Friday, February 10, 2012

"Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination..."

The rest of Greg Anderson's statement is, "Joy is not found in finishing an activity but in doing it." Staying in hostels can make for an interesting journey. It may not be for everyone, but it's a great way to see the world on a budget. The hostels affiliated with Hostelling International are required to live up to HI standards, but I've seen a couple of non-HI hostels that were just plain scary.

Each one is different so I never know exactly what to expect until I check in. The rooms usually have bunks for about 4-8 people, but these dorms can be for men only, women only, or co-ed. Most also have a few private rooms at a slightly higher cost. Mattresses can range from very bad to very good, and earplugs are an absolute necessity! Most have a kitchen where food can be stored and cooked. Prices (today) start at about $20-$30.

I began my retirement with a six week trip from Portland, Oregon, down the coast of California to my brother's house in the LA area. These are the hostels I stayed in:
  • Northwest Portland - a great Victorian house within walking distance to downtown 
  • Redwood National Park - just across Hwy. 101 from the beach (closed right now)
  • Point Reyes - an old ranch house 30 miles north of San Francisco
  • Marin Headlands, Sausalito - just 10 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf - right on the bay, walk to the wharf
  • Point Montara Lighthouse - former Coast Guard quarters 25 miles south of S.F.
  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse - lighthouse keeper's quarters 50 miles south of S.F.
  • Monterey - Cannery Row, the  aquarium and a short drive right into Steinbeck' books
  • Santa Cruz - the Beach Boardwalk and some great surfing
  • San Luis Obispo - a bit more inland than the rest, in California farm country
I wish I had known about hostelling a long time ago. The very best part is the wonderful people I got to meet from countries all over the world. And I often ran into the same people at other hostels further down the road. It's like running into old friends! There is always a large common room where everyone can sit together and talk or read or play games.  It's so much better than going to a hotel room, turning on the TV, and closing yourself off from the rest of the world!

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