Why should I go?

Umm, how about ‘awesome adventures’? ‘Incredible places’? ‘Amazing people’? Watching the sun set from stunning beaches, climbing the peaks of towering mountains, wandering down forgotten lanes of ancient cities, silently contemplating sacred landmarks- these places you’ve only visited in your dreams- they are within your reach. Just imagine, panting for breath as you climb over yet another ridge, finally reaching the top of the storied mountain, the mysterious Incan city of Machu Picchu spreading out before you in the early morning mist. Or, standing barefoot in the sands of the Sahara, the dimming orange of the afternoon sun causing the Great Pyramid at Giza to glow as if on fire. Face to face with a bull elephant on the Serengeti Plain, dancing through sunrise on a beach in Thailand, eye to eye with a Great White off the coast of Australia, awed to silence by the power and majesty of the Himalaya, nose to nose with a seal pup in New Zealand, sipping world-class wines in the vineyards of South Africa. AMAZING. Even more amazing- you can do it. You can go there. The adventures you will have, the places you will go, the people you will meet- it’s not a question of 'Why should I go?' as much as it is ‘How can I NOT go?’

All this goes without even mentioning the literal ‘education’ you get when traveling the world in such a fashion. Not only will you get to explore some of the most incredible places on earth, go to some of the craziest parties ever imagined, meeting people from all over the world along the way, but you will inevitably learn SO MUCH- about yourself, about the world, about how and where you fit in. Traveling (Backpacking, specifically) has a way of getting people to realize that their world is made up of so much more than the tiny bubble they’re accustomed to existing in, and inevitably stretches the beliefs and perspectives that have developed within those tiny bubbles. Call it ‘global cognizance’, call it ‘world realization’- call it whatever you want- the reality is that you will learn to see both yourself and the world differently. You will have a better appreciation for where you come from, and you will invariably develop a greater appreciation for foreign cultures, foreign people, and foreign ideas. In today’s world, the fleeting concept of global empathy is invaluable, and can, in it’s own way, help make this planet a better place for everyone on it.

So again, the question- ‘How can I NOT go?’ If you have the opportunity, you have to seize it while you can, as it may never come around again. 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years- it doesn’t matter. What matters is you getting out there and living your life. In the end, that is what it is all about- actually LIVING your life, and honestly, that is why you should go.

Elephant Bath- Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Congratulations- You've graduated BPU 101!!! Now it's on to BPU 201- The Beginner's Guide to Backpacking...