The Hostel in the Forest

Where ducks think they’re chickens and everybody is cool with it.

image

I’m sitting in a large room with three large picnic tables full of people from all around the world. We are sharing a meal.

This room, the common area, also has a pool table, a seating area with two chairs and a table, and walls made from the same screen material found on a front porch in the South.

The meal, prepared by the in-hostel chef, is spaghetti, garlic cheese bread, and salad with blueberry dressing.

The conversations at the table I’m sitting at bounces around from travel, to individuality, to each of our life paths. All of a sudden, the conversations come to a stop when we overhear something from another table mostly filled with staff, “…in other words, the ducks think they are chickens.” With our curiosities peaked, everyone including myself looks toward the table where the conversation stopper came from.

The story goes…

Read More

I’m One of the “Lucky” Ones - 5 Steps To Being Lucky, Too.

image
Often, I’m described as “lucky” for my lifestyle; one of a semi-permanent traveler.

A semi-permanent traveler is a person that travels or is traveling, as to distant places, on semi-permanent basis. A semi-permanent traveler is usually without a permanent address, travels for pleasure, and travels more than eight months out of the year.

I’m continuously asked how I’m able lead such a lifestyle.

“Damn, you’re so lucky you can travel like that! Are you rich? Do you just, like, make enough money to cover your travel expenses?”

Categorizing someone as “lucky” tends to overlook the path taken to achieve their lifestyle. Similar to pro-athletes, oscar winning actors/actresses, and world famous musicians the process taken to achieve those titles are sometimes overlooked. The fact that a person is “living the dream” becomes the main focus shadowing the hard work taken to get where they. This makes it extremely easy to think the person got where they are due to luck.

Now, I’m no Burt Reynolds, and I definitely don’t have pro-athlete money, but I have chosen a path and a lifestyle much different than the average person. For this, I consider myself lucky, but in a different context than I’m usually categorized.

I can’t give you the path [insert famous athlete, because I don’t know any off the top of my head] took to become the best [enter sport] player, but I can give you a look into the path I took.

Keep in mind, these are ever-changing steps and I must continuously take them. There is no one-stop-shop in the life of the lucky. My path include the following:

  1. Sacrificing.
  2. Dedication.
  3. Planning.
  4. Working Effectively.
  5. Working Harder. Playing Harder.

Sacrificing.

A few years ago, I consciously made the decision to become a minimalist. I know, this buzzword is thrown around a lot and I’m not referring to the pseudo-minimalist that furnishes their upscale apartment with furniture that looks sleek and has more than one function. I’m talking about downsizing to a twin-sized bed, a lamp, 10 t-shirts, one pair of shorts, one pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, one pair of sandals, camping gear, and a MINI Cooper.

To take it a step further, when my last lease ran out I became actively homeless redirecting what went towards rent towards hostels, AirBnB, campsites, and family & friends with extra bedrooms.

Read More

I’m sure by now everyone has caught wind of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The campaign was created to raise awareness and research funding for the ALS Association. The challenge is to either donate $100 to the ALSA or dump a bucket full of ice water on your head and donate only $30.

Well, as most of us have been, I was nominated a few days ago and decided to do things a little differently.

(link to video) https://vimeo.com/103945390

Read More

Two Big Kids, One Old City

A Re-Exploration of St. Augustine, Florida

image

I still remember the first and only time I spent time in St. Augustine. I was still young, I couldn’t have been more than eight years old. My mom, sister, brother and I spent a weekend there and it was truly a treat, since growing up family vacations were far and few between.

This time around my experience was much more “grown up.” A quiet dinner at a nice Mexican restaurant replaced with a four o’clock happy hour and a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! replaced with a visit to the locals at the Elk’s Lodge.

Read More

Southbound & Down With A New Travel Buddy

A night in Savannah, Georgia

My time in North Carolina had come to an end. I would soon find myself southbound with a new travel buddy, Rob. I met Rob a few nights before our trip down south on an outing with fellow hostel patrons while in Asheville with my sister. He was continuing his trip down the east coast and planned to take a series of buses to Florida, with Miami being his goal. I offered to drive him as far as Orlando.

This is the story of our trip to, and time in Savannah, Georgia.

I spent the days in-between us beginning our trip in the same way as if we had not met: preparing my nightly stops from Franklin back to St. Pete.

After getting to know one another during our six hour drive, sharing stories of our past, talking about our families & friends, and telling stories of our hometowns (Rob was from the UK), we arrived at our destination. A two story house we found on AirBnB located in Whitemarsh Island, right outside of the downtown area.

Our first thought for lodging was the hostel located in the Downtown area, but the buzz in the travel community was that it wasn’t a great place to stay. So, we thought about camping on Tybee Island, since Rob had a tent, but for the price, we decided to just share a room.

Our host, Trenton, was a great city guide. When we arrived he handed us maps of the downtown area and told us about his favorite places to visit. Shortly after getting acquainted, Rob and I headed to a coffee shop where his friend, believe it or not named Savannah, was waiting for him. Savannah and Rob had met a few years prior during a trip volunteering in Uganda.

I dropped Rob off at the coffee shop in order to find parking and give him and Savannah a chance to catch up on their own before a man they both pretty much just met joined them.

Savannah is from a city right outside of town, but had come into the city from time-to-time in her youth with family. Exploring the area, in our adulthood, on our own would be a new experience for all us.


A quick pass by the waterfront lining the north side of the city and we found ourselves at an American-Mexican cafe called Kayak Kafé. The food was great, and it gave Rob, Savannah, and me a chance to get to know each other further.

With food in our bellies and a party town staring in at us from the window, it was time to grab a drink. One of the best things that I learned about Savannah was there is absolutely no open container laws.

It’s not only legal to carry around your booze buddy, but bars offer ‘roadies’ to their guests as they cash out. What a city!

We walked towards Rob and Savannah’s original meet up spot and thought it would be appropriate, for Rob’s sake, to go into an “English Style Pub” across the street. We walked into Six Pence Pub, a British pub inspired bar located in the heart of Savannah.

Since I drove into town, and didn’t want to leave my car parked overnight, we decided to have a single drink. With that being said, I can guarantee I will be back to Savannah and take full advantage of their party charisma.

As for this trip, we clinked our glasses, drank our beer, walked Savannah back to her car, and were back home within 11:00 PM.


Rob and I both wished we had more time to spend in a city that blew past both of our expectations for fun, food, party, and history. The next day, my new travel buddy and I were off to St. Augustine, Florida.

My Sister and Me In The Mountains

Franklin, Highlands, and Asheville, North Carolina

My sister flew in to spend four days with The Unmistakable Family and I in the middle of my trip around the Southeastern United States. Her visit was the proverbial cherry on top of the past nine days spent traveling to The We Blew Inn in Franklin, North Carolina.

Read More

Bill Murray: Travel With Your Partner, Then Get Married. How To Know You’re Marrying The Right Person


Bill Murray has been known for his impromptu encounters with strangers. From sharing a karaoke booth to walking down a hallway in slow-motion, he definitely knows how to have fun and stay busy.

Recently, there was a clip released of a bachelor party that Bill Murray passed through, probably on his way to a kickball game, when he shared a little bit of advice that was caught on tape.

Read More

We Blew Inn, Franklin, North Carolina: The Unmistakable Family and Me

The Unmistakable Family and Me

My three-day stay at The We Blew Inn in Franklin was spent in-between visiting The Biodome in Waynesville and my weekend in Asheville with my sister who was visiting from Florida. The week was everything but uneventful and, at the same time, didn’t have day-by-day particulars to go on about. So, instead of articulating the events of each day, the best way to capture this period of time is to explain the 72-hour span in a single, 24-hour period.

So the day begins…

Read More

The Biodome in Waynesville, North Carolina

Time Spent Farming at a Conscious Community

After a night at The Unmistakable’s home, the We Blew Inn in Franklin, NC we were off once again. This time we traveled to Waynesville, about 45-minutes northeast to The Windstar property, a consciousand (currently “semi”) sustainablecommunitycovering over 75-acres of mountainside with a 50-foot diameter Biodome as the focal point.

The Windstar Biodome Project began in the 1980’s by John Denver and was started as “a place up in the mountains where people would come to develop a critical consciousness in regard to the earth,” according to Denver in his autobiography, “Take Me Home.”

Home Sweet Home, The BiodomeWhere The Unmistakable Family and I would stay for a night in Waynesville, NC

The Unmistakable Family and I had the pleasure of sharing the Biodome as a backdrop during our stay; The Unmistakable Family in their 15-ft pull along camper and me in a tent they were nice enough to let me borrow.

Read More

Stone Mountain, Georgia: Camping, Hiking, An American Girl Doll, and Ingredients From Around The World

Our drive to Stone Mountain, Georgia was slated to be the longest leg of our trip before reaching our destination in North Carolina. Even with our efforts to reach Stone Mountain in the early afternoon, The Unmistakable Family and I didn’t arrive until later in the evening. Partly due to our late departure from Jacksonville, Florida and our choice to take the more desirable scenic route through Georgia.

After we set up the camper and my tent, the adults wished Lily sweet dreams and then took our positions once again around a picnic table to share a beer and plan our next day.

The next morning, as I stepped out of my tent, I found that the picnic table had been transformed into a lake-front office space. Joel, the early bird of the flock, arranged one of the most tranquil work environments I’ve ever had the pleasure to work in.

Read More

Traveling, Writing, Drinking Beer and Promoting a Passion Driven Lifestyle by Living One

view archive