Cheers to 2020!

Dang, I’ve really neglected this blog in 2019…probably because I’ve been so damn busy this year! 2019 has been the raddest year in recent history…super stoked to round out the decade with a year like this.

And, yes, apparently I use words like ‘rad’ and ‘stoked’ since moving to Montana. Gahhh!

At the beginning of this year, I was living in Michigan. Remember when I got bangs? 

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In Feb, I went on an adventure that took me to Denver, LA, and San Diego where I met friends both old and new. Oh, and now I’m moving to Boulder, CO for three months starting in just a few weeks!!

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Then, omg I joined a gym FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE to prep for my adventure to Havasupai. Definitely the most challenging trek I’ve ever physically embarked on but holy shit it was incredibly rewarding.

GET YOUR PERMITS THIS YEAR, PEOPLE.

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Then, I said goooodbye Michigan at the end of May and embarked on a road trip to my new home in Missoula, Montana. I stopped in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and probably other places.

Oh, and America is weird and beautiful and lovely.

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Did I know anybody in Missoula? Nope.

But I wanted a change and I did it and I MADE FRIENDS AND IT WORKED OUT AND OMG IT’S BEEN THE BEST CHOICE I’VE EVER MADE. Admittedly, it wasn’t always easy. I had moments of *did I make an awful mistake?!!* *how will I make REAL, true friends?!* But ladies and gents, it always works out. 

I also started volunteering at the local Humane Society and adopted my new bff, Dolores!

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This year was all about saying YES and doing things I’ve always wanted to do!

I’ve always wanted to pick up and move somewhere totally new. So I did it. I also tried skiing and STAND-UP COMEDY which I plan to keeeeeep on doing forever because holy heck it’s incredibly fun and I’m a silly goose for now and forever.

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Oh, and remember that time I eloped? I finally signed those divorce papers!!!

On top of a mountain, of course.

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Also, I discovered there are trees that naturally smell like VANILLA. Liiiike, this was some Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shit and I WAS SHOOOOOK.

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Thank you to absolutely everyone for an incredible 2019! I rounded out the year in Ireland with my cousin and I also have a new godson (dog), Biggie! He’s adorable and I love him.

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Cheers to 2020! Keep spreading 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

5 Places I Want To Visit This Year

5 Places I Want To Visit This Year

Happy Hump Day, y’all! I’m filled with a sense of wanderlust today (lolz when am I not?) and wanted to curate a little list of places I’d like to visit this year (but I really mean within the next year…so by this time next year). A lot of people make lists like this at the start of a New Year, but I like to do it randomly throughout the year to keep things exciting! I’d love to look back at this list and have visited all five and then some!

Tokyo

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Thailand

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San Diego

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Austin, TX

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Savannah, GA

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Where are you hoping to go?

Comment below!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie