The Trouble with Hostels

As I sit in Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, refusing to pay $6 for 30 minutes of wifi, and marveling that the explosive check guy asked if I was over 18, it also occurs to me that hostel people are a curious type. By “hostel people,” I mean people who genuinely like them. And by “curious,” I do not mean inquisitive.

I spent the last week in a hostel–my longest stretch yet. As you may have deduced, the word “snob” has been thrown at me from time to time: I fancy fancy beers and I don’t particularly enjoy sharing bedrooms with strangers. Judge me as you will. Anyway, I am calling seven nights in a four-person dorm a personal accomplishment. I wouldn’t say it was ace, but I wasn’t miserable. Sharing a room with three is better than sharing a room with five or nine. The Nunnery is clean and provides a [sparse] breakfast each morning. And there are lots of opportunities for socializing. The thing is, socializing can be frustrating in this setting, which basically amounts to an itinerant frat house.

Weirdly, my aversion has nothing to do with screaming, sloppy 20-year-olds. They’re fine. It has to do with the fact that people who stay in hostels always (okay, often) try to make your trip inferior to theirs. I had a guy from Indiana tell me, “Well, I’ve got the travel bug real bad.” As if my being on the other side of the planet–alone–isn’t proof enough that I enjoy traveling. Mind you, this was after he said, “You’re from Jersey and you haven’t fallen in love with anywhere here?” Let the record show that I merely said I haven’t [yet] found a spot in Oz where I’d be willing to work any random job to pay the rent.

I told another girl I’ll have spent a little over two months in Australia and she said, “Oh, a short little trip!”

Yeah, hostel people are weird.

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One thought on “The Trouble with Hostels

  1. kelley says:

    hostel thing seems to be about the same as the health food store smug thing….. not whole foods or trader joes but the small private stores.. It always seems that the people who work there think they are so much better than you. May be my imagination but Ive seen it in NJ and in Maine….Do they eat better than I do? Are thier Vitamins working more efficiently?……….. Ill take a liquor store any day.. Theres none of that..” I’m a better drinker than you garbage going on” .Theres more comraderie.Hostels should be more like liquor stores.


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