1. You struggle to explain “backpacking” to your family.
Two months into my trip backpacking through South America, I decided to stop in Quito, Ecuador to visit my extended family. When I arrived wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt with mud stains under the sleeve, my hair matted and unwashed, my backpack’s torn straps hanging down my shoulders, my family looked aghast. For Latinos, traveling means luxury and comfort, not adventure and visiting places “on a shoestring.” With such a strict emphasis on personal appearance and looking “bien arreglada,” the idea of spending a year “roughing it” on purpose makes little sense.