Things used to be so simple. Back in the day, we were backpackers. We carried all our stuff in a pack, on our backs. Period. Then life intervened. I grew up, got a job, made lots of money, and shifted into luxury mode for the next 20 years. When midlife stole in, I found myself yearning for those simple times when I would slap on the backpack and wander. Before long IÂ was again choosing the backpack over the traditional suitcase whenever I traveled, until one day I chucked it all and headed out to travel around the world for six months. But by that time I was 54 and not willing to carry everything on my back, so I stuffed all my essentials in a smaller pack (laptop, iPod, camera and lenses, wallet, swimsuit, sarong, book, etc.) and the rest in a small, 22″ rolling suitcase.
Throughout my RTW trip, I defined myself as a backpacker – after all, I was carrying some of my gear on my back, staying primarily in hostels, eating on less than $10 per day, and traveling to adventurous destinations. It was during this trip I learned about gap-packers, a term first applied to European students who take a year off to travel between school and university, or between university and their first job. A “gap year” so to speak. Made sense. Since I was taking time off to travel mid-career, maybe I was a gap-backpacker.
Lately I’ve been hearing the term “flashpacker.” The third time I heard the word, I had to look it up. Wikipedia defines flashpacker as follows:
“Flashpacking refers to affluent backpackers. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking … has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget. A simple definition … can be thought of as backpacking with flash, or style. One school of thought defines the flashpacker as a rapidly growing segment of travelers who Continue reading