Bored While Backpacking - 10 New Skills You Can Learn While You Travel

If you have been traveling for a while then most likely you had moments when you felt a little bored. Sure, sightseeing and meeting people from all over the world is exciting. But then, it can also get old at times.

There are reasons why typing “travel burnout” into Google will yield some serious results and you will see that just about everyone is suffering from it from time to time. So what to do about travel burnout then?

Get yourself a project, something that will keep you busy while you backpack. So here I present you 10 skills you can learn while backpacking to keep it fresh and interesting. But first, what exactly is travel burn out?

Backpacking can be quite boring at times
Backpacking can get boring sometimes (source: wikimedia, author: Dwight Sipler)

Why do you have travel burnout

In case you are suffering from travel burnout you might ask yourself how this could possibly be. Isn’t it supposed to be all new and exciting? Yeah, sure it was all interesting at first, but in the long run we need something more.
Hanging out at the beach and seeing waterfalls alone aren’t going to do it in the long run. One of the things that stuck with me from reading about travel burnout myself were two aspects that are crucial to our lives. These are purpose and belonging.
When it comes to belonging this can be interpreted as some kind of home. Whatever this might mean to you personally. I think it is more about people than places. However, this would be a whole article in itself and I am not going to dive into it here.
So let us focus on purpose. In the widest sense it means that you have to give your life some meaning. And on a slightly smaller scale you need to give your travels some meaning. And again, what this means to you, well… only you can know. What I found is that a lot of backpackers that keep themselves busy with something to do are less likely to say “I am bored of backpacking”.
So without further ado, I give you some inspiration and present you skills you can learn while you travel to keep it fresh and interesting.

10 skills to learn while backpacking

These are 10 skills you can learn while you travel. Most of them require just about an hour of practice each day or you can even blend them into your everyday life on the road.

1. Learn a new language

Why not learn a new language? (credit: maxpixel)

This one is kind of obvious. But maybe you just need a little reminder. Of course you will inevitably get better at speaking the language of the country you are in. In Australia your English will automatically improve (or maybe get worse if you are a native speaker).

But didn’t you always want to improve your Spanish skills? Or how about learning some French? Or German? There are lots of backpackers you can have conversations with and ask questions. So get yourself an app to get the basics or head over to the local library and get a book to get you started.

2. Learn how to play a new instrument

If you are desperately looking for a guitar
Believe it or not - by the end of the day someone sold me a guitar

How about something on the musical side of things? Get one of your fellow backpackers to teach you some basics on the good old six string and learn how to play guitar while you travel. Or even better for traveling, the Ukulele. Maybe your hostel has a piano, sometimes there is one in the library or in other public places.

Or if you are in a bigger city for a little longer join one of the choirs and meet other people while singing your favorite tunes. Lots of options so you don’t get bored while you are backpacking.

3. Improve your photography skills

Throw away your selfie stick and grab your camera (source: pixaby, author: PublicDomainPictures )

See the photo from number two? Not a great photo. In fact, it is crappy actually. We all do it. All the time. We take photos, especially while we are traveling. Whether on your phone or using your camera. It does not matter if your photography skills are intermediate or you are just taking snapshots without having a clue what you are doing. Learning about your camera, how it works and knowing about the dos and don’ts of photography will keep you busy while backpacking.

4. Get into graphic design / video editing

Make your photos look a little nicer
Make your photos stand out (source: pixabay, author: Alexander Pahn)

This one is closely related to number 4. So what happens after taking all these beautiful photos? Or maybe you have a GoPro and hours of raw video material.

Then how about you grab your laptop and get a little more familiar with Lightroom, Photoshop or your favorite software. The same goes for video editing. And more often than not you’ll find someone who is quite proficient in one of these tools who might be happy to give you some tips and tricks.

5. Do some hands on work

Jack of all trades - master of none
There are lots of hands on jobs you can work Down Under

Whether you are a tradie or not, there are many opportunities to learn some hands on skills when backpacking. Especially on a working holiday in Australia, there are countless jobs where you pick up one or the other thing.

From working on a farm to labouring and working as a kitchen hand. There is always something you will inevitably learn while performing said jobs. And you don’t even have to be all too professional to get most of them. A positive can-do attitude will often get you there.

6. Learn how to surf, dive, fish, or....

First fish I ever caught
This is the first fish I ever caught

Australia’s coast line is almost 36.000 km long (a bit more than 22.000 miles respectively). That is quite a lot of beaches. If sunbathing gets a bit boring after your third sunburn then how about getting active and going for some surf lessons or scuba diving? Or maybe ask a fellow backpacker with a fishing rod if they can teach you a thing or two.

Or for that matter, get into anything sporty you always wanted to do. Yoga, boxing or have a go at chess boxing, whatever floats your boat. Lots of new things to try out.

7. Work on your writing skills

The pen is mightier than the sword - as they say
Pen and paper - that 's all you need

Yet another skill to learn to avoid travel burnout is to get into writing. Be it just to write down your thoughts which can often help a lot to focus or writing the first draft of your own novel. Or maybe you want to get into songwriting or start writing your own blog. It’s up to you.

8. Create your own website

Web design is easier than you might think
Creating your own website is easier than you might think (source: pixabay, author: StockSnap)

One more skill to learn while traveling is how to create your own website. This will keep you occupied for quite some time (and might even help you to make money).

It is a lot easier than you probably think. All you need is a laptop and you are ready to go. Just download WordPress, get web hosting and off you go. There are lots of great resources out there that will help you. You can find youtube tutorials that are so detailed, you might want to skip parts if you know more about computers than where to turn them on.

9. Try some new recipes

Keep rolling, rolling, rolling
Keep rolling, rolling, rolling... Ever wanted to make sushi? (source: pixabay, author: Free-Photos)

What is one of the most popular pastime activities of backpackers? Cooking, right? So why not try some new recipes. Something you always wanted to cook. Or maybe join a cooking class with some friends. Share some tips with folks from other countries. And if you are lucky you are even able to find a job where you get paid for it.

10. Complete an online course

You never stop to learn
You never stop learning (source: pixabay, author: Gerd Altmann)
Did you ever want to learn a new programming language? Some marketing skills? Or learn about the world history of modern wine? Pretty much anything you can think of can be found as online course.
Platforms like edx, Udemy and many more websites dedicated to online education offer high quality online courses from reputable institutions like Harvard, MIT and Co. On some of these websites you will have to pay for the courses they provide, on others you don’t have to. Edx for example offers a free version and a paid version where you get a certificate at the end.
And wouldn’t it be great to come home not only with a few fond memories and stories to tell, but actually some new skills you can make use of.

These 10 skills you can learn while backpacking hopefully inspire you whenever you get bored of traveling. So let me know if you have any recommendations on what keeps you busy on the road.

Maybe next time you get into a conversation with someone who doesn’t know how to deal with travel burnout you’ll be able to inspire them and instead of saying “I am bored of traveling” they’ll get motivated to try new things and it helps them along the way just like it helped me back then and hopefully helped you as well.

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