As with many things in life, we all have different tastes. Some are morning people, while others prefer the thrill of night life. Some prefer the country, others the city. Blondes versus brunettes, nerds versus jocks. The list goes on.
When it comes to long-term travel, I feel like there’s two particular categories people fall into. The backpackers versus the expats. Both are great, and I’ve experienced both. I loved backpacking through Australia, and I’m currently living as an expat in Germany. As both experiences are so different from one another, it’s hard to choose a favourite!
In Australia, I loved having total freedom and being able to travel across the country with ease. The easy lifestyle of beaches and parties was something I could definitely get used to! On the other hand, while living and working in Germany brings lots of responsibilities, having my own apartment, groups of friends I see regularly and a steady relationship, makes me feel right at home (but in a way that’s much, much more exciting).
Here’s my list of the pros and cons of both travelling experiences. Which one do you prefer? What are your thoughts about the two?
The backpackers are the ones who love the idea of visiting as many countries as possible. Having a round-the-world ticket is ideal, and the thought of spending each day in a new and unexplored place is a thrill. While backpackers may pick up odd jobs here and there, most do not stay in one place for more than a month. Backpacking is an amazing experience to see as much of the world as possible, and whether some choose to backpack through one country or several, making friends will always be easy, and finding a party even easier!
– There’s lots of freedom in your schedule since you don’t have the burden of “normal life routines” such as work or school…you can pretty much get up and go to your next destination whenever you feel like it!
– Since most backpackers live in hostels, you’re meeting new people regularly, and it becomes super easy to make as many friends as possible
– Because you’re constantly travelling and doing something, you can easily experience more life-awakening or changing experiences in a week than some do in a lifetime!
– When you’re only in a place for a few hours to a few days, it’s difficult to experience it in full
– Goodbyes are always hard no matter how often you have to do it – friendships are difficult to maintain long-term, and romances you have tend to be short-term flings
– Backpacking can be a lot more costly, as most backpackers save up and opt out of working while travelling. And for those who do find temporary jobs, most employers are skeptical of hiring backpackers, so the jobs available tend to be pretty gruelling!
By living in one place for a prolonged period of time, it allows you to do things most travellers can’t – such as living like a local, and living a somewhat normal life, but with the thrill and excitement of being immersed in another culture. (Seriously, even seemingly mundane tasks such as grocery shopping becomes an adventure) It’s definitely a new way of seeing the world, and an ability to make a second home for you, somewhere in another part of the globe. It’s an inspiring way to live, so it’s no wonder so many artists and writers choose the expat life!
– The ability to have a second home abroad…no matter how far away it may be
– you can live like a local and see a city better than any traveller
– It’s possible to maintain long term friendships and relationships…lots of expats tend to get married abroad too.
– Adjusting to a new country can be difficult, and having to deal with things such as visas, bank accounts, apartments can be painstaking. Friends might also be more difficult to make, and there might be language barriers, or social etiquettes you’ll have to learn.
– Traveling to other cities and countries tend to be limited to short weekend trips
– Sometimes, you may not have a choice as to where you’d like to live, and may totally hate where you are, but are forced to maintain there for a certain amount of time.