Backpacking, Eh

The entire premise for this blog, at first, was to be a travel log for a sophisticated backpacker. I felt like I had read every single travel blog and forum there was and they all sucked. No offense but I find no joy in reading survival techniques or scrolling through ameteur pictures of the sights or reading how your boyfriend got you a tour of a winery or fashion house. I felt that travel didn't have to be this rough affair and being a tourist didn't have to be so cookie cutter. I also strongly believed vacations fueled by well off boyfriends were not authentic. Was it too much to ask for some simple rules and advice? All these outlets did was talk me out of the true backpack experience. However, reading all I could prepared me for the reality of what could go wrong.

Backpacking would have given me freedom. I could have traveled with minimal belongings on my back and go wherever I wanted. However, if I chose to do that I couldn't collect anything new or had to limit myself in certain places. I read an account of a girl who backpacked through Spain. She explained that she adored it but at times couldn't manage as a larger girl sporting a pack. She brought up several points about narrow stairwells, hallways and tiny shops. In all three scenarios she would either struggle with the pack or have to avoid it altogether. She would sometimes peer into a shop where as a 150 lbs plus girl with a pack she couldn't navigate without possibly breaking something. There was also the pack maintenance. One would have to constantly edit what they bring and if they needed something at random they would face unpacking everything to get to it. Then there was the cost. A crappy pack would cost me at least $300 - two times as much as a decent suitcase. If I really wanted the experience of backpacking I could do it with a Hurley or one of those student rollers under 20 inches. At least something like that would still give me freedom without the hassle. But traveling non-stop with a great deal of possessions cancelled all of the above out.

I have four strikes against me. I have sensitive skin. I have natural hair. I'm American fat. I And I have the worst health. So I have to bring cumbersome things like hats, baby wipes, sunscreen. I need my products and my tools. My clothes are bigger and heavier. I have a zillion pills and need things like yogurt. There is no way I could go anywhere with just a backpack. Even if I had all the money in the world to buy more stuff I wouldn't be able to find what I use and there are no clothes bigger than a Euro ten readily available. I could have done nothing with my hair and returned home with locs. I could have allowed the sun and hotel toiletries to eat pot marks into my skin. I could have worn a toga through Europe. I could have died from anemia. But I had a choice. I also am world's biggest germaphobe so wearing the same undies for a week didn't appeal to me and I wasn't about to give up tampons for the Diva cup. This is what fellow backpackers advised. They told me to give up my tampons and wear my panties inside out until laundry day. When shopping camping and sporting goods stores it was more of the same. I was pitched underwear guaranteed to stay fresh for 14 days and bedrolls made of silk that would protect my hair if I chose to sleep in a train station. Yeah. No.

I could do all of the above with a suitcase. I could carry the bare necessities. I could have the rest shipped. I could stay at half decent hotels for less than full cost. Keyword here is I. I could do this my way but my friend could not. She could not fathom sleeping anywhere but a 4 star or higher hotel. She needed a bathtub. My friend needed a new bottle of lotion every two weeks like clockwork. She also had allergies which required fresh air and an endless supply of facial tissue. I guess we both had our hang ups which would have never allowed for backpacking. Even if I had did it alone I couldn't have bared the weight. We both sucked at absolutely convenient and well-stocked travel so I could only imagine Swiss Family Robinson style. Those final days we were eating cheese and crackers and sharing TP for multiple uses. However, we were still polishing our nails and buying bottled mineral water so. I witnessed many backpackers and they didn't appear any more free than we did. They all seemed so downtrodden and dirty. Yeah so if you're looking for some adventurous tale of struggle, not it. We stayed at Room Mate hotels. I'd do it over again just like that too. 

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