Practically everyone would admit to owning more stuff then they actually need and could easily live without if it was taken away from them. Preparing to leave home we had to carefully choose what was going to be essential on our journey and what we didn’t really need but were just so used to having in our lives.
We have relatively small backpacks both measuring up at 55 litres. Which resulted in us trying to pack our bags and then having to take stuff out to make the bag fit and re-pack repeatedly. Essential things like our malaria tablets, other medicines, toiletries, mobile phones, laptop and chargers, plus a few bits of clothing were obviously not going to be left at home, so it was mostly the home comforts and things like a favourite t-shirt that stayed behind. Honestly, Its surprising how quickly they fill up!
For the first few weeks that we were on the road in Thailand it seemed strange wearing the same 2 pairs of shorts and 4 t-shirts but it became normal after then and we have never really said to each other, even now, ‘Oh I wish I had my… blah blah blah’. Because in the western world we fill our homes with so many things we don’t actually need and waste a whole load of money buying it in the first place. When paying $10 for a CD just because there is one track we like on it, could pay for a nights accommodation in a beach bungalow in the Philippines.
This visual of life was what helped us save up for our travelling when we were back home working and sacrificing social time for about 18 months. It was quite difficult at times, but looking back now, it was worth every second and we would both do it all over again!
Living out of such small backpacks for six months, we now know that we can go home and sell a ton of our things on eBay and gather up that money for another adventure later in the year. Because after seeing how happy 99% of families and young children in country’s like Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and especially the Philippines are with their lives, has changed us for the better, as they are living in shacks and work extremely hard for wages as low as $1 a day. Which is hard to get our heads round, knowing where we live in England, what we have around us on a daily basis and what we have access to is a drastic contrast to those living in other parts of the world.
We will both be thinking twice about buying the next CD or an expensive coffee at Starbucks.
By Alan Bogle.