Due to comfortable transportation and easy transference through countries today, backpacking is loved by people globally. The age for backpackers is concentrated on college students. It is because college students have long holidays and are often more proficient at English than the older generation. Backpacking has an advantage over travelling through an agency in that one can travel with a very low budget and can have vivid and practical experiences. Then would the attitude and recognition toward backpacking be identical in other countries? The Sookmyung Times (SMT) interviewed diverse students from different countries to resolve this question.
SMT Where do people in your country dream to go backpacking? Also, why do you think people prefer the place?
HYEONJUNG In Korea, people have a romance of backpacking in Europe. Some say why not Southeast Asia? But because Europe has comfortable transportation and different atmosphere compared to Korea, people love backpacking in Europe.
MASON Most Americans would like to backpack in America or Europe. America is a large country so there is a lot to see! Countries like France and Italy are popular places to visit due to the history and famous landmarks.
JIYONG Most Koreans prefer to backpack in Europe. Although it’s expensive, it is the center of diverse culture and history.
BENJAMIN Many people in UK go backpacking to Europe. I think mostly students go during their summer holidays or during their gap year (a year between leaving school and going to university in UK). As England is part of Europe the close proximity is an advantage.
SMT Some people prefer to go backpacking alone, and some prefer going with someone special to them. What’s the tendency in your country?
HYEONJUNG Koreans seem to not really care about who they are going backpacking with these days. It is because many Koreans backpacking often stay in youth hostels (a place where people, especially young people who are traveling, can stay very cheaply for a short time) and make friends there because they sleep in the same room.
MASON In America, experienced backpackers like to go by themselves so they can travel fast. But most Americans want to travel with 1 or 2 close friends. It is considered a good bonding experience.
JIYONG Most Koreans still prefer going with someone special. I think it’s because Koreans have a tendency to get together and share with people. By backpacking together, people can share the sentiments, feelings and impressions of the place.
BENJAMIN Often in the UK, men prefer to go alone, whereas girls like to go in a group. Maybe guys want some time alone from university or home, and travel around alone to think back for themselves. Girls like to go on holiday with their friends to chat and have fun.
SMT What do people in your country often think is most important when getting ready for backpacking?
HYEONJUNG Setting a theme for one’s backpacking. In Korea, backpacking with a theme has becoming popular. For example, one can set an amusement park theme and visit all the different amusement parks in the country. Or one can plan to travel to historical places.
MASON The most important thing is knowing where you are traveling. Many Americans like to backpack in areas that don’t have people around (mountains and valleys). So if one doesn’t want to get lost, knowing the place is what American backpackers often think is the most important.
JIYONG The most important thing is safety. Koreans tend to be more careful than other countries not to be pick pocketed or meet someone dangerous.
BENJAMIN Planning your itinerary because it is essential you know where you are going. Moreover, it is important to research the places you are going to go so you have enough knowledge of the place and culture to respect its lifestyle.
SMT Lots of college students are heading for backpacking these days. What things does backpacking provide to one’s life? Why do you think people leave?
HYEONJUNG Korean college students often go backpacking to earn one more spec for their resume. Also they get a chance to test their English skill. Personally, I think by backpacking, people can enlarge their experience and see more of the world. Also, by backpacking, people can see how broad the world is. Therefore their dreams and goals of their life get higher, from Korea to the world!
MASON Backpacking provides a fun way to travel the world. The idea of seeing the landmarks and geography of another area is appealing to many Americans. It gives a person an appreciation for the beauty of other lands. Backpacking can also be an excellent way to bond with close friends!
JIYONG People can experience different things to their ordinary life. By that, people can learn to accept differences and learn tolerance. Also, they can raise their skill to easily adopt to new and distinct environments.
BENJAMIN Backpacking provides an opportunity to explore parts of the world independently and can be the starting point of standing up alone in the social life. It is a valuable time to think back and plan for the future.