Traveling to eastern Europe and staying in hostels with no AC
For the first two decades of my life, I never ventured outside the confines of the United States.
Sure, my family roamed between Michigan and Florida on and off for years, visiting relatives or changing residences.
But I always longed to go further than the border and experience a completely different culture than the handful of various ones I’ve naturally been exposed to as an American. My dream was to someday see the Mediterranean Sea, whether it be from the shores of Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, or even Morocco. My first serious girlfriend in college was born in Nicaragua and visited her family down there regularly during breaks from school. She was also no stranger to venturing throughout Latin America with a few bags, a tiny bit of cash, and nothing else. Naturally, after I met her family at school one weekend, she mentioned wanting to show me the wonders of Latin America. We would fly down to southern Mexico and make our way down to her family, staying in hostels along the way. I had nothing but excitement for the trip, until the second day in when we finally reached our starting point in southern Mexico. I vaguely knew what hostels were but clearly had limited knowledge having never stayed in one. I didn’t realize it was the most meager living conditions imaginable with not air conditioners or furnaces available. Even in winter, heaters are scarcely needed in these regions as we get closer to the equator. But I cannot imagine what it would be like otherwise visiting these places if either I had more fortitude as a soft American or if air conditioning of some sort was available. Clearly, I’m barking up the wrong tree with the second suggestion. These cultures have survived centuries in these conditions without many of our Western comforts, so why should anything change now?