What I wish I would have known before backpacking Central America… 

… Not that it would have changed a thing but come on, a fair warning is always nice. After four weeks of traveling (happy surviving anniversary to me), the glamorous part of backpacking has worn off  (if there was any to begin with) and my brain has finally accepted that I was not on holidays (no shit Sherlock). For the first three weeks, it probably expected me to be back at work anytime after the usual three weeks off. Think again, buddy! So the fourth week was quite tough when it realized “oh shit, I’m (lowering my voice) unemployed and this is going to be my life for the next 5 months”. My heart and brain being fully committed to this challenging trip will definitely help with our freaking budget (about time, woman!). 

While chilling in wonderful (and safe!) Honduras, I’m reflecting on what I have learned so far over the past month. Nah I won’t bore you with how this trip has taught me amazing lessons (but don’t you worry, this is coming your way). It surely did but for now, I’m ready to go over the funny (to not so funny) traveling surprises that blogs tend to forget to advertise. Here are my top 10 what you wish I would have known before going backpacking Central America: 

  1. Your clothes will smell. Whatever you do nothing but a hostel with a cheap laundry service will save you from THE smell. Best service EVER
  2. Hot showers and washing your hair will be become a luxury (say whaaaat?!). I can handle dirty hair. Isn’t it what a dirty bun is about? But cold water? Baaaaaaaaaah! 
  3. You will most likely start all your sentences with “I have got no money but I have got time” if you need to get the cheapest option. Counting on sympathy of the locals, maybe? Who needs anyway to cover 60 kilometers in 2 hours when you can do it in 5 hours with 3 stops?! 
  4. Your backpack will get heavier by the week. No matter what. Unless you start leaving stuff behind you. Just pack at the very last minute and you should be lighter of a few pieces of clothing, guaranteed! 
  5. You will say no a lot (lot, lot, lot) when you mean yes, please! For instance: “guys, you want to join us for the happy hours?!”. Who would f*** refuse a happy hour? Oh yeah,?two backpackers on a frigging 30 US$ a day budget. 
  6. You will have less to no privacy with your better half for days, even weeks. With smelly clothes, dirty hair and a f*** annoying 30 US$ per day budget, I guess privacy is anyway the least of your worries. Ahh priorities! 
  7. Western junk food (that you wouldn’t even necessarily eat at home like pizzas, burgers and fries) will smell divine and try to tempt you. Not sure where this is coming from as I have been enjoying the local dishes cooked on the side of the road. Go figure! 
  8. You will feel jealousy towards those female backpackers, who don’t seem affected by the hours spent on a chicken bus nor by the heat. I mean really?! Please beautiful (not smelly) ladies, give us a break. Why don’t you pretend to suffer as well from what I called a fashion hecatomb?
  9. You will cry a lot more than you do at home. Yes, tough guys, crying behind closed doors does count! It seems that emotions are multiplied by 100 and what would not bother you at home starts the Iguazu falls. Ladies, imagine you are on your periods 24/7… Pretty emotional, huh? Guys, imagine your girlfriend has ruined your car again and again, pretty irritating. Wanna cry, yet? 
  10. And last but not least, you will feel homesick. I beg your pardon?! What? How can you miss home when you are experiencing so many amazing things?! Meeting great people along the way? Well, it happens and I’m grateful for iMessage, Facebook and what’s app. Not a social media addict but definitely a person who left wonderful friends at home! 

I must be insane but what put me off at first keeps me going. Challenging myself on a daily basis, supported by M, is somehow rewarding and after listing those points, I can’t tell you they aren’t so bad. I am even smiling and laughing writing this post. You get used to the smell (kinda) and learning to say no is not that bad after all (your liver and your wallet are grateful). Backpacking is not easy but for every day spent on the road, meeting locals, learning to be humble, eating street food and feeling free for the first time in years, I’m grateful. 

Watch that space for a post, starting with I for incredible, on beautiful Honduras and in the meantime, some snapshots, enjoy!

Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem! 





7 responses to “What I wish I would have known before backpacking Central America… ”

  1. lukewedwards Avatar

    Nice post, I too have just returned from backpacking in Central America 🙂


    1. frenchiegoneexploring Avatar

      Thanks Luke! Loving it here but right now sitting in El Salvador I’m unsure. Safety seems to be an issue. How did you like this country?


      1. lukewedwards Avatar

        Yeh I know what you mean, certainly San Salvador where every building has razor wire on it to stop people getting in. I only stayed a couple of days because I felt uncomfortable about safety although I was never once threatened even when walking around San Salvador at night.


        1. frenchiegoneexploring Avatar

          Let’s see. Hopefully the western part will be more touristy. We are now in San Ignacio. Cute little village

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Callie Avatar

    I really enjoyed reading this article, so thank you for the fair warnings. I’m leaving in less than a month for Mexico City on a four to five month trip through Central America. I’m worried about the showers haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frenchiegoneexploring Avatar

      Pack flip flops. They were my best friends during 6 months 🙂 let me know if you have any question

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Callie Avatar

        Haha, I definitely will. Thank you.


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