are seeking good vibes and bringing our own. A backpacker wants to maximize life, by making a significant and positive change to their own. This can bring a transformative perspective to our place in the world – that anyone and everyone can be a backpacker. Hence why I knew I needed to make my Backpacker College dreams a reality!