When a Glampacker has to backpack

I’ve always been a well organised traveler, researching where I’m going, what to see, how to get there and roughly how much I’ll need for each day.  I’ve definitely taken this organisation for granted.  Although I had this month of travel to Canada planned for well over a year I really didn’t do that much research. It’s an English speaking country, and it’s a bit like Australia right? so I’ll be fine, I’ll just work it out when I get there’.  Ha, what a naïve assumption that was!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means struggling, I just grossly underestimated the size of this country and the cost of travel.  So, I want to go from Vancouver to Banff, a few hours on a train right? Nooooo, try more like a 15hour bus ride. Yikes! Like hell I’m doing that. No trains go here unless you get the fancy pants Rocky Mountaineer that’ll set you back around $1000 which is definitely not in my budget. Otherwise you fly – also not the cheapest exercise in this country.

So with the bus and the fancy pants train out, I flew, which resulted in my first 3 days budget being blown before I even got here. Normally, no drama – chuck it on the credit card right?  Not an option since I quit my job (still the best thing I did) my bank account balance will only continue to decrease.

No problem – I’ll just revert to backpacking to even out the cost – hostelling, communal rooms, public transport, I’ve done this before, I’ll be right…

Well it’s clear I no longer fit in here anymore. I am no longer a backpacker – I am a glampacker. I’m currently sitting in the ‘dining room’ drinking wine (from a mug albeit) and eating cheese and biscuits – whilst everyone else is eating pasta and jar sauce or toast and guzzling cans of beer. No one is coming near me, they start walking towards my table and then divert when they see the wine ‘she’s not one of us’ I can hear them thinking.

My first night in Banff, I stayed at a backpackers, where they were conveniently showing the AFL Grand Final (go the Swans!!!).  I soon realised this as just a ‘theme night’ and was just an excuse for people to get drunk – myself and one other were the only two still interested after half time. Well best get into the swing of things.

So I order a drink at the bar ‘Vodka and Tonic please’.  I joke with the bar tender and comment that I love that they have Vodka on tap (like a post mix machine).  ‘Oh we have other stuff, much better, this is the cheap stuff. Do you want a Grey Goose instead?’ Yes please I do and he pulls a dusty bottle down off a high shelf.

It’s here that I meet Scott, a 28 year old from Texas who has ‘hooked up’ with one of my room mates. He’s intelligent; he works on acquisitions in the mining industry and earns over $200k, but likes to stay in hostels because he meets people and its fun. I can attest that this is true.

As the night wears on and we’ve all had a few drinks he says to me ‘I don’t really know how to say this without offending you… but you seem different to the others here, more mature, but not old; but somehow different, you’re a bit like me right? I’m guessing you have a good job at home and don’t really need to stay in hostels do you?’  Yikes! I wish I was earning $200k!  ‘I could tell as soon as I met you, you weren’t like the others.’ He says. I’m not sure whether to be flattered or insulted by this.

So this is how it’s going to be, I guess I just have to ‘suck it up’ as they say, hold my head high and be proud to be a Glampacker in a backpackers world. So, on that note I’m off to wash my hair with my $40 shampoo…


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