Hostel life: Strangers in the night

Hostel 1

Take a look around next time you’re walking down the street.
How many of the random people around you – or people waiting beside you at the bus stop, do you feel like sharing your bedroom with? Romantic aspirations aside. I guess not most of them? We all have our judgemental aspects – good or bad. But living in a hostel dorm for more than just a couple of nights can be your cure.

In here, stacked in our beds, we don’t get to choose our neighbours for the night. That might be awkward at first – but also very liberating. Because keeping an open mind, and welcoming a new guest like a possible friend, can lead to some of the most memorable experiences from your travels.

It all starts with one little sentence…So, where are you from?”.Hostel 2

I have always been a bit sceptic about the thought of sleeping in big hostel dorms, and to be honest, when travelling as a couple it’s far from an ideal long-term situation. But lately my girlfriend and I have spent almost two weeks in hostel dorms in downtown Edinburgh, and besides struggling to get some good sleep and the obvious lack of privacy, we truly appreciate this experience.

At the end of the day it’s always more about the people than the places. And staying at the same hostel through weeks developes a special kind of connection. You get to see an ever-changing group of people transform on a daily basis, as travellers and life stories cross paths at a random place and time.Hostel 3

Here are International students desperately looking for flats having travelled across the globe for the first time. While others are starting news jobs in the ‘real’ life’. Here are backpacking teenagers, party people and trivial tourists, while the more adventurous or those who feel lost, are following a dream or searching for a new way of life.

And then there are the long-term-live-in staff members who more than anymore have seen hundreds of strangers and friends check in and out.

In a hostel friendships vary in length – from a couple of beers to years.

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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer