Notes from Here and There

Far too rainy, windy, cold and gross to even leave the house, (or when a East Coast Blizzard strikes!) you sometimes get a little bit of time to think back to the places you have been and the things you have noticed. The following are a collection of thoughts, ideas, comments, opinions, musings, and theories formed while on various trips. These are by no means fact, just one young traveler’s per view.

The Hostel Rule

When staying at a hostel you will meet all sorts of people. You are somehow cosmically bound to meet the following people on your journey.

  • The Creepy Old Guy: Unwanted and yet unstoppable, you will come across a strange and older person, usually about 40-50yrs of age and someone who just shouldn’t be staying at a hostel.
  • The Eager Beaver: Sometimes just an individual, but usually an entire group of young travelers so young and giddy to drink, explore, and enjoy, that they end up making a big mistake – getting robbed blind or worse. Or perhaps just stumbling back in to the hostel (instead of staying out like a pro until the sun starts coming up) and they end up puking all over the hostel.
  • The Eat, Pray, Love-er: Thanks to the success of that book and then movie, you will run into the wide-eyed, clingy, needy, solo traveling girl. Probably blonde. Potentially not very attractive. Possibly bi-polar. They may strike you as an emotional wreck one moment, (weepy with bits of kleenex stuck all over their face) then joyous beyond reason (so very enamored with each flower, sunset, street corner, that they cry, (again finding themselves with bits of kleenex stuck all over their face).
  • The Gem: Sometimes you’ll find this person right away. Sometimes you won’t. This person can actually take any form, come in any age, and yes, they will often be tough to spot. Filled with interesting facts and pieces of knowledge or wisdom, they might know the best “locals only”club in town or have just found a secret hiking path that winds up and up into the air and has a oh-my-god! view of the city. The only way you’ll find out is if you strike up the right conversation. Talking to everyone, asking the right questions, and being in the right place at the right time.

The Food Rule

When traveling, food is important. Food matters. If you eat crappy food for too long, you’ll feel like crap and look like crap. You will be crap. You don’t want to be crap.

That being said, stretching your budget and making the right spending choices will help extend your travels – so being wise and finding a deal will be important.

Your hotel or hostel searching should take into consideration an included breakfast or optional dinner. Many will offer a FREE breakfast. They question is really , what comes with said breakfast? A cracker and a Capri-Sun? Nope that’s not worth it.

In Costa Rica, I stayed at a hostel that offered free pancakes – laying out the pans and pre-made batter, and syrup – then letting you play chef and whip up a stack of flapjacks. In Turkey, I received a delectable buffet style tray with toast and jam, fresh honey, fruit, a local salty white cheese, a fresh juice, and a coffee.

Well there’s something to consider when planning. Some food for thought if you will (see what I did there?)

The People Rule

Scribblings on the types of people you may encounter.

  • Australians: The roughest group you will ever meet. Liable to break out at any moment in a full rugby sprint and lay an innocent bystander flat out cold. Still, they are always game for a laugh and a beer.
  • Argentines: The most sophisticated of drinkers. Like nowhere else these suave pseudo-italians can nurse a healthy buzz all day and all night.
  • Americans: In a country with a 350 million+ population, it is tough to generalize. But heck that’s all I’ve been doing. The American guy or girl will be loud, excited by what they see, and will hopefully be fun to hang with, but may not be. The best way I can explain our people? While other’s act like they’ve been there before, the American will definitely show it’s their first time. Think about it: wether it’s a private jet, a famous museum, a celebrity sighting, or a stunning view, you’ll know where the American is.
  • Asian Tourist: Sorry to generalize and please forgive, but you know exactly where I am going with this. Brightly colored attire, spiky hair, selfie-sticks, extra large smartphones and iPads, video-game or comic-book inspired backpacks and accessories, lots of peace signs and cheesy grins, a general disregard or bewilderment for/with commonly held traffic or lining up or queueing rules….these are all but a few of the things that come to my mind (and likely yours). Don’t lie. You know it’s true.
  • Spaniards: They will look and speak Spanish. They will be in a group and will travel together and seek out anything and everything Spanish. They are, of course, Spanish! You should try and join them because they will have fun, eat well, and drink better.
  • Canadians: The nicest, whitest, cleanest, ambassadors of a country you will meet. They may have a maple leaf flag or red pin adorned somewhere. They represent their country with pride and prowess – making sure everyone knows they are Canadian and that they are nice. One imagines that at birth a small ceremony is held (Celine Dion must provide the background music) and each Canadian is bestowed (by a stern Mountie with the flat billed hat) a passport and a formal document explaining their duty is to go out into the world and promote the Canadian way and image.

The Golden Rule

What goes around comes around and Karma is a bitch. So this rules applies to almost everything you will do and everyone you will meet. Be nice and be your best. Treat each person as a friend, treat each hotel or hostel as your own home, tip generously when you can and when it’s culturally appropriate. And travel with a light foot, so when someone else comes to visit they can enjoy it as you are.

Well that’s all I got.



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