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7 Things Only Backpackers Would Understand

7 Things Only Backpackers Would Understand

Backpacking is one of the most exciting ways to travel. As you adventure to incredible places while carrying your gear on your back, you learn more about yourself and the human condition than you could ever imagine. Those who truly love the experience understand more than a few things about how to maximize on fun.

1. We know why REI is so amazing

Backpackers need specific types of gear. It’s not always easy to find the perfect sleeping bag or trail ready backpack. When you shop onREI, you can get everything you need to hit the road with none of the drama of failed equipment.

Plus, with a membership, you give dividends back each year, making it the best $20 membership a backpacker can have. But while REI is a fantastic option, you also know how to pull the ropes at Walmar.

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2. We get excited looking at maps

No matter what your next journey entails, you will probably need a map to get you there. Maps are glorious things filled with unlimited possibilities.

Since backpackers are happy to go off the beaten trail, we can’t always just find someone to ask for directions. That’s just the moment you need that handy dandy map.

3. We impress friends by mentioning how cheap we travel

Sure, you can buy one of those package travel deals that takes you all over Europe. But, you pay a lot of overhead when you get in on those group deals. We trade the simplicity of travel packages for the excitement of lesser known travel.

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Anyways, we love the stories we get from crashing at the semi-sketchy hotel and camping out beneath the stars. That’s really what travel is all about, after all. And it can save us a lot of dough. All the better to plan our next trip.

4. We have super buff back muscles

One of the best parts of backpacking is the simplicity of carrying all your stuff on your back. Forget the rolling bags and fancy people carrying suitcasesto your room.

With a few quick zips and snaps, you can easily carry everything you’ll need. Hoisting that pack up on your back is like a bonus workout for every journey. Back muscles are sexy and backpackers definitely have more than their share.

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5. We love to do as the locals do

When you are backpacking, you get to see the world in a radically different way than those doing packaged tours. You have the opportunity to really chat with locals.

This also gives you the opportunity to find the cheapest and best experiences in this new place. Instead of paying those tourist prices, you go hang with the guys at the local pub and enjoy a more authentic travel experience.

6. We have some really beaten travel clothes

Remember when you were hiking over the Andes? When you came back, your boots were really too beaten to take on another journey, but you couldn’t just throw them out. Those boots are an important part of your history.

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You couldn’t have seen all that you did without their help. It’s much easier to throw them in the closet and occasionally reminisce as they come out. And don’t even get me started on that old beaten jacket that helped you survive that long winter in Europe.

7. We have way too many travel guides

Backpackers tend to set their own agenda when traveling. This means that we need a book or two to help us plan the journey. If your family has some old school backpackers, you may find chunks of travel guides laying about.

Why take the whole book when you can simply out the parts you need? Modern backpackers may have printouts of digital guides or maybe just a phone overflowing with travel apps. Either way, we have lots of information about the places we love to visit.

Featured photo credit: Hermann via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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