Last year was the year of the Unexpected for me.
There are experiences that I have had that left me speechless and confused. Of them, I feel as though I set them in motion. Here's what I mean.
This year I set out to travel to visit friends, explore their city, and experience new things. From the end of May through the end of June, I was away from home doing precisely that. I visited Canada for the first time ever. I'll gladly share that trip another time. From Canada, I spent about two to three days at home before leaving for the entire month of June. It was exhilarating!
Side note: It may not sound like a big deal to you, but for me, it meant everything. I'm usually the one to turn down opportunities like this because of fear. I know I didn't leave the country, but being away from home for that long after college was another significant milestone.
After being home for two or three days, I flew out to Chicago to hang out with two of my good friends. Before traveling to Chicago, I struggled with whether or not I wanted to go after finding out that neither of them could host me in their homes (for legitimate reasons, of course)! I was perfectly fine with staying in a hotel, but didn't wanna spend the "hotel money," you know what I mean?
So, I researched other temporary living situations and learned about hostels! (Yes, I just learned about hostels, don't judge me!) The price for the number of days I needed was astounding. Not gonna lie, I was a little anxious. At this point, I know I sound like a scaredy-cat after my last blog post! Anyway, as I was researching hostels and heavily considering my only budget-friendly option, I was depending on every review written. I started with the ratings, then read the reviews, and looked at every picture available. I checked the map to see what would be in the surrounding area. I eventually started to grow comfortable with the idea.
Don't get it twisted, though! I was still skeptical about what I could experience. Nevertheless, I did it. I stayed in a hostel for about 5-7 days. I hung out with my friends who took me around the city of Chicago, fed me well, and gave me a tour of their current lifestyle. To witness their growth from a distance and experience, the result in real-time touched my soul.
Living in the hostel for a few days opened up my eyes to a whole new world of travel! I loved it! I would choose a hostel after doing some quality research over a hotel any day!
I met and made new friends with about 15 to 20 people that I now connect with via social media. We would go out to eat, explore the city, and watch TV movies during our stay. Would you believe that I even went out on a date the day before coming back home to Rhode Island?
Well, I did. It was a different, yet such a refreshing experience that I will never forget. My first time in Chicago was definitely one to remember! I cannot wait to see what other great cities have in store.