Going backpacking mad

Getting ready to leave New Zealand. (Please note: Am wearing white shirt and socks, am not that pale.)

There were 27 hours of claustrophobic planes and sterile airports in between the suffocating 36-degree Brisbane air I left behind, and four-degree London air that I arrived to.

Talk about shock to the system!

My face had broken out into a pizza thanks to the humidity of Australia and the desert-dry air of the plane. On top of that, my hair was unwashed for two days due to my refusal to pay the $16 penalty for using a shower in Singapore airport. (Rip off…)

Thankfully I managed to sleep at least half of the 14-hour leg from Singapore to Heathrow, so once I landed and collected my enormous 19kg backpack (HUGE MISTAKE!), I was ready for the hike from the international to the domestic terminal to catch my final flight to Scotland.

Or was I…

I would like to take this moment to ask all of my fellow young travellers out there to seriously reconsider the urge to replicate Reese Witherspoon’s adventures in the movie Wild, by buying a backpack.
Ask yourself the following:

1. Have I gone to the gym recently, regularly, or in fact, ever?

2. Will I be walking for miles over rough terrain? Be it cobble stones or volcanic rocks?

3. In order to take everything you need, could I purchase a backpack that is smaller than a New Highland dog..?

If you answered no to most of these questions, please try to let go of the image of the fashionable backpacker, and consider how ridiculous you’re going to look lugging a bag the size of a small horse on your back,.

Let. Me. Tell. You.

Writhing around on a train terminal at Heathrow, attempting to get a backpack on you like an upside-down turtle, all the while two security guards (who looked like they needed some entertainment anyway) are watching and laughing at you is not quite the Reese Witherspoon Wild moment you’d be hoping for. I promise you!

If I read this post six months ago, I would have thought to myself, ‘I am going to be so fit, strong and adventurous, just like a real-life traveller. I need this backpack.’

My response now: ‘You did zero prep. You’re not going to be able to lift it two inches off the ground. You will look stupid. Get an awesome set of matching suitcases instead.’

Considering I had to pack for four seasons, I didn’t have any room to spare. Also bearing in mind that I wasn’t actually going to be trudging around cities anyway as I was staying with family, I definitely wished I thought better of a backpack.

Moral of the story: If you can’t lift your bag into the car boot on the way to the airport… You’re going to be in trouble.

Nevertheless, I survived. My arms are now twice the size, and my back is as weak as ever.

Next blog post: My weekend in Edinburgh!