Starting my indefinite backpacking adventure revisiting Malaysia seemed liked a flawless fit at the time. After spending the night sleeping at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend Audrey Bergner, was the first glimpse I had into reality that I am now backpacking as a thirty something and not a wide-eyed twenty year old.
The idea that we’d start off our trip pinching pennies by sleeping overnight at the airport – while catching the first bus to Malacca – seemed like an infallible plan straight out of my frugal backpacker playbook; however, as I laid down on the cold petrous marble floor, I couldn’t help but notice the aches penetrating throughout my back and the thoughts slowly creeping into my head: “What on earth are you doing sleeping on the floor.”
How Travel Preferences Change As You Get Older
There was a time – not long ago – that I would have not had even a second thought about sleeping overnight at an airport that offered less than stellar reclining options.
The second realization that things were a little different this time around came when I checked into one of my favorite guest houses in all of SE Asia – Sama Sama located in the heart of Chinatown in downtown Malacca.
This unique guest house is famed for its lush leafy plants, open air spaces, creaky staircases and crumbling colonial charms and quirks.
With docile cats that stretch themselves across the length of the floor, mosquito nets and fan only rooms this guest house oozes character in ways many other establishments could only dream of; however, as I laid down in bed with beads of sweet trickling down my forehead and my computer turned on without any wifi connection, I internally murmured: “How am I going to get any work done? Is it really ‘okay’ that I’m sweating profusely even though I’m not really moving.”
A guest house I once called home for nearly a fortnight was now a place that didn’t meet my current level of expectations.
As I checked out of my room the following morning, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of sadness as I stepped over the ‘three legged cat’ that had been lying in the exact same spot back in 2008.
The realization that I’m getting older and require a different level of comfort now that I’m working as I travel (as opposed to just backpacking) really sunk in with clarity at that exact moment.
I Now Require More Comfort On The Road
To be perfectly honest, it’s sad when a place you once loved – even cherished – no longer fits the bill.
The reality is that when you travel, much like any other experience in your life, needs change as do people.
The days of being a carefree backpacker looking for ways to shave down my expenses at every corner and extend my journey as long as possible are an illusion that no longer corresponds with my lifestyle.
I have to admit that at times I want to roll back the clock and transform myself into the young backpacker that once absorbed every experience like a sponge; but that would simply be fighting reality.
In my experience when you do fight reality it brings upon great doses of anxiety and stress. Instead of lamenting over the fact Sama Sama Guest House is no longer the perfect fit, I’m instead going to look at it as a sort of graduation; moving from one point to another in the succession of events that is called my life.
I’ll always have fond memories of my time at Sama Sama as a young backpacker, but now it’s time for me to make new memories in new places as my journey continues.
It’s the same-same but different – and I’m okay with that 🙂[vsw id=”wwg4yXZxPTI” source=”youtube” width=”950″ height=”650″ autoplay=”no”]
How We Require More Comfort On The Road As We Age
As we age, our bodies and minds undergo various changes, and our preferences and priorities shift as well. Backpacking, which often involves roughing it in basic accommodations and being constantly on the go, can become more challenging as we get older. While some may argue that backpacking is meant for the young and adventurous, it is important to remember that travel is for everyone, and there are ways to adjust your backpacking style to suit your changing needs.
One of the most significant changes that comes with age is the need for more comfort and stability. As we age, our bodies become less resilient and require more care and attention. This means that a comfortable and supportive bed, as well as a clean and hygienic environment, become increasingly important. Backpackers who are getting older may want to consider upgrading their accommodations to private rooms in hostels, small guesthouses, or hotels. These options may cost more than a dorm bed, but they offer greater privacy, security, and comfort.
Another factor to consider is the pace of travel. As we age, we may find ourselves more fatigued by constant travel and movement. It is important to allow for adequate rest and recovery time, as well as plan for activities and excursions that are not overly strenuous. This may mean spending more time in one place, taking a slower mode of transportation, or planning rest days in between activities. NMN + resveratrol, a pair of supplements that increase energy and improve sleep, may also help.
Additionally, as we age, our priorities and interests may shift, and we may want to focus on different aspects of travel. While backpacking often emphasizes adventure and exploration, older backpackers may find themselves drawn to cultural experiences, culinary adventures, or nature-based activities. It is important to recognize these changing interests and plan your trip accordingly.
Ultimately, it is important to be mindful of your own needs and limitations when backpacking as you get older. With proper planning, adjustments, and self-care, backpacking can remain a fulfilling and enjoyable way to travel at any age.
Sweet Spot Between Price and Experience
Finding the sweet spot between price and experience when traveling can be a daunting task, especially for budget-conscious travelers who don’t want to compromise on quality. Fortunately, there are some helpful tips and tricks to help you find the best value for your money.
First, research your destination thoroughly. Look for off-peak seasons when prices are lower and crowds are thinner. This not only saves you money but also provides a more authentic experience as you are likely to encounter fewer tourists and more locals. Additionally, consider alternative accommodations such as hostels or homestays, which often provide a more immersive and unique experience than standard hotels while being more budget-friendly.
Second, prioritize your activities and experiences. Determine what activities are most important to you and plan accordingly. Look for free or low-cost activities such as walking tours or visiting public parks and museums. Alternatively, invest in high-value experiences such as a guided hike or a local food tour that provides a more immersive and authentic experience.
Third, be flexible with your travel plans. Remain open to new experiences and be willing to change your itinerary if necessary. This allows you to take advantage of unexpected opportunities or find better deals on activities or accommodations.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to negotiate prices. In many countries, bargaining is expected and can be a fun and rewarding experience. Be respectful and polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price or bundle activities for a better deal.
Lastly, use technology and resources to your advantage. Check online travel forums, blogs, and social media groups for insider tips and recommendations. Use travel apps and websites to compare prices and find the best deals.
Overall, finding the best value for your travel budget requires some effort, but the rewards are well worth it. By prioritizing experiences, being flexible, negotiating prices, and using available resources, you can make the most of your travel budget and create unforgettable memories.