Lessons All Backpackers Learn on Their First Trip

Backpacking around the world is a great way to see as much of this planet of ours as possible. When backpacking, learning about different cultures and seeing some of the most incredible sights are par for the course. However, there are some lessons that all backpackers learn after taking their first trip into a foreign land.

Bring Earplugs

One of the first things you’ll realize when staying in a cheap hostel is that you should have brought earplugs. Popping some earplugs in your pack will ensure that you can sleep through the loudest of snoring and passing wind. Sleep is going to be very important on your trip, and you don’t want anything stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Don’t Pack So Much

If you haven’t been traveling before, you may end up packing enough supplies for a small army. You quickly learn that you don’t need so much stuff, and anything you need can be bought pretty easily. You can wash your clothes practically anywhere you stay, and three pairs of shoes are just not required.

Not Everything is Online

The beauty of traveling to a far and distant land is discovering things for yourself. Many of a backpacker’s best stories come from when they got lost and found the perfect little restaurant. Trawling Tripadvisor for a good place to eat might help you avoid the bad places, but you could be missing out on the real gems too.

Free Doesn’t Always Mean Free

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The same applies when you’re backpacking, and those super cheap taxis usually include a detour to some shop you have no interest in visiting. Free walking tours come with the hidden cost of tipping your tour guide, generally after being guilt-tripped into it. When backpacking, it’s important to realize nothing comes for free.

Backpackers, make a note of these important lessons before you set off!

Traditional and Beloved Burmese Noodles Have a Very Intricate Recipe

In Myanmar, the tradition of selling trailside bowls of Mont Di is still alive. The traditional way of making these amazing rice noodles can take up to a week and involves 18 steps, which is why only a few skilled people still make it by hand. The old and tried recipe ensures the coveted quality that’s usually lacking in machine-milled noodles.

Myanmar, Sagaing The Variety of Mont Di

Although this dish is a national treasure for entire Myanmar, it comes in different varieties that correspond to each different region. The flavors vary depending on the ingredients that are most commonly available in the area. In the south, Mont Di is commonly served with eel or fish. The rice vermicelli can be had in a soup or a salad.

Mont Di - Rice Noodle Dish In inland cities, it’s more common to use meat as an addition to the rice noodles. The meat is cooked on the side and added atop the dish like a sauce. In most areas, people like to douse their Mont Di with oil. Commonly used spices include chilies, garlic, turmeric, and onion, as well as red or green chili paste.

Fresh Noodles Require Hard Work

Many Mont Di sellers had the intricate recipe handed down through generations. Paul Salopek, writer and National Geographic Fellow, met several sellers of this dish. Such is the case with 52-year-old Ma Yin who has been hand-making the dish her entire life, just like the women in her family did before her. She explains that it is a tiring process and a venture with little income, which is why many of her neighbors gave up on the business.

People Eating Mont Di From a Street Seller Because of the subtropical heat in Myanmar, the vermicelli sours quickly. That means that the noodles can’t be stockpiled and need to be bought fresh. The process to make them can take a week and some of the steps are quite intricate. The rice is soaked for days, then cooked, pounded in a traditional stone pounder, kneaded, and strained into boiling water. When cooked, the vermicelli is usually washed with cool water before being made into the Mont Di dish.

Stone Rice Pounder