Courtney Loechl is a life-long traveler and an accomplished hostel manager across multiple continents. She discusses her next venture, The Wanderbus – a mobile hostel that will be traveling across North America – as we sip Dark ‘N’ Stormy’s and Anchor Steam at San Francisco’s Beat-inspired Vesuvio Cafe.
Vesuvio Café – San Francisco, CA
Located right next door to San Francisco’s famed City Lights Bookstore, Vesuvio pays homage to North Beach’s Beat influence and legends such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Poetry and pictures line the walls in this intimate cocktail bar, with an even cozier second level that allows you to take in the view of the bar and the busy streets at the same time.
- Courtney is a friend of mine and a life-long traveler (both personally and in her career) and she is currently starting The Wanderbus: a mobile hostel built into a converted bus that will be making its way across North America in the very near future.
- Since Courtney and I are both from St. Louis, we couldn’t help getting caught up in some Louis Cardinals baseball talk, reminiscing on our memories of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, which coincidentally took place 5 years prior to the day of this recording.
- The goal of The Wanderbus is to create community everywhere it goes, particularly in a world that seems to have lost its sense of community.
- We give a couple hostel shoutouts right out-of-the-gate, including The Yellow in Rome (a personal favorite for both of us), and Island Vibe in Jeffery’s Bay, South Africa.
Speaking of hosteling – as well as long-term travel – we cover A LOT on that topic:
- Hosteling is about the community, not the cheap bed. There are still a number of misconceptions around hosteling and long-term travel in North America, but it’s improving. Social media is not only helping this cause, but it’s also helping people realize that they too can follow their passions, whether it’s travel-related or otherwise.
- Courtney shares a story about reconnecting with buddies in Brisbane that she met in Laos, even when it’s primarily a social media-based relationship.
- We talk about the biggest lessons learned while traveling, like how to problem-solve when you don’t know the language.
- While traveling is a growth experience, it’s importantly to not get into the habit of “running away” from the traditional idea of settling down vs. finding a path to purpose. We even cover the benefits of settling down and finding the balance between location independence and dependence.
- Traveling does not need to be something you just “get out of your system” while you’re young.
- Traveling breeds creativity. Creatives focus on their craft over time, and that there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
- Courtney’s “superpower” is being that infectious “ball of energy,” and transmitting that energy to a room.
- If given the chance, Courtney would grab a drink with JP Sears, the world’s most self-enlightened guide to becoming “Ultra Spiritual” and gluten intolerant.
- Courtney was indecisive on her spirit animal. Is she cuddly like an otter? Is she fierce like a lion? F*@k it, we’ll just go with a “Liotter”…
- After a drink or two, Courtney gets “uncommonly better” at trying to be friends with “e’r’body!”…even if they don’t want to.
- Parting advice: Do whatever the f*ck you want, but remember that following your dreams is not easy. “The grass is always greener on the other side because it’s fertilized with shit.”
Drinks of the Show:
Dark ‘N’ Stormy – We kicked off with this classic ginger ale and rum cocktail, and felt it paired perfectly with the dreary weather we were having that day…
- Anchor Steam – A San Francisco classic! It’s not too bold of a statement to say that this was one of the original American craft beers, and if we’re talking “beer and ambiance” pairings, no beer pairs better with an authentic, slightly-divey SF bar than this amber California Common-style brew.
Courtney’s Favorite Bars in North Beach:
- The Saloon – This place is one of a few bars in San Francisco that claims to be the oldest bar in town. It’s what you’d want in an old-school San Francisco dive bar: it’s gruff, cash-only, and includes live blues music and no-nonsense bartenders.
Resources for When You’re Sober:
Since we talked about JP Sears in this episode, make sure to check out his new book “How to Be Ultra Spiritual: 12 and ½ Steps to Spiritual Superiority.” While JP pokes fun at the heavily-enlightened, gluten-free crowd, he utilizes his comedic approach to provide constructive advice on self-improvement and, yes, spiritual enlightenment.
Connect/Drink with Courtney:
Visit Vesuvio Café:
Vesuvio Café is located at 255 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133. Bar hours are 8am-2am Monday through Friday and 6am-2am Saturday and Sunday (yes, you read those hours right).