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Recently I did a trip from Sydney where I live this winter, to Cairns, north Australia by bus, stopping at all major towns and hotspots like Byron Bay, Brisbane and The Whitsundays. But for me it was a very different experience than for most backpackers, because I wasn’t really backpacking. I haven’t been backpacking since the start of this trip, 7 months ago already, and I’m still not backpacking. I turned into a flashpacker. Here are some signs you’re turning into me too:
The first sign of flashpackers? They don’t necessarily travel with a backpack. When I started packing last year, I was dreading the thought of yet another year of living out of a backpack and the forever search for things, so I decided to travel with my BIG (probably 100 or 120L if you ask me, double the size of my backpack) Samsonite suitcase to spare the stressful check out moments when things all of a sudden no longer fit in your backpack and the best thing? I can shop! Oh wait that’s number two…
We’ve all been there, only buying the small key chain of the Tour d’Eiffel because nothing else fits your bag. Or wearing the same shitty clothes for months while they have holes in it… just because you don’t have enough money to buy new ones. Right now, I did so much shopping already (I mean, changing seasons beeeeg for new clothes right?!) that I could throw away most of the things I took with me on this trip in the first place. Yep, and I did send some packages home, one from Japan and one from China. Filled with presents for my peeps at home. And it was expensive AF. But it’s worth it.
So when I arrived in Brisbane, my friends were already there. So all I had to do was check-in, and go. They planned a day trip, so the Uber was already waiting for us to bring us there… I had no idea where we’d go to but once I found out I felt incredibly sorry for the person who ‘called’ this Uber haha. We were to hike and explore Brisbane’s only mountain, and we just took an Uber to the top. Yep, this is a bit too much, but where I’d previously always take the train, several buses and walk to go from A to B, nowadays I often just get an Uber. I don’t wanna waste all my energy, sweat and lure around town with my luggage too often, so the occasionally airport Uber or after a night out is definitely worth it.
Preferably every meal… Everybody knows most hostel kitchens are gross AF, so why should you cook there? I literally think those hostel kitchens don’t deserve my cooking skills (joke). So I just eat out twice a day, I usually do one late lunch/early dinner and breakfast. The problem? I always had a hard time finding people that wanted to come with me. They’d eat pasta with ketchup for the sixth day in a row. Uhm, so I just went alone obviously. It did felt incredibly luxurious to eat out this often, because I usually love to cook, and as soon as I came home I did a massive grocery haul and some extensive cooking of nourish bowls but I enjoyed every minute in those restaurants! That is what holiday should look like… right?!! (I mean… this kinda was a holiday within my travels!)
I must admit, I still live(d) pretty frugally, so when it comes to alcohol (and Australia – where it’s expensive!) I’d still prefer free drinks over paid. So I did go to ladies night for those 5 (!) glasses of ‘champagne’ (cheap sprakling wine) every night, but I drew the line at fruity goon. So instead I bought (expensive) ciders or Pinot Griot (also in 2L variations but still, no fruity here). I also bought alcoholic beverages with any meal when I felt like it, instead of just sticking to the free water (hello my backpacker friends, I see you!). I’d still go out, but mostly only three (to four) days a week, not all seven or six days a week and I’d definitely not make it big nights every time. I’d prefer to have one good night over seven average nights!