As the plane made its touchdown on the tarmac, I looked out the window and over the wing to gaze at the clouds that blanketed the hills. From the air, it was difficult to distinguish the sea from the low lying fog in the afternoon sun. The scenery sparked my imagination. I took out a notebook and quickly wrote down something about a city surrounded by a sea of clouds as a possible setting for a book.
I have been to California a few times, but my brain cannot recall if I’ve ever visited San Francisco on one of my family vacations to the state. I knew for sure this was my first time alone, and my first time for business. But that was for tomorrow: today was to find my lodgings.
I used my Bart voucher at the information desk to get a train ticket. The lady working there was nice enough to inform me my necklace with a kanji from Dragonball was on backwards. Looking down, I realized it was from the copyright stamp, but knew she could read it. I strolled to the train and stood as it sped down the rails. When it emerged from the tunnels, I saw we had entered into the clouds. I was suddenly aware of my lack of a jacket. “Just don’t rain,” I whispered.
I left the train at Powell station and headed to the ground level. With a pair of aviators, T-shirt, backpack and suitcase, I knew I had a sign that screamed “tourist.” Following directions from the phone, I made my way through the bustling streets towards the Adelaide Hostel.
When I was browsing for hotels on the computer the day before, the Adelaide stood out by the price: $53 a night. It was too good of a deal to pass up! It was when I read the name to my father on the phone that he had to explain to me what a hostel was, and give me horror stories of cleaning up a stranger’s throw up in the bathroom. I had already booked it, and imaging paying double the cost elsewhere was enough to stop me from canceling.
Fortunately, my first experience was more endearing. After getting into my room, I met one of my roommates, a South Korean gentlemen by the name of Park. He was impressed with how I pronounced his full name (which I have now forgotten), and I had to explain where I got my practice from. He was intrigued with my involvement in esports, and I considered the coincidence as a good sign.
Then I met Emilia. A girl traveling the U.S., born from an Australian immigrant family, she and I hit it off through the power of sarcasm. She took me to the pasta night across the street for a free meal. I couldn’t help but be swept up with the storybook feeling of the experiences so far, and realized why everyone fantasized traveling so much.
The hostel is cozy, though it does have some problems. Namely the outlets: it seems half of them don’t work, and the ones that do are in a bad place for the wifi or awkward to sit and type a blog post on the laptop with. Still, it serves as a place to sleep within walking distance of the Bill Graham Civic Center.
That is where I’ll be today, working my ass off. My first League of Legends world championship experience starts today. It’s time to, as my friend Amanda “SageGnosis”Stevens just messaged me, “be the hero of your story.”