When I first met 24-year old Philip Jones, it was the day before he left for his first solo trip to Europe and he was quiet with nerves, mainly concerned about missing his flights. “I was stressed out a lot before this trip, I’m not going to lie,” Phillip says when we meet again a few months after his return to San Francisco.
Sitting between the two pop-culture powerhouse cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Monterey might not stand out as a pioneer town for anything except gorgeous beaches and laid-back living. But in truth, this is a town of firsts: it has California’s first state historic monument, it was where the Golden State’s first newspaper was printed, and it’s also home to California’s first state theater.
Sometimes, while you’re staying at a hostel, you’ll find it a little challenging to connect with your fellow travelers beyond the usual “where are you from?” conversation – maybe the language barrier is particularly strong or it’s extra difficult to find the flooring for common ground. That is, until someone name drops their favorite TV show or starts singing along to the familiar tune that’s playing in the hostel common area, and next thing you know you’re re-enacting famous scenes and performing impromptu karaoke with a brand new lifelong friend.