Let me ask you something. Do you want to know what 9 months backpacking the world looks like?
My friend and fellow backpacker Sean Mitro, 18 years old from Canada, left his small town in little old Ontario to do something that many only dream of – travel the world for 9 months! He had enough guts and foresight to capture the essence of a trip like this on his GoPro. He travelled through to over 20 countries throughout Asia and Europe. Once he arrived home, over 270 days later, Sean was able to throw together a video that might just inspire you to take on your own adventure of a lifetime.
I briefly caught up with Sean almost 3 months after teaming up with him and some other partners-in-crime as we hitch-hiked our way across Eastern Europe. I thought I would take the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his trip.
William – How much money did you spend?
Sean – Including flights about [$18,000] or so, Canadian. (AUD$18,800. $USD13,900, GBP £8,870)
William – How big was your backpack(s)?
Sean – In NZ I had all my camping stuff and fishing stuff, so it was a 70L osprey pack. I sent that home in NZ and then from there on I travelled with a mix of bags from 15L to a duffel bag that I had in Europe that was probably about 30L.
The NZ bag weighed about 18kg and the rest of my bags weighed between 6-9kg.
William – How did you feel in the months leading up to leaving?
Sean – Well I didn’t have that much time to think about it because I was working so damn hard and long days. I was pretty excited but I never really got that “holy shit, I’m really doing this” moment. I just packed up my stuff, my dad drove me to the airport, and I left. No real crying, anxiety, none of that shit. I just went for it.
William – What was the best adventure
Sean – Probably one day in NZ when I was staying in a backcountry hut playing cards with some friends after hiking up into the mountains on the most amazing day of weather – 2 ft of snow but 20 degrees out. The views were amazing. The sun was setting on Mount Cook and we were playing cards in the hut and drinking cold beer. I’ll always remember that.
William – What made you do it?
Sean – I didn’t want to go to uni straight after high school and always loved travelling with my parents. Wanted to just go to NZ for ~6 months but then got a job out in [British Columbia] where I made a decent amount of money that would allow me to travel further and longer than just New Zealand. Originally added Australia, Indonesia and Thailand but then it just grew from there.
William – How do you feel about yourself now that you’re finished.
Sean – I definitely grew up a lot in the last 9 months. I was a pretty independent person even before I left but when you have nobody around to do stuff for you or rely on it makes you mature up quick. Always taking care of your valuables, navigating around, booking everything, feeding yourself, doing laundry etc etc. Also definitely more outgoing now than before. Meeting people while travelling is essential to having a good time and before I left I was definitely shyer. I wouldn’t have just walked up to a random person and struck up a conversation.
William – What advice would you give to others thinking of doing the same thing?
Sean – Save some money, book one flight and go. Don’t spend time planning every detail, because your trip will evolve as it goes. There will come a time where you thank yourself for NOT planning. You meet a cool person, they say I’m going here, and the flexibility to say hey I’ll come is amazing. I wish I actually planned less. Also, travelling doesn’t have to cost a lot. It is all relative to how comfortably you want to live, and how much you want to party. I definitely overestimated the cost – I could have done the trip with half the cost by flying standby, drinking less, camping more, etc.
Hopefully, after watching his video and reading this, you might just be inspired enough to buy that plane ticket and backpack your way around the big bad world.
+10 points if you can spot me in the video.