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. 😍
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!
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.
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:
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!
A bit of culture shock is expected when you leave your own country, right? Like, oh, I’m going to Paris and everyone is going to smoke everywhere all the time and I don’t have to tip anywhere and I’m going to get dirty looks for even trying to speak French…TRES BIEN. I get it. This is not America and the servings here are not large and I’m ok with that (no I’m not). But, hey, life’s great and I’m eating my weight in croissants on quaint little streets named Rue Saint Dominique and such. Ya know?
But what about culture shock IN America? AS AN AMERICAN?!
I present to you, Montana.
I’ve been to the South. I’ve been to Utah. I’ve been to Texas. I’ve been here and there.
I loved it. I smiled the entire time I was there minus when the power went out in my Airbnb just as it started to snow and I was all alone but ANYWAY.
LOOK HOW PRETTY EVERYTHING IS.
Montana’s the kind of place where folks are friendly for no good reason and it’s weird because NY is, like, well…not like that. I mean, NY is my home and I adore it and I too hate when tourists stop in the middle of sidewalks and/or walk on the WRONG side (people, sidewalks are like ROADS…there is a right way and a wrong way to walk) and people who think Times Square and 5th Ave. are New York City, like, hello no bye.
New Yorkers are blunt, brash, bonkers, and bankrupt because the rent is too damn high.
We run on Dunkin’ and Montana runs on these adorable little coffee shacks that I quickly became obsessed with but oh so embarrassed to drive through in my dumb Cadillac (quick story time: I rented a car and they gave me a Caddy which most would love but I was like UGH and it didn’t have a CD player and I was SO mad because I brought my Man of the Woods CD because duh and I missed my little 2000 Toyota Camry and I felt like I was driving a spaceship and it had Cali license plates to make things worse and it was just so not Montana or me but ANYWAY).
Things I did in Montana:
Went camping for the first time.
Saw the Milky Way with my own four eyes.
Saw a half-full milk jug on the side of the road.
Saw a few bison!
Went to Wyoming.
Drank huckleberry wine.
Wait, Wyoming is NOT in Montana. Whoopsie daisy.
Changed my mind about dinosaurs existing. I blame Zack.
Hiked a mountain by myself and thought I saw a bear but it was really a large deer.
Pulled over several times to let other cars pass me because I was driving grandma miles per hour to really take in my surroundings. SO MUCH BEAUTIFULNESS.
Said “Wow, everyone here is SO nice!” approximately 2,945 times.
Said “Wow, everything here is SO gorgeous!” approximately 2,946 times.
Couchsurfed for the first time and met the coolest family and fellow couchsurfer.
Fell in some mud in a field after dancing to JT on the side of the road. I blame Zack.
Turned bright red when my tour group and guide sang ‘happy birthday’ to me on a red bus tour in Glacier National Park the day after my actual birthday only to find out that there was another lady and it was her ACTUAL birthday and then the tour guide was like ‘sorry, we’re not singing again’ and I was like omg I just stole her thunder WHOOPS.
Saw Old Faithful erupt! That might’ve technically been in Wyoming but– oh, look! A bison!
I’ve been to quite a few places. And I always ask myself, “Hmmm, could I see myself living here?” whenever I travel somewhere new. I compare everything to NY. But we all know NY is incomparable. It’s electric, magnetic, rat-infested, and smells like pee most of the time.
But it’s wonderful.
And it’s safe and cozy and I know where all my favorite things are because the grid system is INCREDIBLE but hot damn huckleberry pancakes!
Montana sure felt like home.
Like your favorite worn-out book with all the soft, wrinkly dog-eared pages that you keep going back to, re-reading it over and over because it’s just so damn GOOD and you find new details and bits of gold and coffee-stained spots (whoops) each time you read it and it never ever gets old.
But the locals don’t want you to know it! They want to preserve the great treasure state– and I don’t blame them.
Here’s the thing. If you go to a place like Missoula or Bozeman, you can’t expect it to be like LA or NY or wherever, right? You have to EMBRACE the simple life. I mean, it’s not all dirt roads and log cabins and fishin’ and all that– in fact, I saw the prettiest Walmart while in Montana. And by “prettiest” I mean it was literally a regular Walmart SURROUNDED by gorgeous mountains and it was unreal and it almost made me want to shop there but I didn’t.
Ok, so where did I go, exactly?
Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, into the woods, down some streets, here and there, you get it.
Right after Montana, I flew to LA for a weekend to visit some friends and, let me tell YOU, flying from the tiny little airport in Bozeman (complete with dinosaur fossils) to LAX (complete with yoga rooms) was culture SHOCKKKCKCKKCKCK. I was like, wait, what IS Starbucks and where are my little Cowgirl Coffees at and why is everyone wearing full make-up and talking about acting and avocados?
I found myself missing Montana as soon as I left. 😭
From the sweeping landscapes and the abundance of mom and pop shops to the suspiciously friendly residents and the unpredictable weather, I am HOMESICK for this state.
So, au revoir New York! I’m excited to call Montana my actual home beary soon.