One of the many perks of traveling is that, even when you’re not really trying, you’re expanding your mind. You’re figuring out how to navigate unfamiliar territory, you’re learning about different cultures and customs, and you’re discovering things about yourself that you might not have discovered in your comfort zone. So, while your mind is in sponge-mode – absorbing everything that you possibly can – we figure it’s a good idea to take advantage of that and see what else you can learn.
Sacramento happens to be a rather good place for learning as it’s steeped in a rich history. And since you can get some historical learning done during HI Sacramento’s Capital City Bike Tour, we thought we’d add a few more quirky options for drop-in classes that you can take if you’re keen to pick up a new skill. And then once you’re armed with a fresh talent, you can return to the hostel to share it with your fellow travelers.
Knitting might seem like the type of thing your grandmother did that probably ended with you wearing an itchy, oversized sweater you were supposed to “grow into”. But it’s becoming cool again, and more importantly, it’s a nifty skill to have. Imagine going back home and impressing friends and family because you somehow gained the dexterity to supply them with handmade hats. The Knitique Yarn Boutique is a knitting store and sort-of clubhouse in Elk Grove (a city 15 miles south of Sacramento that has a small-town community feel), which often has free knitting classes. The free classes are collaborative, like Knit for a Cause or Knit2gether, and fun, like the Knit and Nosh nights. Best of all, whether you’re a pro or a beginner, you can drop in any time and you’re likely to find a group of locals kitting and chatting. You can join them for as long as you want, which might end up being hours as you get tips, share tales and make friends.
More info: Get the class schedule and more information at the store website.
Insider tip: Driving to Elk Grove? No problem: HI Sacramento has on-site parking for guests.
Playing the Ukulele
They say music is the universal language, which anyone who has been around an impromptu group-singalong with strangers can testify to (even if it was a reluctant rendition of “Wonderwall”). The Strum Shop is worth the 18-mile drive from Sacramento’s city center because it’s a community space for guitar, ukulele and banjo players to host events and various workshops that all encourage the magic in group music-making. The store is known for group strum-alongs, which start with a beginner session and end with the communal playing of songs written for the ukulele, and they constantly have a diverse range of free events, like bluegrass jams and Irish slow learning sessions. One session should be good for a song in your step, and then you can lead the sing-along festivities back at the hostel.
More info: Visit the Strum Shop site for more details on classes and workshops.
Your brain has to process so much information as you take in new sights, sounds and smells, so meditation is good idea for refreshing your mind so you can remember to be aware and in the present. Sacramento must be a rather zen place because there are plenty of places to practice alone or in a group, like the Sacramento Insight Meditation community (a twenty-minute bike ride from the hostel), which offers classes on a donation basis. The center hosts regular sitting groups that include a guided mediation period and a discussion for both beginners and seasoned practitioners. Some of the donated funds go towards the community projects that Sacramento Insight Meditation is involved in, like staffing a meal for women and children at the St. John’s Shelter and bringing Buddhist services to prisoners in Northern California.
More info: Get more information at the Sacramento Insight Meditation website.
HI USA tip: Learn more about California’s capital at these Sacramento museums, walking tours and fun activities.