Getting to know San Juan + first taste of hostel life

My first few days here in Puerto Rico have been such a breath of fresh air. I always find it exhilarating to experience a new culture, discover a new way of life, and meet so many new people—both locals and travelers alike.

My first day here, I spent hours wandering through the winding one way streets of Old San Juan, with their blue-grey cobblestones and bright rainbow of facades. No plans, no expectations, just getting lost in the city. I discovered countless flower-filled alleyways and secret courtyards where local musicians played. And I fell in love with all of it.

For me, it’s a very calming thing, discovering a city on my own, taking the time to breathe it all in…the sights, the sounds, the feeling in the air. I love it because when you’re traveling alone, it’s all up to you. You don’t have to compromise what you want in order to match others’ preferences, you are in complete control of your schedule, and personally, I feel more connected to a place after I’ve explored it solo. It’s a world of endless possibilities, and I find so much freedom in it.

enjoying some mint tea in the hostel’s courtyard

Hostel life has been quite the adventure, too! Once you get past the shared rooms and noise level, it’s such a unique experience to share a space with like-minded travelers. After just one day, I’d found a small community, like a little family or a built-in group of travel buddies. I hardly spend any time in my room because there’s always someone socializing in the common space of the hostel, an open courtyard filled with murals and string lights and of course, a great playlist. This introverted soul hasn’t felt like much of one thanks to all these new friends!

I also just wrapped up my first two days of working in the hostel. I’m running the shop, a market-style booth filled with handmade apparel and accessories from Africa. Sitting out there under the pop-up tent and interacting with the tourists and locals that pass by makes me feel right at home after selling Rooted products at markets last fall.

Overall, I’ve been loving my time here so far. It’s everything I hoped it would be…a change of pace, a push out of my comfort zone, and an opportunity to explore somewhere new.

That’s all fir now, but stay tuned because I have some visitors coming to town next Tuesday, and who knows what kinds of adventures we’ll have!

Catch up on my latest posts!

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