Alternative Spring Breaks: A Trip for the Currently Trip-less
Good morning, Onward Staters. The day is Wednesday, and Spring Break officially begins on Friday. If you are reading this article, chances are you do not have any plans for it. Since the big dance starts in a mere 48 hours, if you don’t have any exotic travel arrangements on the books, you likely won’t be making any at all. However, there is no need to worry, as this article colorfully details a Spring Break trip for the currently trip-less Penn State student.
Before describing this particular trip, I think it is important to elaborate on exactly why we enjoy these trips in the first place. The term “trip,” frankly, is heavily suggestive of deviation from the norm; we go somewhere different, meet someone new, or eat something that we had previously considered as exclusively a house pet. At its worst, this novelty is intriguing, and at its best, it can make for a truly awesome way to spend your Spring Break.
Tthe concept of “trip” in no way requires an airplane ticket, cruise boat, or any other type of lavish physical transition. It is simply novelty to which we aspire, and with a touch of optimism and creativity, we don’t have to look all that far.
So, to those jealous of their friend’s rafting trip down the Amazon, heli-skiing trip to Interlaken, or traverse of the Great Wall of China, here is what I propose:
Pick the closest major city to your house. It does not matter if you live in this city, outside this city, on, over, or around. The only requirement is that it is a place that others might visit. Next, forget that you have ever been here. Forget the sights you have seen and those you haven’t, the food you’ve eaten and the beer you’ve drank. Embrace open-mindedness, absorb optimism, and again, feign complete and utter amnesia. You have never been to this city.
You are now, even in your own city, a traveler. More specifically, you are a student traveler, as many of you reading this are in fact students. Like any student traveler, you are now contractually obligated to be on a budget, to want to meet new people, and to have a burning desire to see the sites. Here’s how it’s done.
- Book a hostel
- Bring a camera
- Bring a backpack.
Yup, a hostel. Contrary to inane yet unfortunately popular belief, hostels are not scary. At their worst, your roommate might snore, but at their best, you’ll be sleeping in a room with seven uncomfortably attractive Swedish women that refuse to wear underwear to bed. In addition, hostels are cheap, and as a student traveler, your wallet is slim. $25/night is all we can afford.
Why? You’re a tourist! While you may have seen many of your city’s monuments and museums before, (but again, you’re pretending like you haven’t), looking at them through the eyes of a camera lens should add a certain degree of freshness to the experience. At the very least, you’ll get a good giggle out of it.
We’re trying to fit in here! All the other travelers in your hostel will have backpacks, so you must have one too. Imitate the backpacker experience to the fullest.
Once you have completed the above three steps, you are almost free to roam the city as you please. However, it is important that I provide a few more pieces of wisdom, so as to help you make the experience as authentic as possible. Here we go.
- Talk to the people in your room.
- Visit the front desk.
- Cook food in the hostel.
- Go with the flow. Be original, be impulsive. Enjoy yourself.
In all likelihood, these people are from a foreign country, which can be pretty cool. They probably look a bit different than you, sound a bit different, and maybe even think a bit differently. I know that it’s Spring Break, and learning is firmly discouraged, but perhaps, you could unintentionally pick up a speck of useful knowledge . Regardless, the people in your room are generally the ones with whom you’ll explore the city, and will probably be the ones you’ll be drinking with at night. Get to know them—foreigners are fun.
The person behind this desk is well versed in dealing with the inquiring traveler, and will happily tell you all of the spots to which you simply must go. Again, we are trying to replicate the backpacking experience entirely. Listen to the concierge!
Unless your city is famous for a certain type of food, most of the other travelers will likely be spending their dinner cooking noodles in the hostel kitchen. They are on a budget, and so are you. Join these travelers, be social, ask questions, flirt with the Scandinavian girls, and embrace the experience. That’s what you are here for.
After that, there’s not much more advice to give. And that, my friends, is the point. After we have completely eliminated all cultural and physical proximity to our current location, we simply become a citizen of the world in some random city. Explore, discover, and again, maybe even learn. The rest is up to you.
So, trip-less Penn Staters, there you have it. You may not be hundreds of miles from home, but the novelty and excitement of travel can still be found. Furthermore, it’ll be cheap, and if you happen to want to bring one of those Swedish girls back to something other than an 8-bunk dorm room, your real home shouldn’t be too far away.