It all started with an idea.

I was in post graduate school limbo, not quite sure what type of work I wanted to do or where to do it. With a background in international relations and a growing sense that foreign policy is inextricably linked to domestic policy, I began to look for a way to bring the world to my own backyard. What followed was an exploratory journey into entrepreneurship and the hostel industry. In 2014, I began working at one of Seattle’s top-rated hostels to experience this wacky and wonderful world, first-hand. Here’s what I’ve learned:

20. Fitted sheets are possible to fold.

19. I am equal parts ‘I’m too old for this’ and ‘age is just a number.’

18. You never know who’s going to walk through the door. I’m 100% a believer of fate.

17. You can avoid a lot of headaches by solving problems before they become problems.

16. I have more than enough material for a sitcom. (Let me know if you’re interested!)

15. When you feel like you’re being pulled in very different directions and you’re not sure which road to take, make sure to live in the present while that path reveals itself.

14. Give people a chance. It’s just about the most noble thing we can do for one another.

13. My adaptability skills are indisputable.

12. Reach out, keep in touch.

11. I’m more interested in the ‘big picture’ than daily operations.

10. Kindness is an indispensable tool for diffusing conflict.

9. Trust your gut with people. It’s extraordinarily accurate.

8. You never stop being a parent. I had calls from anxious moms and dads looking for their children or wanting to make accommodation arrangements for them because they had no place else to go. It didn’t matter if that child was 18 or 58.

7. Business culture impacts decision-making at all levels of an organization.

6. Music truly is a universal language.

5. Life happens when we put our phones away. Most people I found glued to their screens were simply waiting for someone to say ‘hello.’ Once someone broke the ice, it was off to the races.

4. The possibility for meaningful connection is everywhere around us, every day.

3. Everyone is going through something.

2. There is someone for everyone.

1. The good of humanity is alive and well, despite messaging we see to the contrary.

I remain inspired by hostels. For all their ups and downs, they are places where people from vastly different persuasions, cultures, and walks of life interact without pretense, and for a moment in time, exist together in harmony.

And we could all benefit from more of that.