Backpacking VS Society

I was called crazy. When I told my family and friends three years ago of my plans to travel around the world, most thought I had just gone insane. I remember getting a few phone calls from concerned friends to make sure I was feeling okay. I respected it but I still wanted to go backpacking. The American culture isn’t so accepting of wanting to go travel. I did have to go through some hurdles but it all worked out in the end.

What was the reaction of your friends and family when you told them you were going to backpack around the world?

Here’s an email by Roslyn Ruslan that inspired me to write this article:

Hey Michael,

I’m a nineteen year old Malaysian, and I saw your blog through Twenty-SomethingTravel. Just wanted to tell you that I’m a massive fan, and I’m hoping to one day do a proper RTW soon.

I’m currently studying architecture, so there’s a lot of things on my plate for the next few months. I got back from a trip to India a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping to do a few. Your site has been a great inspiration for me to seriously start saving up for a proper gap year. Well, everything’s in the works.

Backpacking isn’t something commonly desired by young Malaysians. We weren’t raised in the environment that we should go off to see different countries, to broaden our perspective. The necessity to actually go out and experience new cultures is severely lacking. I guess it’s because often times, we are the ‘visited’ instead of the ‘visitors’. I hope to see changes in that mentality soon, because it’s quite difficult to find a travel buddy.

So, anyway, thanks for all the tips, photos, shared experiences!

Adios!
-Roslyn Ruslan
Twitter: @roslynruslan

My Response

Hey Roslyn,

Thanks for emailing me! One of the benefits of dating another travel blogger is getting free links. Not a bad perk.

I’m glad Art of Backpacking has become inspirational to you. Emails like yours keep me motivated.

In cultures where international travel is out of the norm, I think we just need to understand that there are cultural differences between the ideas. While some cultures consider international travel to be fairly common, others consider it selfish. In the US, some mocked me that I was throwing my life away and others had wished they could do it. Once I left and put Facebook photos on my wall of all the different places, they started asking me questions how they could travel and it then started a chain reaction of travelers. I try to inspire my friends back at home but in the end they need to discover it on their own.

Thanks again,
Michael

25 Comments

  1. amber on May 31, 2011 at 8:06 am
  2. amber on May 31, 2011 at 9:06 am
  3. Casey Armstrong on May 31, 2011 at 10:18 am
  4. Casey Armstrong on May 31, 2011 at 11:18 am
  5. The Pritchards on May 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm
  6. The Pritchards on May 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm
  7. Juno Kim on June 1, 2011 at 12:25 am
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  9. Petina / pocketvillage on June 1, 2011 at 12:44 am
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  11. Steven Sirski on June 6, 2011 at 2:59 am
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