New York Times 52 Places To Go Application
My name is Negele Hospedales (aka Hospey, to my internet friends) and I’m a 22-year-old part-time sunset enthusiast/ hobby purist, and a full-time storyteller. My life is driven by the notion that we can all learn something from each other.
During university, I started a website to share my thoughts and ideas. This evolved to publishing over 400 online articles in 2 years and eventually hitting over 250,000 page views to date on that particular website. After graduation, I was stuck where many have been: I had no idea what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to keep creating, and I didn’t want any job that wasn’t a dream job. I recruited a friend, started a new “anti-travel blog” travel blog, and we headed to Australia (My first time leaving North America) in February 2017. After a truncated but thrilling 3 months of living in Sydney, a random internet whim turned into a call from my favourite Rapper. All of a sudden I was touring across 35+ cities in the United States on a tour-bus with Chance the Rapper, giving me the opportunity to not only double the number of cities I’d ever seen but also to keep the story going.
I recently published a piece called “How To Gain 1000 Followers In 1 Week” (one of my typical ‘how-to’ style piece where I narrate my real life experiences as 2nd person stories that we can all experience together), and in that story I detailed one of my championed personal philosophies called “dreamers math”. Without going into too much detail, dreamers math essentially states that for any of your wildest dreams imaginable, there are only 2 possible outcomes: either it will happen, or it won’t. 50%. Every step you take to get closer to achieving that dream, or passing that goal, the better your chance continues to get until the odds aren’t only uneven, but they are heavily in your favor.
To sum it up, there are dreamers and then there are doers. I would consider myself both. Sure, I have some pretty massive aspirations, but I also have the determination to see them through. I’ve been blessed because I try.
With that said, I believe that I represent what is emerging as the new normal. There’s nothing special about my story; I’ve always just been a kid with a modest upbringing, who was raised by a single mother in western Canada… and who liked the internet. Now, I represent an entire generation of kids with an increasing want and need to do more, see more, and experience more.
I never started out thinking that seeing the world would be enough to change my perspectives in any significant way – in fact, this website started as a blog to prove that every corny travel blogger was feeding you bullsh*t, this was going to be a real look at how a trip goes. I did it and but my hypotheses could never match the outcome.
With my prolific experience I’m used to writing every day, and after a summer-long hip-hop tour, I’m used to functioning while embracing life on the road. With the New York Times’ 52 Places To Go, I want to take people along on the journey and show them exactly ‘how to see it for yourself’. The themes of this next year of travels will be exploring the evolution of modern art and culture around the world through the eyes of a millennial nomad, and uncovering all that we can benefit from learning from the world around us. (In the 2nd person, of course, so you can come along with me).
Let’s collect some stories together.
Most Recent Trip: Roadtrip to California
Plane travel is one thing, but there is nothing like a good ol’ fashioned road trip now and then.
My friend Deji and I completed the almost 30-hour road trip from Calgary, Canada to Los Angeles, California, with only about a 2-hour nap break, to watch some friends perform at Day ‘N’ Night festival and to bring Deji to some modeling shoots. Even with the tireless hours in the hot car, nearly running out of gas in the middle of nowhere after sundown, and surviving purely off gas station food for a day and a half both ways, I would easily recommend the classic Summertime road trip (with a friend) to anybody. You’re only a few days off from work and 1 long car playlist away from catching the sunset in Santa Monica after a day of creative saturation, in one of the best urban environments in the world.
[I’ve been to 5 countries, 6 Canadian provinces, 29 American states, and lived (had at least a permanent mailing address) in 4 different cities. In 2017 alone I’ve been to 3 countries, and have spent nearly 7/10 months away from my hometown. A European Summer next year is currently on my to-do list!]
Most Interesting Place & Why: Morans Falls, Australia
Morans Falls was the quintessential example of a place so beautiful no picture could ever fully do it justice. It was one of those obscure places you come across on Instagram once and instantly fall in love with (I’ve got a list of these places that I’m yet to cross off), but sitting on the edge after dipping off the beaten path to find the vantage point that I had dreamed of for ages was truly an ineffable moment. This day was only a few weeks into our journey, and the first time my friend Leah and I had ever driven on the opposite side of the road; we finally pulled into Lamington Nat’l Park after 2 hours of Triple J and the beauty of Queensland struck us immediately (as did the squeaking of the large birds trotting around the visitor center, one of Leah’s forever foes). A perfect welcome to Paradise.
(All photos shot by me on a set of $15 disposable cameras. #throwaways)
Travel Writing Samples
An excerpt from “How to Watch The Sunset“, a story about the special sunset playlist I made to accompany daily sunsets over North Bondi, Australia.
…Tucked in the hills of North, Bondi in Sydney, Australia, a magical spot presides. It’s not the most secluded, or the least known, but it’s perfect. It’s a mere meetup for the non-existent sun-setters club, and you’ve just gained membership. You have only a handful of minutes until it’s time, and the bus is pulling up as close as it’ll go, each stop beforehand playing Jenga with your angst. At this point, with your nose pressed against the window, the billowy clouds over the bay will start to seem closer than science should allow. You’ll hop off the bus as cumulus destiny seems to summon you. You’ll want to stop and set up camp right then and there, but you haven’t quite made it to your spot yet – snap out of it. You will start the playlist.
– – – – –
“Clouds Never Get Old”; Bas harkens the sky with a bouncy ode as you stroll to your spot, gazing up at the sky as if it was your first time seeing it. “Palm Trees” will play as you settle in. Relaxed and taking in the beauty, you’ll seek out the perfect vantage point. A few minutes will pass, and as the sun struggles to peek out over the skyline the cotton candy clouds will 2-step as Frank Ocean’s intro begins. “Pink+White” takes over your soul – green, your body. Hearing Frank naturally makes you want to hear more Frank.
The beginning of the 2nd half of “Nights” marks the end of another day to most, or the beginning of another for a creative, as you peer out and finally seem to understand the color navy. (Not an ocean blue, but it’s not quite purple either. It’s underneath the clouds, yet never eclipses the horizon. As sure as you’ve ever been of anything)…
An excerpt from “How to Travel After University”, where I shared the story of how I got ready for my first real adventures.
Enroll in some sort of post-secondary institution. You probably don’t want to, and will probably hate a large majority of it, but it will be worth it. It will be worth it, only because it will make the [what happens next] seem that much more rewarding.
Find a friend. Choose wisely; maybe a friend from school. No flakes. (This step is optional. Consider skipping this step).
Find yourself. You never know when group travels become solo travels. Enjoy being alone sometimes, but embrace the opportunity to cultivate new connections.
Get a job/ win the lottery/ or pan-handle. Gather the funds by whatever (legal) means possible, and then resort back to what Thompson first told you to do: Buy the ticket. Open ended, or finite, it doesn’t matter. Lock it in. (hint: don’t give yourself any opportunities to back out).
Plan. Plan. Plan some more.
Now scrap those plans. Find out how you’re getting to where you’re going, and when you’re going to leave. Remember those ‘mad-libs’ books from when you were a kid? Just fill in the blanks. There is no right or wrong way…