Life,  Money,  Travel

How “Begpackers” Make Me Feel Grateful for My Powerless Passport

I used to feel bitter towards “begpackers” because of my powerless passport, but not anymore.

First of all, according to Global Passport Power Rank, my Indonesian passport is ranked 58th out of 93. While doing this research, I get to know that my passport is ranked lower than the passport of the countries I never heard of like Nauru, Kiribati, and Vanuatu.

More surprisingly, the passport of Timor-Leste, which was part of Indonesia until 1999, is doing better – sitting at the 45th position!

The Roots of My Bitterness Towards “Begpackers”

no sight of begpackers at Dambulla Royal Cave Temple Sri Lanka

For someone who loves travelling, the roots of my bitterness towards “begpackers” are obvious. I have to work hard and save diligently to make my bank statement decent enough to obtain the tourist visas.

In contrast, most “begpackers” have powerful passports that let them travel to many countries easily without tourist visas. Nobody knows if they even have enough money to buy return flight tickets.

Because of that, when I saw them begging on the streets holding cardboard asking for donations to fund their travel, I felt irritated.

Things like ‘if you don’t have money, don’t travel!’, ‘why don’t you ask your family to help you?’ appeared on my mind. But… who am I to ban them from travelling or begging?

“Begpacking” is a Travel Style

no begpacker at ella 9 arch bridge sri lanka

There’s a saying ‘if you can’t change a situation, change your perspective’.

So, I ask myself: do I want to eat crappy food when travelling? Do I want to sleep on the street or a stranger’s couch, not knowing what would happen the next day? Is it the kind of travel experience that I want?

Do I want to be a “begpacker”, begging for some money under the hot sun and in the cold night, just so I could travel?


I now see “begpacking” as a travel style – it’s a choice that some people make. If “begpackers” are willing to suffer so they could travel, let them be. Why should I feel bitter about something that I’m not willing to do?

As Mark Manson, the author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” says,

‘Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things.’

My Powerless Passport Empowers Me

female traveler on ella kandy train ride sri lanka

I’ve come to a realisation that my powerless passport is actually empowering me. It pushes me to work hard and never give up for my dreams. It inspires me to create a monthly budget and some financial goals, so I have enough money not only for the trip but also for rainy days.

As a result, I always have warm breakfasts, comfortable beds and hearty meals whenever I travel. My powerless passport indirectly saves me from going “begpacking” – a travel style that I wouldn’t enjoy, and I’m grateful for that.

Also read: This is the City Where You Should Dress to Kill

begpackers don't enjoy warm breakfast while traveling

Therefore, my fellow travellers, if you feel bitter seeing “begpackers”, remember this: it’s the quality of your travel that counts, not the quantity of the stamps on your passport.

Leave a Reply