Growing up I dreamed about Rome. My mother and grandparents told me stories about Italy, and it always sounded so fantastic. So unattainable. Then, two years ago, I stepped off a plane and I was in Rome, Italy. Maybe it wasn’t my favorite city ever (still an amazing place though), but the experience of being there really was something special.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone that I like to stay at hostels when I travel. Hostels are cheaper than hotels, but it’s not only about that. It’s about the atmosphere, about the people, and it’s about the experience. One of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in was a small hostel in Rockhampton, Australia. You might not even have heard of the city, and it’s less likely that you dream about going there. How I ended up there is a long story, but I was there over Christmas 2009.
From the outside, and inside too if I’m being honest, it didn’t look like a place I would love. It looked okay, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t look amazing. My plan at the time was to stay there a couple of nights and then fly down to Brisbane for Christmas and new years. That plan changed rather quickly though. I met some amazing people at that hostel. Especially the woman working there. I think her name was Roby . She invited all of us (I think we might have been only 10 – 15 backpackers there at the time) to her place for dinner on Christmas day.
I’ve never experienced a more different Christmas celebration compared to what I’m used to. It was probably 40 degrees outside, we had a bbq in the back garden, there were people from 8 different countries. Roby and her family hadn’t only invited us backpackers, they had also invited bus and truck drivers that were stuck in Rocky during Christmas day. And you should have seen the food! A mix between traditional Australian bbq and Asian food.
It was one of the biggest contrasts between Sweden and Australia I ever experienced. In Sweden Christmas is a family holiday, in Australia it’s for friends as well.
I’ve been to asia twice. Thailand earlier this year and Hong Kong a few years ago. It was on my way home from Australia that I had five days in Hong Kong, my first taste of asia. Arriving to Hong Kong I was a bit surprised. What I saw of Hong Kong, the skyscrapers and light, didn’t fit into my picture of asia.
I stayed in a hostel on the 23 floor of a skyscraper. I think that’s the highest up I’ve ever been (counting buildings). It was a tiny room. The beds were shorter that I’m used to, my feet were almost dangling off it. Sharing a 15 square meter room with 9 other girls were quite an experience.
Five days felt like five minutes, and it was way too little time to make Hong Kong justice. It’s definitively on my list over places to go back to visit again.
The sun is finally here. Not very warm outside, but it’s still sunny 🙂 I love the summer. Absolutely love it. When I traveled in Australia, I spent almost three months in Rockhampton, during their warmest period of the year. It was between 30-40° C every day. I loved it. Sure, it felt a bit too warm sometimes when I worked outside in the sun for eight hours, but it was still wonder full weather.
One day, when I have a bit more time, I’ll tell you all about my adventure living on a farm for three months.
In a couple of weeks I’m going to Stockholm with my sister and mother. We’re visiting my aunt and aren’t going to do much else than go shopping and out eating. We’ve done it countless of times before, but it still feels exciting. I love just doing something different, to travel even though it’s barely a 2 hour trip. For me, many times, it hasn’t even mattered where I’ve been traveling, I’ve just had the need to pack my bag and go somewhere. To see something new for a day or two.
I used to compete in both swimming and kayak when I was younger. Both involved a lot of away competitions, and training camps. Road trips in crowded buses across the country to a new competition, I loved it. With my family I’ve traveled 8 hours in a car to visit my cousins for a couple of days. Maybe it wasn’t the funniest road trips of my life, but I’ve never had anything against traveling.
I’m not sure where I’ve gotten the travel bug from. My dad thinks Gotland (Sweden’s biggest island just outside the east coast) is abroad, my sister wouldn’t step foot in a dorm room in a hostel and my brother only travels to party on all inclusive hotels. I’ve done some traveling with my mom, so maybe I got the interest from her. I know my grandmother on my mothers side of the family has done some traveling, and her parents as well. If they’ve had the same opportunity as I do today, maybe they would have made the same choices, who knows…
I didn’t get a chance to talk with my grandmother about traveling, but at least we’ve visited the same city.