003 – Backpacking Then and Now – Lessons and Laughs

Gin and Trin have a laugh as they discuss their backpacking adventures and compare travel in the 90’s to now.

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Show Notes

On today’s show Gin and Trin chat about their experiences backpacking around Europe in the 90’s. They discuss what it was like, how different it was to travelling today and what they learnt on their adventures.

Travel Plans

After finishing university in 1995, Gin and Trin worked for 6 months and then set off on their overseas backpacking trip to Europe. With $5000 each, they embarked on an adventure for as long as they could, not setting a return date.

Their only plan was to backpack for three months and then see what happened next.

Initial Shock

After landing in Italy, sitting at a railway station and hearing an announcement come over in Italian, Gin and Trin realised they had landed. They then had many questions – What were they meant to do, how long were they meant to stay at specific places for, how were they meant to fill their time and what are they meant to specifically see?

Differences Back Then

With no phone and no internet connection, Gin and Trin had to rely on determination and resourcefulness. Maps had to be purchased, bus and train timetables had to be navigated, and upon arriving at youth hostels (often after a full day of travel), they hoped there was in fact accommodation for them.

Communicating with loved ones back home involved using a pay phone to call or reverse charges. Letters were also frequently written. The girls had to let their friends and family know where they thought they would be in the weeks ahead so they could direct letters to the American Express Offices of that City for the gals to pick up. Gin and Trin would then go to these offices and ask if their was any mail for them there. They would sit out on the street and read these treasured letters , celebrating with a bottle of water and a cheese sandwich!

Gin and Trin also kept a journal documenting their travels and their day to day events. Their photos were taken on a camera – the old school kind with a roll of film! There was no editing, filters or deletions options. They had to take that film into a shop to be processed to see what their photos looked like. That was the exciting part. No instant gratification selfies back then!


Down Time

Remembering there where no mobile phones and no internet back then, in their down time Gin and Trin wandered the streets, people watched, watched activities performed by the locals, and chatted. They had the time to really connect to the countries they were in, connect to the land and connect to the people around them.

Lessons Learnt

Gin and Trin learnt many things on their travels including problem solving, budgeting and growing as individuals. They got to experience different cultures, different cuisines and beautiful music from various countries. They had to get out of their comfort zones and meet many new people, some of which grew into wonderful friendships that are still just as important today as they were back then. They had many different jobs that allowed them to grow in confidence and learn from a variety of new experiences, without stress and pressure.

Would they encourage their kids to travel and backpack?

Absolutely. Gin and Trin acknowledge that whilst it would be hard to cut those cords and let their children go (as they would miss them and worry about them), they know the benefits they would gain through the experience and how much they would grow.


Travelling today -Top 5 things you can do to ‘get into the now’:

  1. Write more hand written letters and journals
  2. Disconnect from your phone and the internet when you go away
  3. Take photos with your camera and not your phone
  4. Go for a walk, wander around, get lost and find your way home
  5. Find a lovely spot to sit down and people watch

If you’ve backpacked or travelled, we’d love to hear some of the lessons you learnt, or how you changed through your adventures. Tell us in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “003 – Backpacking Then and Now – Lessons and Laughs”

  1. Enjoyed listening to your first two podcasts Gin as I walked along the beach this morning. Brought back memories of travelling in London in late 90’s!

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