Borders and Burpees

10 Job Skills You Gain from Backpacking

10 Job Skills You Gain from Backpacking

I recently got back from a year in Australia and I had the pleasure of having my first ever backpacker experience. I had an amazing time and learnt a lot – some would even say that I developed skills which would be admirable in the workforce. What are these skills though? It got me thinking and instead of coming up with genuine, CV worthy skills (which would have been wise), I instead came up with a slightly different list.

On behalf of every backpacker, I’d like to present a list of 10 ‘skills’ which I feel we should all qualify for following our backpacking, hostel-living, noodle-eating stint (N.B. If you plan on getting a job at any stage in the near future then I definitely don’t recommend using this list. Being able to drink excessive amounts isn’t impressive to the average employer – unless you plan on being a professional wine taster that is).

1. Punctuality – Because if you didn’t catch the only bus taking you to your next adventure, you’d be stuck in that small town a lot longer than you had clean underwear for.

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2. Resilience – Pushing your body to the limits by having one too many cups of goon (cheap nasty boxed wine) and getting only three hours sleep then still managing to wake yourself up in time for your free hostel breakfast. It’s an unspoken cardinal rule in backpacker world that if there’s a freebie going, you take it!

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3. Problem solving – Aimlessly exploring the city, getting extremely lost and having to determine how to get back to your hostel with nothing more than a trusty old brick of a phone to help you – about as useful as a chocolate kettle – all requires superior problem solving skills!

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4. Organising – Ok, maybe that’s too generous a word; organised chaos, on the other hand, is a great backpacker trait. Having the contents of your bag spilled out onto the floor in a way that makes perfect sense to you, but to everyone else, it’s just a plain old mess.

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5. Negotiating – Becoming a master at negotiating the price down or agreeing to do a clothes swap. Trust me, finding a girl with the same taste and similar sized clothing to you isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

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6. Research skills – Sourcing out all the bars which do happy hour and going to them on the corresponding day. My best find was a bar in Melbourne that sold Prosecco for $1 on a Thursday. That’s the equivalent to 55p a glass here in the UK.

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7. Decision making – To go out or to go ‘out out’, that is the question.

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8. Interpersonal skills – It’s impossible not to acquire this skill when you’re sharing a room with as many as 19 people at times and having people in your personal space on a daily basis.

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9. Flexibility – Getting so used to plans changing and falling apart that you become ‘flexible’ i.e. you no longer have enough energy or strength to care.

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10. Teamwork – Going from shyly smiling at someone in the corridor to three days later when you’ve got private jokes, you’re sharing food, behaving like siblings and calling yourself a ‘team’. 

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3 thoughts on “10 Job Skills You Gain from Backpacking

  1. Lucy

    Hello, I really like this post! I recently spent a year backpacking in Australia too and these points are all spot on! Especially what you said about punctuality! I very nearly learnt the hard way whilst trying to catch a bus out of Airlie Beach but luckily my new best friends (I’d met two days earlier infact!) were desperately trying to stall the greyhound for me!! I made it by the skin of my teeth and after that was always super early for buses, planes, trains and even trams 🙂

    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Lucy, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you could relate to the post 🙂 It seems that a lot of backpackers have had similar encounters. I fortunately never missed any transport on my year away. I must have saved it all up for my return journey home as that’s when I actually missed a flight. Big oops! What was your favourite part of Australia?

  2. Pingback: 10 Things You Learn From Traveling That Can Be Applied To Your New Career | Thought Catalog

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