#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

While I was really out in Africa to prove why travel insurance is so important and to prove that it is difficult to cope without your belongings, there were some odd benefits to it, some which I would never have expected had I not experienced this lifestyle. You can read about the problems I had on this article, but here let’s look at those zany positives about “not backpacking” in The Gambia and Senegal.

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

It pains me to say that I have never backpacked in Senegal and the Gambia (as I had no luggage), but at least I have travelled there and been a tourist in both countries, loving it. I got up to all sorts of cool things like watching belly dancing, eating fish on the beach, stroking crocodiles and visiting the famous Lac Rose. Here are some odd benefits about travelling with no luggage and how you can cope if an airline loses your bags.

1.I Had Nothing to Carry!: No weight on my shoulders
It was really weird crossing borders and walking through airports not carrying anything. At times I freaked myself out and went insane – where’s my bag? Oh yeah, I don’t have one. Where’s my notepad and pen? In my pocket. Where’s my passport? In my pocket. At the start I viewed this as negative. By the end, I loved it. I was free to walk everywhere with no weight on my shoulders!

Crossing into the Gambia without a backpack!

Crossing into the Gambia without a backpack!

My body felt healthy too – without that big bag dragging down my back. Perhaps my moments of peace in Africa have opened up new ideas in my mind.

Travelling through Senegal without a backpack!

Travelling through Senegal without a backpack!

2.Pretty Blue Eyes: Not staring at screen
It’s no secret that spending your days in front of a computer screen is bad for your eyes. When I realised I had 12 days away from this, I started looking at my eyes, even cleaning them and trying to care more for my skin.

I spent my days feeling crocodiles rather than typing on keyboards.

I spent my days feeling crocodiles rather than typing on keyboards.

I also was doing more physical things – swimming, playing football, walking and feeling crocodiles. If I had my laptop, I’d have spent a lot more time typing.

Touring the Albert Market in Banjul, the Gambia

Touring the Albert Market in Banjul, the Gambia

3.I Spoke to More People: More Sociable
I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to making new friends. I usually get to a hostel, ask for the Wi-Fi password, then go online and write 58 articles for a travel client before leaving the hostel the next day. I rarely even talk to my dorm mates. But here in Senegal and the Gambia, I had no laptop. So I couldn’t disappear into my laptop.

New friends in the Gambia

New friends in the Gambia

I started talking to more people, I became sociable again. I made new friends, in the airports, in bars, in hotels and on buses. While I still missed the laptop and the ability to work online and write all day, I saw the side I had missed. The sociable Jonny Blair. The life I had before business backpacking came into my life. It was good. It was a positive.

Back in the day - the loneliness and boredom

Back in the day – the loneliness and boredom

And of course the highlight was playing football with the kids yet again, a throwback to the day I lobbed the goalkeeper in Afghanistan.

Jonny Blair playing football with kids in Africa

Playing football with kids near Banana Lodge, The Gambia

4.Safety and Security: Never needed to Check My Bag
I was travelling with all I had on my person so I had no bags. This meant I felt safer. Nobody could steal anything that wasn’t attached to me. I didn’t have the choice to leave my bag with someone while I went to the toilet. I didn’t have a bag, so I just went to the toilet with everything I had.

The same at the border crossings when getting my passport stamped in and out. No need to check my bags or ask anybody to mind them. It felt odd at first but after 2 days without a backpack, I was used to it!

Crossing Senegal by boat at Foundiougne, no backpack

Crossing Senegal by boat at Foundiougne, no backpack

5.Fastest Check in Ever
I got to Gatwick Airport and realised I could go from the bus stop to my seat on the aeroplane without needing to talk to anyone, apart from the words “thank you” to the passport stamper, the bag searcher and the flight caller. My check in took 30 seconds and I didn’t have to queue.

Checked in at the airport with no backpack

Checked in at the airport with no backpack

I went to the machine, typed in my details, scanned my passport and voila! They printed my boarding passes for me and I hadn’t spoken to anyone!

Flight tickets printed without talking to anyone!

Flight tickets printed without talking to anyone!

Admittedly though, this negated the social aspect a bit, as it meant I was now speaking to less people while boarding the flight, but hey, it was an all new experience.

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

#MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

And of course there was the fact that I didn’t have any change of clothes so this made me less lazy and more clean. I brushed my teeth more, had more showers each day and washed the same clothes every day and hung them out to dry in the sun!

Relaxing at Maison Abaka: always squeaky clean!

Relaxing at Maison Abaka: always squeaky clean!

So it was a crazy challenge, but don’t be a lunatic like me, please! Take the hint from my stories that your baggage actually is important, and so is travel insurance. Don’t go without it on a serious trip, and since I was on tour with Money Supermarket.com, check out their travel insurance options!

Safe travels!

Arrival in Dakar, Senegal - shared taxi to my Maison Abaka

Arrival in Dakar, Senegal – shared taxi to my Maison Abaka

Touring Banjul, The Gambia

Touring Banjul, The Gambia

Join 15,017 Monthly Readers! If you enjoyed this article and LOVE travel and SAVING money, get e-mail updates from Don’t Stop Living – a lifestyle of travel! (It’s Free) 😉 Jonny

About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Africa, Gambia, MSMLostLuggage, Senegal. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #MSMLostLuggage Challenge with Money Supermarket: Top 5 Benefits I Noticed

  1. Dave says:

    This is awesome; seeing as you did this without travel insurance and under the pressure of a business backpacker rather than just a budget traveller, you’ve demonstrated how easy it is to cope for someone whose baggage gets lost or stolen. Most of us would probably have bought a new daypack, a change of clothes, and a few other things and still coped less well than this. When my main luggage has not kept up with me, it’s been fun to be away from it for a day (ignoring the stress that it might be…longer), but the idea that it would catch up was still a comfort. Makes me think a few things tho:
    1. Spreading some hard cash around your luggage is often recommended for safety, but maybe I should be checking check how much my travel insurance will allow you to safely lose.
    2. I backup my laptop into the cloud (Dropbox and Google Drive make this pretty easy) – even if its not as often as I’d like. Perhaps I should be doing more to ensure I don’t lose my most recent stuff.
    3. I’m always trying (and failing) to have less luggage, maybe for the health of my eyes, my back, and my social skills, I should try even harder and have even less. Just a toothbrush…
    Dave recently posted…These boots are made for walkingMy Profile

  2. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Dave thanks for the comment. Some very sensible points you make here. Yes, we can cope but we would of course rather have our bags, and in my case my laptop and camera charger. 1. Both are good points. I’m a backpacker but a better case (or a hard cased suitcase) has never been my style. 2. For me it’s not about the backup – it was about not having the laptop every day to type and get my work done but I know what you mean. 3. Having less luggage is easy enough but you will always miss things. Safe travels. Jonny

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


UA-36691711-1