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

Seek Out Adventure

Seek Out Adventure

Two years ago, I quit my job and booked a one-way ticket to California. At 23, I had never been to the West Coast and was excited about my first solo travel adventure.

I needed a fresh breath of air and this trip provided so much more than that.

New experiences, friends, and memories to last a lifetime.

Continue reading “Seek Out Adventure”

Traveling Solo but not Alone

Traveling Solo but not Alone

Well it’s been over two weeks since I embarked on my adventure to the West Coast and I’ve already seen so many cool things and met incredible people along the way. As much as I adore NYC and all of my friends back there (seriously, I miss you guyssss), I have this immense fear of getting stuck in a rut and routine…turning 80 and regretting allllll the things I didn’t do.

IMG_3416I used to dream of having some super important job with a fancy title and corner office somewhere in Manhattan; a job that would allow me to afford a penthouse overlooking Central Park and a personal driver. While all that sounds pretty sweet, it’s definitely not everything, or really anything, life should be. People are so focused on gaining material items based on what society deems as worthy and in style. It’s literally absurd when you think about it. Whenever I go to buy something now I think to myself, do I really need this? or shall I spend this money on a bus/train/plane ticket somewhere? 

At the end of your life will you really remember all the clothes/electronics/shoes you bought or the adventures you went on and the people you met? You can totally have both, but our society’s priorities are so screwed up! It’s OK to be different and not follow the norms of what others think life should be. 

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Met all these lovely folks in Seattle!

When I was in Seattle, I met two awesome guys who literally sold everything back home and took a train across the country on a whim. With no jobs or apartment lined up, they managed to secure a place and some interviews in the time I was there (which was like three days). How awesome is that!?

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”

Through this adventure I’ve met people from all over the world and have experienced so much generosity and kindness along the way from total strangers. It’s incredible. Like right now, I’m sitting in a room with four people I met in Seattle who invited me along on their Canadian adventure from Vancouver to Whistler. I DIDN’T KNOW THESE PEOPLE TWO WEEKS AGO! Thanks to Michelle, TJ, Alan and Trevor for letting me explore a bit more of the world with them!

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On our way to Whistler from Vancouver! We were super stuffed in there…I literally couldn’t move my head. Good times!

Traveling solo is a truly insane, invigorating thing and I’m loving every minute that I’m not sitting in an office wasting away.

In just two weeks time I’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge, had my first In-N-Out burger (can we please get these in NY?!), stayed in hostels for the first time and met so, so many cool people, saw the Space Needle (which is not nearly as tall as you’d think), rode a bike for the first time in YEARS in Portland (thanks for being so patient, Kayla! haha), ate a ton of Voodoo doughnuts which I subsequently worked off on the steepest hike of my life in Canada and zip-lined for the first time in Whistler!

Booking a one way ticket across the country has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s so refreshing to meet so many other travelers who have that same desire to see the world and continue learning with each new venture.

I would encourage everyone to take a leap of faith and if you’re itching to go somewhere, GO! You’ll only regret the things you didn’t do.

Happy Travels!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

MY FIRST TIME

MY FIRST TIME

Folks, I’ve been in San Francisco for a few days now and have finally tried my very first In-N-Out burger! I ordered it ANIMAL STYLE because I heard that’s what the cool kids do and boy was it DELICIOUS. Check out the video below for more of my reaction!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie