(Anxiety I felt on the Greyhound bus traveling to my first hostel) “Am I prepared enough? If I stay on the bus long enough will it turn around and take me home? Why the heck am I going to live in a hostel anyway? What am I going to do in San Luis Obispo? Maybe I can…Oh, no…I’m here.”

Trying new opportunities can be daunting. On the bus ride to San Luis Obispo, I was overcome with fear, but I knew I had prepared for this moment.

It took 5 years of hard work to get to San Luis Obispo. There were many nights of planning, searching, testing, and re-planning trips over and over again! My mother would listen patiently as I blasted her for information and opportunities available! I let her know about hostels and how they worked and I eased her mind about staying safe while traveling. In the end, she supported me and gave me the advice I needed.

“Melina, if you want to travel, you should begin by taking small steps. Travel California with your sisters, visit friends in other states, and then you’ll be prepared for your long adventure!”

It wasn’t smart to jump blindly into a lifestyle I knew nothing about!


First, I minimized my spending.

Every penny I earned was taken into consideration and categorized to eliminate wasteful spending. Now, every purchase has to go through a process of evaluation.

  1. Do I already have something similar?
  2. Is this versatile?
  3. Can I find this cheaper?

If these answers didn’t convince me to make the purchase, I would postpone buying the item and wait. This helped me afford to travel.

Secondly, I put my entire life up for evaluation.

I refused to do mindless tasks and follow trends because society told me it was popular; instead, I evaluated the meaning of rituals and desires. Slowly, I stopped wearing makeup and using shampoo or conditioner, these things weren’t actually necessary. Then, I encapsulated my wardrobe and gave away duplicated garments. I didn’t need to worry about wearing the same outfits every day. Who was I trying to impress anyway?

The taste of freedom was slowly approaching!

Thirdly, I minimized my responsibilities.

College was bringing me a lot of misery, so I quit. I’ve never been one to quit, but a man once said that one of the biggest lessons in life a person will have to learn is how to quit. Before you go and call me irresponsible, I already had an awesome job that could be done anywhere I found myself with Wifi. I didn’t need school anymore and my work experience would help me get a job if I needed to.

Fourthly, I took mini-trips around the US

I began accepting every opportunity to leave Fresno, California. This would mean beach camping with my Aunt, flying to Michigan to see my best friend, and hitching a ride with a friend who was traveling around California just because I could! All of those adventures gave me a taste of freedom and independence! The idea of traveling solidified itself into my life with no chance of escaping.

Lastly, it was time to leave home.

On a whim, I purchased a one-way ticket to Austin, TX with the desire to work in a Hostel owned by one of my idols, Nomadic Matt. The departure date was months away and I got anxious. I jumped onto the website HelpX and looked through the California job listings. Some of them needed farm workers, others dog-sitters, but I found my fit at the Hostel Obispo.

Jarred, the owner, mentioned a little about his family and the close-knit environment his hostel provided. Instantly, I felt safe and wanted to learn more! I went to the hostel’s website and found the contact page to ask if the position was still available. Two days later he informed me I could be part of the family!


After further communication, he let me know a date that worked for him and we planned on my arrival time. Soon, the ticket was purchased and the train ride was taken! This experience was far greater than I had anticipated.

Don’t you see how those small steps of preparation brought me to my current destination? If you want a different life, work for it! Change course by taking chances and walking into the unknown. You will never know what could lay beyond if you don’t try.

Till Next Time,

Merely Melina