What I Definitely Don’t Wanna Be When I Grow Up…

Hi, hello, I’m currently a freelance writer, editor, Jack(ie) of all trades…
but I’m very much still figuring out my life.

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I earned a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University back in 2013
but, over the years, I’ve considered becoming a flight attendant…
and I’ve been rethinking this pursuit lately.

In fact, I recently applied to a bunch of airlines and even landed a few interviews!

But y’all know me. I’m essentially George Costanza.

And I’ve since reconsidered.

And, sometimes, it’s easier to find clarity when you figure out what you DON’T want. 

I’m still not sure what I’m doing but I know
I definitely DO NOT want to be a… 

Doctor – blood? eek!
Lawyer – abiding by the law? eek!
Drug Dealer – not abiding by the law? also, drugs? eek!
Chiropractor – fake news! eek!
Baker – have you watched my insta stories? eek!
Coroner – eek? eek!!
Mathematician – numbers? (I had to Google 9×7 the other day) eek!
Toilet Attendant – smell ya later? eek!
Librarian – shushing people? (I literally cannot whisper) eek!
Candle Maker – SCENTsational headaches? eek!

So, like, I’ve basically got it all narrowed down. 😂
I left flight attendant off the list because it’s not a definite NEVER ever
but, like, never for now? Classsssssic Jackie.

“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.”
– Death of a Salesman (speaking of which, I do NOT want to be a salesman either)

Truly, though, over the years I’ve realized the things that make me happiest are being outside and being around animals (the non-human variety, of course).

Anyways, I did a thing and made a YouTube video!
It’s been a minute and, as much as I LOVE writing, sometimes I just need to TALK to understand my own train of thought…

…because half of the time this train is choo-choo’ing out of the damn station before I have time to register that it was even there! 😂

As an INTJ, I live inside my head 99% of the time.
So, here are 3.5 minutes of me trying to decipher these thoughts of mine…enjoy!

 

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

How I Scored Permits to Havasupai This Year!

Before I write this, I have an admission to make…

I had never heard of Havasupai before this year.

I KNOW, I KNOW.

How can I call myself a travel aficionado (I don’t) and not know what this majestic place is!?

For those who are as uninformed as I was, Havasupai Indian Reservation is considered one of the most remote Indian reservations in the good ol’ USA.

Actually, it’s THE most remote village in the lower 48.

In fact, folks who LIVE in this village still get their mail delivered by MULE.

Did I mention this reservation is tucked away IN the Grand Canyon and the only way to get there is to traverse 20+ miles RT on foot? (I mean, okay, yes you can helicopter in but WHAT FUN IS THAT!?!)

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And did I mention that you need a PERMIT to even attempt the hike there?

It’s apparently a BIG DEAL and there are folks who have been trying for YEARS to score permits. They go on sale just one day a year: Feb. 1

I came to find out about this magical place through a fellow couchsurfer I met while in Montana. Remember Montana? And my undying adoration for it? Anyways…

I kept in touch with this fella and he reached out to me at the end of January asking if I’d ever heard of Havasupai. I immediately Googled it and was like, holy bananas, HOW HAVE I NOT HEARD OF THIS WONDERLAND!?

Fast forward to a few days later, Feb. 1st. Everyone and their mothers are visiting this website to try for one of these coveted permits.

Pro Tip: You have to make an account to even attempt to get a permit, so make one IN ADVANCE! Then, as soon as the window opens, you’ll be logged in and ready to go!

I was logged in half an hour before the window even opened to start buying…once 10AM (EST) came around, I was click-click-clicking away!

By 10:51AM, I had gotten through to the calendar page – where you pick out the dates you want (it’s a set parameter of 4 days/3 nights, no exceptions) – THREE times but the site kept crashing on me.

At 11:03AM, IT WORKED!

I had gotten through and I had the confirmation email to PROVE IT!

Beginner’s luck! It took me over an hour but I was persistent.

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I also kept trolling Twitter with the #Havasupai tag to see how others were making out. I saw a lot of folks having trouble but there were also some beacons of light who encouraged folks to keep clicking through — and that’s exactly what I did!

I also kept refreshing my browser, which I think many folks were afraid to do…fearing they’d ‘lose their place’ — but those were the people who ended up with no permits at all.

Keep in mind this is not a FREE trip. The below info is straight from the website:

ALL campground reservations are 3 Nights / 4 Days.

$100 per person per weekday night
$125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)

These prices include all necessary permits, fees, and taxes.

This means that a 3 Night / 4 Day stay will be a total of between $300 and $375 per person (depending upon how many weekend nights are included).

I’ve been told that the prices have gone up significantly (again, I had no idea because I’d never even heard of this, whoopsie!), but I figured it was a solid investment for memories that’d surely last a lifetime.

So, when am I going?! THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!

April 28 – May 2

Fun Fact: This will be my FIRST time legit camping in a tent outside.
It’ll also be the most challenging hike I’ve ever done. Eek!

Stay tuned for my packing list and TONS of photos.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Why I Continue to Choose Hostels over Hotels

Because clean sheets are overrated and bed bugs need lovin’ too!

I’m kidding, jeeeeez. The common misconception is that hostels are dirty, dingy, and dangerous butttttt that couldn’t be further from the truth! I mean, sure, sometimes you check in to a hostel in San Diego to find that your new roommates have locked you out in an effort to finish cleaning up vomit on the floor so that you don’t get a “bad impression” of them. And then *click* the door unlocks and you’re greeted by the strong smell of limes, an extremely intoxicated 20-something, and a teen cleaning up the mess. You spot the empty bottle of tequila, a condom wrapper, and Flaming Hot Cheetos on the nightstand. All this and it’s ONLY 7 FUCKING POST MERIDIEM.

Ah, hostel life, you sigh, before muttering, I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS! and you hop back down to reception where you inform Bradley that I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS! and he skeptically asks, how old are you, and you say, 27, and he failingly tries to disguise his surprise as he agrees that, yes, maybe you are too old for this, before assigning you a new room.

TRUE STORY.

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Never has there been a more appropriate gif.

And, yet, I continue to choose to stay in hostels because that’s where all the hella cool people are. Minus the vomming folks but I’ve been there too so, like, whatever.

From the 61-year-old man from the South Bronx who stayed at Hostel Fish and kept calling me ‘sista’ after learning that I too am from New York to the 30-something working there who once walked ACROSS AFRICA in the name of clean water, hostels are filled with the stories of incredible travelers, wanderers, and curious characters. 

My most recent stay at Hostel Fish in Denver took me back to my first time staying at a hostel four years ago. Remember that time I met the coolest people who crammed me in a car and invited me to venture to Canada with them? On that same trip, I ended up ziplining img_12303and hitchhiking. The great thing about staying in a dorm-style hostel is that it serves as an endless revolving door of awesome people. Most recently in Denver, one of my roommates was 23-year-old Michelle from Reno, NV. It was her first time staying in a hostel and she reminded me so much of myself– I too was 23 when I embarked on my first solo adventure and stayed at a hostel for the first time.

Upon meeting me, Michelle asked if I was going on the hostel’s pub crawl and if I was “old enough to drink.” I literally cackled. When I told her I was 27, she was like, “I THOUGHT YOU WERE, LIKE, 19.” Ah, jeez. 

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This is my face when people think I’m 19. Also, my face when old men “accidentally” moon me. Also, my face 98% of the time.

She seemed a little nervous and unsure– all feelings I had when traveling alone for the first time. Meeting her was like meeting myself all over again and being able to observe how much I’ve grown as a traveler over the years.

Then, there was the old man also staying in our room who “accidentally” mooned me as he was getting dressed one morning. There was the charming 30-something fella with the “#1 Dad” necklace, worn proudly around his neck. We bonded at the bar over our mistakes in marriage and our mutual desire to travel and explore as much as we can.

Staying at a hostel gives you the opportunity to meet folks from ALL walks of life. Back in Denver, I also met Max from Ukraine. He’s a smiley dude working at Hostel Fish and his general excitement about life is magnetic. He told me he feels like he’s exactly where he needs to be at the moment and it was hard not to believe him. Another incredible human working at Hostel Fish is Diego. An extremely talented artist, yoga teacher, and wanderer, this Colombian native is so inspiring. We talked for a while and he was kind enough to show me a bunch of his sketches, complete with stories to go along with each. Check out his work here! He also has the most unique handwriting of anyone I’ve ever met and keeps journals just to practice his penmanship.

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If you’ve never stayed in a hostel, I cannot recommend it enough– especially if you’re traveling solo! In fact, I still keep in touch with plenty of folks I’ve met in hostels throughout the years. From Laura (we met in Berlin) who lives in the UK to Shelbie, Dalton, and Alan…all of whom I met when in Seattle, I have a growing network of fellow adventurers around the world now!

Here’s a list of all the hostels I’ve been to in my travels– feel free to message me if you want more info about the hostel life!

States:

  • HI Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
  • Green Tortoise Hostel, Seattle
  • Samesun, Vancouver
  • HI Downtown Hostel, Vancouver
  • Hostel Fish, Denver
  • Lucky D’s Hostel, San Diego

Overseas:

  • Kabul Party Hostel, Barcelona
  • Singer109 Hostel, Berlin*
  • The Circus Hostel, Berlin
  • Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, Denmark
  • Budget Backpackers, Edinburgh
  • Makuto Hostel, Granada
  • Kex Hostel, Reykjavik
  • The Yellow Hostel, Rome

*I would NOT recommend staying here if you’re looking for a fun hostel where it’s easy to make friends. I stayed here for one night in Berlin before switching to The Circus Hostel where I had a MUCH better experience. That being said, Singer109 was really clean and well-maintained…just had ZERO atmosphere and felt more like a hotel.

And that’s all for now folks! Time to explore more of Sunny D before reluctantly heading back to Michigan.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Dear Denver…

Ah jeez. Just when I had my heart set on moving to Montana, I had to go and venture to Colorado. Another beautiful state with an abundance of snow-capped mountains. 😍

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Sure, folks come here for the good ol’ cannabis…in fact, one of my hostel roommates who introduced himself as “Ty Ty” said:

“I just travel to the weed states. I’m going to Seattle next.”

God, I love hostels.

Anyways, I’ll pass on the pot. Not my thing. Luckily, Denver is so much more than dispensaries…though Hostel Fish is conveniently located NEXT DOOR to one if that’s your thing. No smoking IN the rooms though unless you feel like handing over $150. Think of all the edibles you could buy with that! I actually have no idea. Anyways…

I decided to jet to Denver because it’s a hella cheap flight from Detroit.

Like, just 50 smackaroonies. Wooooooo!

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If you’re traveling solo, you should ABSOLUTELY stay at Hostel Fish.
Weird name, right? Denver’s not known for fish…wait, what about rocky mountain oysters?

NO, THOSE ARE TESTICLES. DON’T LET THEM TRICK YOU.

Okay, okay, the owner’s last name is Fish. The hostel is NOT fish-themed or anything. Nothing fishy about it.

If you’re looking to come to the Mile High City (named for its elevation not the pot stuff jeeeez you guys!), you may come across the 11th Avenue Hostel. DO NOT STAY THERE. I’ve heard that it allegedly smells and there may or may not have been a thrash of bed bugs. I can’t say for sure, but, like, why take a chance?!

I’ve stayed at tons of hostels both in the states and in Europe– Hostel Fish has BY FAR the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered. Like, they actually hang out with the guests and every single one of ’em has an interesting tale to tell. Plus, the rooms are themed, clean, and – holy heck! – the beds are legitimately COMFY.

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There’s a fun bar area (guests get a free drink each night!) and a kitchen too. Every Thursday, the hostel hosts a pub crawl – all the main bars are literally around the corner from Hostel Fish. I went on the pub crawl and tbh the highlight was spotting this WOLF at one of the bars:

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Her name was Aspen and she was SUCH a mush and I spent a solid 25 minutes sitting on the floor petting her.

The hostel is also located above a super cool restaurant/bar/dance joint called Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Even the locals recommend this spot, so you know it’s good. We actually ended our pub crawl at Ophelia’s and had a super fun time on the dance floor.

Much more to say about Denver but this gal needs to get her butt up for an early flight to CA tomorrow! 

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

The Mystique of Missed Connections

Ever locked eyes with a handsome stranger in aisle 1,467 of Walmart as you reached for those Slipper Genie Dusting Slippers that you saw an infomercial for that one time as you sipped your rosé and laughed to your cat named Smittens, thinking, those are SO silly! but then you awoke to cold feet and a lackluster floor and, well, here you are. Wait, where are we? Ah, yes, the handsome stranger! Unbeknownst to you, mystery Joe over there is making a mental note of not only your velvet scrunchie and neon Skechers but also your seemingly pathological indecisiveness when it comes to choosing a color! He laughs to himself as you muse aloud, “Ooh, lavender might be nice. Calming, even. But I do LOVE green.”

Green it is. You grab the box, smile politely at Joe, – whoa, are his eyes BLUEGREEN?!?!? – and make your way back down the 1,467 aisles, among all the people of Walmart, to fork over the $10 that you were going to spend on another three bottles of wine but the slippers just seem more important right now. Your floor IS dirty.

And then there’s Joe. Ah, Joe. He’s moved on to aisle 837 (socks) and is now kicking himself that he didn’t say anything to the brunette in the cat-hair-covered sweats in aisle 1,467. In the 6.43 minutes you spent choosing slippers, Joe was cooking up one-liners as he mindlessly picked up and put down various items in the As Seen On TV aisle (aisle 1,467, to be exact).

Hmm, maybe a Bacon Wave would be nice, he ponders. Then, you make your lavender comment and Joe stifles a laugh. He’s thinking of something to say, something like, You know what’s a foot long and slippery? A slipper! Good God, Joe, could you BE any creepier?! He keeps his mouth shut, puts down the Bacon Wave, picks up a Quick Taco Baking Rack because why the hell not and, well, here we are.

Two people and a silly shared moment. Two people noticeably noticing one another, yet not sharing a word. In the olden days, perhaps a mail carrying pigeon would be sent by one in hopes of finding the other. But, alas, we live in the modern era – oh, joy! Oh, JOE. He can’t get the scrunchie-sweatpants gal out of his head.

THANK GOODNESS FOR CRAIGLIST MISSED CONNECTIONS.

Joe, 28, scurries home to let out grandpa – his dog, not his relative – and then sits down for a nice mindless scroll on the ol’ Insta, @yoitsjoe747. He has a new follower, @itsmefromcraigslist. (Oh, wait that’s ME. #shamelessplug) Huh, people still do this? Maybe I should…nah, that’d be WEIRD. Ah, what the hell. *chugs another beer* 

Joe types:

Subject: Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA

“To the brunette with the scrunchie – was that velvet?? – and neon Skechers picking out those silly “As Seen On TV” dusting slippers this afternoon. I didn’t need a TV to SEE you. I think I might be in love with you. I’ll give you a mess to clean up!

GOOD GOD, JOE, GET IT TOGETHER. 

I think you’re lovely and I was amused by your delight in picking out those slippers! I ended up buying some ridiculous taco shell maker thing myself. Perhaps we can have an As Seen On TV date! Fish tacos, anyone? Let’s taco bout it soon! Oh, by the way, I’m Joe!”

*uploads…aaaand it’s live. 

And wouldn’t you know it, our mystery brunette, Daria, 26, is a fellow weirdo who LOVES a good missed connection. In fact, it’s a bit of a nightly ritual for her to read through the posts from Anywheresville, USA. She’s just finished dancing/dusting around her studio apartment – Smittens looking on in HORROR – and she curls up with her laptop. And that’s when she sees it:

Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA” 

Daria is SHOOK, as they say. She reads the post, immediately recognizing herself in it. She laughs, it’s silly, but oh, good God, what the f–

Fish tacos, seriously?? Does this ass think he’s being FUNNY? 

RE: Subject: Walmart, Aisle 1,467, Anywheresville, USA

Are you serious, Joe? Fish tacos? Are you some kind of pervert who hangs out in aisle 1,467 just for funsies? I bet you’re the type who would make some sick joke like, “You know what’s a foot long and slippery? A slipper!” But you wouldn’t be talking about a SLIPPER, would you, Joe? I AM SO GLAD I MISSED OUT ON YOU. 

Well, we showed him Smittens.

A reply? Already? *clicks* oh my God, oh my God, I am an IDIOT. Fish tacos, I literally meant FISH like– oh BLOODY HELL. I do wish I were British so I could say that more often. UGH BUT WHY DIDN’T I JUST SAY CHICKEN. JEEEEZUSSSS. I KNEW I SHOULD’VE WENT WITH THE BACON WAVE. 


Or, Joe could’ve just said something in-person?! Gah, I’m endlessly amused and fascinated by the Missed Connection section on Craigslist. In fact, yes, I recently made an Instagram dedicated to these poetic posts. It’s as sad as it is heartwarming– all of these lost souls, exchanging sweet smiles and small talk at gas stations, bodegas, and dog parks around the world (JK, we’re all just looking at the doggos and puppers there). I’m a weirdo; equal parts cynic, equal parts romantic. I mean, I married my first fucking boyfriend because HOW ROMANTIC but in retrospect, so silly omg (it didn’t work out, most marriages don’t – THE CYNIC IS BACK YAY). ANYWAY… I used to dream of the person who’d finally fall madly in love with me and how it could literally be anyone and I’d walk around thinking, could it be him? That guy stocking shelves in Trader Joe’s! He was humming…a JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE song?!?!? Señorita?!!?! And he smiled at me! And omg I’ll never see him again but WHAT IF IT’S HIM AND IT’S MEANT TO BE. *posts a note on Craigslist* JK, never did that, but I LOVE the people who do. And SURE there are creepers like fictitious Joe out there, well OK, maybe he actually wasn’t being gross but Daria will never know what really lies behind those blue-green eyes, will she?! But there’s something weirdly romantic about someone taking the time to write something out, to try and get your attention, to say “hey! I noticed you! did you notice me noticing you? will you notice me back?” When I worked in NYC, I thought about this OFTEN, like WAY too often, as I rode Metro-North to and from Grand Central every day. What if, instead of a quiet car we had a social car?! These are things I’d think about. ALL THE TIME. And I still do, tbh. As introverted as I am, I wish folks were more social and less weird about, well, being weird. But, I guess it IS easier when alcohol is involved. C’est la vie. In closing, (lol am I writing a fucking dissertation? idk), here are some curated Craigslist Missed Connections for ya – a lot of y’all are missing each other at various marts of Wal, FYI.


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From Hawaii to North Dakota, folks are just trying to find love at their local Walmart. Follow @itsmefromcraigslist for alllll missed connections, not just Walmart.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie