Today I turned 44. To my occasional disappointment, time has marched on. I like to think I am only a thin baloney slice more than what I used to be. Really, I don’t feel that old, but my tastes have changed. I have become a step slower and probably need glasses. I have evolved. However, I remember back in the day.
As a traveler, I lugged around that rucksack with all those international flag patches on it everywhere I went. I shared bagettes with other travelers and ordered extra butter to save money (one bagette and four plates, por favor). I slept on the floor of train stations and the bunk beds of youth hostels. I carried my own toilet paper and cans of sardines – just in case. Travel still happens after forty, but things have changed.
The game of seeing how little I can eat in order to save money will never happen again. I have learned that fine dining has its place and I want to make sure I have a variety of locale faire. I still shop at local markets and buy food from side of the road push carts.
I know there are some spectacular youth hostels. However, my last dorm-style youth hostel stay was in Reykjavik Iceland. I slept in the top bunk and was awoken by an 18 year-old student who was urinating on the 72 year-old-backpacker sleeping below me. I vowed never to rest in a dorm room again.
I finally have a big-boy bag. I call it luggage. It has wheels. I leave it in my hotel room and unpack it. Although, I still never check it at the airport
I am much more will to take my time, but less willing to take my time on the slowest option from getting from one place to another. I think I once took a train that was pulled by a mule instead of the ultra sleek bullet train in order to save $9.
On my first backpacking trip ever. I arrived in London without a place to stay and never once made reservation. Now, I call ahead.
Of course all of this has to do with money and how I choose to spend it. I know that if pressed I can live quite happily on next to nothing. I am proud of that fact and have proved it many times. However, I have also learned that travel and adventure can take many forms. I look forward to even more of the second half. The old rucksack will go to my daughter who may one day want to see beyond her own back yard.
Happy birthday Devin! Great tips that you’ve learned over the years … and here’s hoping I never have a hostel experience like the 72-year-old man in Iceland.
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It is funny know now. It was hugely annoying then. In fairness, I have had mostly very positive experiences in youth hostels. However, the duds stick out in my mind.
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Happy Birthday! Sad to hear about that terrible hostel experience…yikes.
Happy Birthday Devin!
At least I know I can still travel in another 13 years.
I think the hostel experience was worse for the guy in the bottom bunk.
My guess you can go longer than that, too.
.-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..How to Get a Press Trip =-.
Happy be-lated birthday Devin, and I feel I also share the same sentiments as I grow. Once in a while I have the urge to re-live my younger days again and go stay in a dorm room (mixed-genders too!) and to later regret it 😉
Ah yes, the to call to the “younger days.” I still cringe at some of those younger days memories, but have an occasional pang to relive them, too. Glad they are over.
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