How Backpacking Changed My Life

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Londoner In Sydney is a community of expats and locals who love sharing the best destinations and activities around Australia. Be inspired, find hidden gems, stock up on local tips and discover awesome new things to do with our authentic travel guides.

Thinking about going backpacking too? If you’re a bit worried about whether you’re making the right decision, here’s my story on how backpacking changed my life.

Trekking in Myanmar

After I finished my degree in 2005, ten months later I found myself saying goodbye to my family for a whole year and jumped on a plane with a round the world ticket on my lonesome. I remember feeling ridiculously sick that day with a combination of fear and excitement all rolled into one.

You know, backpacking on your own no matter what age you are is a very daunting experience, yet, I will always be proud of myself for taking that plunge into the unknown.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have met who think I am mental for dropping everything to visit the world for months on end. They always say to me, ‘wish I could do that’.

Well believe it or not, there’s not really that much stopping you apart from the big FEAR.

At Wake Up Hostel in Sydney in 2006

It’s amazing the excuses people come up with and I generally think most people love the idea of travelling around the world but the reality is they couldn’t think of anything worse than lugging a dirty backpack around with the same clothes to wear day in day out, let alone staying in cheap backpacker hostels.

I genuinely found that once I leave The West, my priorities changed. I am way more money conscious about wanting to stretch my trip out to last as long as possible, to coming to terms with the boredom of wearing the same clothes day in day out for a long time let alone seeing what actually really matters in the world.

Patience generally becomes a big thing with travelling. I have been on buses for up to 26 hours where the seats DON’T recline and it’s incredibly freezing cold throughout the experience. I didn’t have much patience at all before I started to travel and now most people that meet me think I have a very calming nature.

When I Caught The Travel Bug

A quick low down on my travel experience for you guys and then I will delve into separate posts about different countries explaining where I travelled to, accommodation advice about the country and so on.


As a 23 year old I left England in 2006 with a round the world ticket bought from good old STA Travel to include the following:

10 Months in Australia – 5 weeks in New Zealand – 12 days Fiji – 3 weeks Hawaii – 1 week San Francisco

5 years later in 2011, I took the plunge once again, left my career and embarked on my next trip: 2 months India and 4 months South East Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos).


During my time in India, I met ‘the one’, yep that’s my Aussie man Steve. We then moved straight from travelling back to his home town Sydney for 1 year. We lived there with the mind set to work as much as we could and save for our first trip together which lasted a year from 2013-2014.

We booked just our first plane ticket out of Sydney to Manila and then went from there doing the whole trip independently to: 3 weeks Philippines – 1 month Argentina – 1 month Bolivia – 1 month Peru – 6 weeks England -1 day Turkey – 6 months Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa) – 1 week Vietnam.


When We Moved To Sydney

And so, now we are living back in Sydney Australia, embracing this city really for the first time as last time we became hermits as the focus was to save for our trip.

We are discovering the incredible food culture Sydney has to offer along with different events happening all over the place. I really feel like I’m living in a totally different city to the last time we lived here as I am finally experiencing a lot more of what Sydney has to offer. This is one of the reasons for starting this blog is to hear from other Sydneysiders where we can share different things going on in Sydney.

I will always remember meeting a Swedish girl when I first arrived in Sydney back in 2006 on my first round the world trip. I was new to the travelling scene and didn’t really know what to do. I mean, I didn’t even know about Lonely Planet!!

I was off up to the East Coast of Australia and she had already been and happily wrote out a list of places to see and stay at. This was one of the best things anyone has done for me while travelling and I always do the same for most people I meet along the way.


Not everyone is doing the same route and word of mouth is always the best PR when it comes to travel. This is where I get to help you guys, I am going to write about all the bits of advice that you might be wondering about when it comes to any of these countries above such as how to find discounted accommodation to cheap flights to keeping your whits about you in dodgy areas. Of course, if you have any advice to offer as well, please write in the comments area.

Thanks and always keep on exploring this world. There is so much to see out there!

How Backpacking Changed My Life