There’s so much to love about traveling – new experiences, new sights, new foods, and new memories – especially when you choose to make your home base a HI USA hostel where people from all over the world get to meet because of their common passion. Along with knowing that after a day’s worth of epic exploring you’ve got a comfortable place to rest and relax, staying at our hostels also means that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something new to fall in love with while you’re on the road, whether it’s a new friend or a new favorite street in a city.
If you’ve stayed at HI Monterey Hostel before, you might have had the pleasure of meeting Markus McMahon, friendly guest services associate and walking Wikipedia page for all things related to this corner of the California coast.
On clear nights when the moon is new, astrophotography enthusiasts and keen Instagrammers flock to HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse to capture otherworldly images of an expansive sky flooded with stars. In winter months, the stargazers are treated to views of Orion in all his glory in the west, the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux right above him, the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major pointing to Polaris the North Star, the Little Dipper in Ursa Minor, plus a host of unnamed stars twinkling many light years away.
Steam rose from the rain-soaked concrete at the Emeryville Amtrak Station, where I was boarding a morning train to HI Sacramento hostel. Inside the train car I overheard a young woman with an indeterminable European accent ask another passenger which was the side with the best views. “This side,” he said, meaning the left side facing the tracks and a couple of tall hotel buildings, so that’s how I chose my own seat.
Each year, HI USA’s Great Hostel Give Back program give hundreds of participants from dozens of groups the chance to stay for free at HI hostels across the country in exchange for volunteer service hours. From volunteering in soup kitchens to participating in environmental clean-ups, this year’s participants will donate thousands of hours of their time to good causes in our diverse communities.
At HI USA, we believe in the power of travel to open minds and the power of community service to open hearts. Above all, we believe that these experiences should be rewarding – not costly. That's why, for the sixth consecutive year, we are offering groups across the country free overnight stays at HI USA hostels in January and February 2016 through our Great Hostel Give Back (GHGB) program.
What is GHGB?