Tag Archives: hostels

21 things travelling has taught me

I’ve been on the road now for just about eight months. I’ve visited two continents, taken 12 flights, reversed my round-the-world ticket back to South America, lost track of the number of bus journeys I’ve taken, crossed borders on foot in the middle of the night, got told off for trying to climb a glacier at 5,200m and met too many people to keep count.

And, despite this not being a ‘find-myself’ trip, I’ve realised a few things along the way.

  1. A light backpack has everything to do with happiness. It took me six months to figure out what I did and didn’t need but I think I’m now on the right track.
  2. Leaving stuff in hostels is great when going off on tours or treks; giving stuff away is even better because it makes someone else happy too.
  3. Quinoa is magical food. I am in love with quinoa and vegetable soup.
  4. Whilst we’re on food, I don’t crave chocolate in hot climates as much as I do in the UK.
  5. The quickest way to cool down is to take off your hiking shoes or trainers. Others might not thank you for it but it works.
  6. Saying yes to new experiences can make you happy and proud or in some cases, sick and ill
  7. I can do all sorts of stuff by myself and I like my own company.
  8. But! I need social contact and travelling solo does get lonely at times. There’s so much joy in sharing travelling moments when you’re with the right person or people. I’m now ready to travel with some other people.
  9. I’ve become less tolerant of people who annoy me, particularly rude travellers.
  10. Age is just a number; attitude and experience are so much more important. I’ve met some annoying older and younger travellers, and some awesome ones too. Age irrelevant.
  11. Hitchhiking is a great way to get around but don’t do it alone, especially not as a female. But I did do it, and I got lucky, and I actually met some good, good people as a result.
  12. Solo travel opens up many more random opportunities and experiences.
  13. I love to dance and laugh, and I don’t do it nearly enough. I think I’m still a bit inhibited. Trying to belly dance in New Zealand was fun and started to loosen me up a little.
  14. A spare camera battery is a must. In Bolivia I was on a bus ride with the most amazing scenery and my camera died. Where I stayed that night had no electricity to recharge. Be prepared!
  15. The main awkwardness of dining alone is other people’s awkwardness.
  16. If I wasn’t writing about my travels, I would probably get pretty lost, like many other travellers I’ve met. I think that there needs to be a point, a purpose to one’s travels beyond the three month mark.
  17. Wear sunscreen! Needs no further explanation!
  18. I haven’t really missed my job or professional identity. This is different to not wanting to work. I have worked and volunteered and it felt good on so many levels.
  19. Since my Peru accident, I’ll always wear a bike helmet. In Byron Bay in Australia, people cruise around topless and sans-helmet. I looked less cool, but I didn’t care.
  20. Facebook and Skype have stopped being my enemies. On the road, I understand their value. I talk to my family, send photos through to my friends, keep up to date with what’s going on outside of my little world.
  21. Travelling indefinitely is maybe not the ideal after all. I realise I need to settle in places for a little while every now and then.


Filed under australia, bolivia, brazil, culture, dancing, ecuador, health, new zealand, peru, random, solo travel, south america, travel

A message to you, backpacker


The things people travel with and leave behind in hostels

You get some idea of a hostel and its clientele by the way that the place is treated and decorated, how chaotic and clothe covered the rooms are, what bits and bobs travellers leave behind, whether there are knickers hanging in the bathroom from someone’s late night drunken shenanigans. (I found a pair. They were red and lacy. Classy.)

I’ve stayed in some beautiful, clean hostels but I’ve also stayed in some dives. Whilst NOMADS in Auckland was a pretty spot-on place with friendly staff, clean sheets and comfy beds, the wooden slats for the upper bunks were more often than not grafittied and me and my dorm buddies would enjoy sharing the words of wisdom that were carefully inscribed and printed. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. The direct fun-time message: Rock out with your c**k out!
  2. The statement: Sophie’s a gay. So what?
  3. The bizarre: Help! I’m lactating. Go get yourself checked, I say.
  4. The affirmative: You are beautiful xxx. It’s true, you all are.
  5. The downright cruel: There is no Santa. Are you sure?
  6. The mind messer: If you’re reading this… your bed has bugs.
  7. The love memory: SABS+MIK. Or lust. It won’t last.

And then, just in case you were missing out on something truly poetic, there was this, um, inspired little ditty designed to bring out the trust and friendliness amongst roommates:

The Irish Girl She
Choked a man with a clover leaf
Drowned a man in Guinness
And she sleeps in the bed
next to you

One of the guys in the dorm debated whether to add some Keats’ quotes or the definitions for some highbrow words. Call it a balancing act, if you like. But not being one of the younger crowd, he never did pick up a pen. Pity.

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Filed under new zealand, places to stay, random