3. Your body will ache.
For people who spend most of our lives slouching at our computer desks and only performing heavy lifting when our Mum makes us carry the shopping, backpacking can be a shock to the system. And it’s not just carrying the heavy bags. It’s all the walking. It’s all those sh*tty mattresses in the dodgy hostels. And it’s the pounding headache you get from late nights drinking. Trust me, backpacking hurts.
4. You will drink too much.
It’s just another one of those inevitabilities; as sure as the sun will rise, there will be nights when you drink way too much. Usually, the results of this will be minor – a fight with your friend, hooking up with someone whose name you don’t remember, a sneaky upchuck in the nearest pot plant (props to those who manage to keep partying post-puke). Then there’s effects of the more catastrophic variety: ambulances called, passports lost and – my personal favourite – being dumped by a wave whilst swimming in your clothes in Barcelona at 2am and losing your phone and wallet to the ocean. I definitely don’t know this one from experience.
5. Something important will be lost/stolen.
Make peace with this fact early on – something you own, possibly something you love dearly, will be cruelly ripped from your life at some stage during your trip. Whether you leave it behind at a hostel or it is stolen, mark my words: this will happen to everyone. I was one of the most careful backpackers you ever did see, and I still managed to lose the USB that held all my music files, and an “I Survived Barcelona” t-shirt that was my only memento of Spain.
6. You will miss flights/trains/busses/ferries.
We can’t always be on time, and unfortunately when you’re lugging an extra 20 kgs on your back, getting to where you need to be can take a little longer than usual. Don’t get too upset if you miss an important transfer – it happens a lot more than you might think and it’s not the end of the world. It might hurt your wallet, but it’s a necessary evil.