Backpacking 101

If you're from anywhere except the US, you probably already know all about backpackers lodges and such, but I find it a fascinating new experience.

I recall many American movies and sit-coms from the 60's and 70's that had a high-school graduate who wanted to 'backpack across Europe for a year to find myself' before they joined the 'real world'--all much to their parents' chagrin.

I always envisioned them sleeping on the ground in a field or forest or by a riverbed and then foraging for berries or some such stuff the next morning--all in all, not a tempting mental image for me. And they also talked about staying in 'youth hostels', but I never had a reference point for that, either.

Well, my Yankee pals, since my journey to NZ, I have experienced the 'backpacker' world and, I gotta tell ya, it's nothing like I thought it would be. The distinction between the hostels and lodges seems to be blurred these days, but the experience is the same.

We have stayed in these accomodations on a few occasions and have experienced a couple of options. These options and expenses can range from a 'luxurious' room with its own bathroom (and a tv, if you're really lucky) to a room with just a bed and a table to sharing a room with 6 strangers. You can even just rent a space to park your tent if you like (but I'm not too proud to admit I don't do camping). All of the 'places have communal kitchens, lounge areas, laundries and showers/toilets and I'm sure makes for some great conversations and possible new friendships. (The kitchens and stuff, not the showers and toilets.)

I know that I heard a little about youth hostels growing up, so I'm sure they existed at some point in the US, but for some reason I was never really familiar with the concept. The older I get, the more I realized how sheltered my life was. But not any more.

Have you ever stayed in these places in the US? I would sure like to hear about it if you have.


Sandra said...

Can't say that I have. I've never even gone camping. I'm more of a homebody, I guess. But, I can tell you, that I am in desperate need of a vacation. Just give me a nice hotel to stay in. That will suit me fine.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Not in US, I remember seeing all the motels from Detriot to New York.

In NZ, we traveled a month as a family with the Top Ten holiday parks, which ranged from tent site, to cabins and motels. We stayed mainly at motels. In some places where they didn't have motels, we stayed at cabins, Oamaru. We met lots of back packers from all over the world. I did a bit of cooking and sometimes shared with these traveling on the cheap eating 2 minutes noodles.

My husband, the more sociable type enjoyed his evenings with his new friends.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

About thirty years ago, they had the something Angels. I can't remember the exact name. You join up,if possible, agree to open your house. This is a Christian group, and I must say a very trusting group.

For $2 a night, the host provides B & B in her home. You reciprocate if you have a spare room to other guest.

We stayed in one, didn't get to see the hostess as she was a night nurse. She just lay out breakfast. We didn't offer our tiny flat and that was no problem, we could stay in other homes.

Now I think, I wonder if they still have this. New Zealand has changed. You never know who might come into your house and what they do.

Bitsa Lit said...

Im all about the camping but have never stayed in a hostel...yet. Im sure some day I will, hopefully one in NZ lol!
Im not sure if there are any in the states but I have heard through the grape vine that Saint John (my city) has one for all of the cruise ship people that stay overnight but want to experience a maritimers life. And i guess some people try to backpack Canada...I wouldnt mind that lol...