Time to think and meet a vast mix of people you will never meet at home. Backpacking usually is longer in duration. Depending on what time of backpacker you are, usually you will have more time to stay in a city, to interact with people, and to explore the city yourself.
After every trip, I learned something different. During your normal day-to-day life at home, there's just no time and space for me to think about important but not urgent matters. Being in a totally unfamiliar environment, having the luxry of time, and hearing thoughts and stories from other backpackers with different background and history breed the perfect environment to think. The feeling is like someone open up the box that I was in. All of a sudden, I have a lot more space and options.
Stereotypically, my first trip was in 2005 when I was in my third year going to Europe. It was a threesome girlfriends trip. The trip opened my eyes up that there's so much more out there than I realized. I learned there're different ways people can live their lives and that I have choice to choose what suit me most.
My second trip was in 2006. It was a girlfriend-boyfriend trip to Thailand and China. I realized and finally admit what works for me in a relationship was not what I was getting. I learned to let go when you tried and things didn't work out.
Solo to Eastern Australia in 2007 was my third trip. I met so many solo backpackers from all over the world. Solo backpacking is one of the most amazing thing I discovered. You don't have anyone to social with so you are forced to meet and talk to people. From this trip, I learned that everyone has a story behind them. All of us are trying hard to live our lives to the fullest. There's always a reaons behind people's action that make perfect sense to them. Be open and listen. There's more than one way of living and thinking. Yours might not necessary be the best way.
My recent trip to South America was by far the best ever. Life just keep getting better and more adventurous. It was a threesome co-ed trip with 2 other a friend of a friend of a friend friends. Random, exciting and totally AWESOME. Backpacking gives me a strong feeling of "I'm alive". This trip helped me put my life into perspective. I learned to live in the moment - not the past or the future. Life is to be enjoyed and should be filled with passion. There's always a trade off - what will you get and what are you willing to give up. My priority became a lot clearer after this amazing trip.
That's why I love backpacking....