Yes, I’m an Old Lady at Heart (Stop Judging Me)

Learning new drinking games in Bangkok.

Learning new drinking games in Bangkok.

I love hostel life. I really do. I don’t mind sleeping in a dorm with nine other people. Even people who snore or smell or come stumbling in drunk at four o’clock in the morning. Those are things I can look past.

Being around such an amazing variety of people is worth it.

There are so many characteristics of hostel life that I enjoy: I like entering the common room in the morning and someone asking me what I’m doing for the day and inviting me to join them in their plans, or just giving me advice on where to go. I like that I can always get someone to tag along with me if I am nervous about going somewhere or doing something alone. I love the sense of community and listening to other travelers’ stories.

That being said, I have run into some prejudices I have never run into before at a hostel.

I will admit, I am not a night owl. I like the occasional going out for drinks and trying to new bars and staying out until 2 o’clock. Probably once a week. The other days, however. I enjoy going to bed by midnight—sober—so I can get out in the morning and explore without feeling hung over or tired. I enjoy getting up around 6 o’clock to enjoy the quiet part of the morning and go running or write while I have the world to myself.

Most of the people I’ve met so far can’t wrap their head around this. They can’t understand why I won’t go to the club with them or I tell them I really need to relax for the night. A few times I have been called an old lady. Someone last night told me to stop acting 40 instead of 25. I know they are joking around with me and it’s all mostly in good fun, but I don’t like it. Because beneath the jokes, I can see that they are judging me.

Watching Broad City clips on the tiniest screen ever.

Watching Broad City clips on the tiniest screen ever.

“You must go to a Full Moon Party.” How many times have I been told that just in the week I’ve been here? It is only last night that I learned to respond, “No, I really don’t.” Or, “You must stay at _________ hostel. They throw the best parties. I stayed up all night.” No, thanks. I’m good. But I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.

I don’t judge other travelers for their choices. If you want to go out and party, that’s fine by me. (Just, please don’t puke in the bunk room.)

Don’t we travel to learn how to be accepting of other people and their lifestyles? Is the party backpacker lifestyle the only way to go? Is there room in hostel life for the quieter traveler? I guess I will find out over the next few months.

Have any other “party poopers” run into the same problems? What do you do in these situations?

6 thoughts on “Yes, I’m an Old Lady at Heart (Stop Judging Me)

  1. Heather @ TravelingSaurus

    Oh yes! I earned the nickname Grandma quite quickly on a sailing trip. But you know what? When I had fun, I had fun. The rest of the time I relished getting up early and enjoying my time, my space, and doing what I wanted. The only advice I have is to embrace it (yes, really) and know how much better you feel by doing so.

  2. Kendra Granniss Post author

    I’m glad I’m not the only one! I am constantly feeling the pressure. It seems like I’m constantly surrounded by party-style backpackers. Then I feel defensive when they start to tease me. Of course, I get to wake up in the morning hangoverless!

  3. Charlie

    Yes, most definitely yes! Back when I first went travelling in Australia and Canada I was one of those partying every night backpackers, now travelling six years later I’m so over missing out on seeing a place because I’m sleeping off a hangover. Sure I’m up for a big night every so often but after spending a good few years partying, nights on the piss can all start to feel the same anyway. I recently met a guy who’d been in Bangkok for a week and not left Koh San Road, he was leaving the next day. It seems a long way to go for a party and not to see the city. Stick to your guns and go about it your way, you’ll feel ten time better than them the next day when you’re hangover free!

  4. Kim Dayman

    From one grandma to another – I know exactly what you mean!
    In fact I booked more private guesthouses on my trip so that I can be leisurely and not live so party hardy while travelling but I must say, what I’m missing is also exactly what you mentioned – the camaraderie. Unfortunately staying farther away from the party scene means not having a sense of community, not having a group to tag along with and fellow adventurers to adventure with. Enjoy the benefits while you can and don’t let their teasing get the best of you, stick to your guns as no one knows you better then you know yourself 😉

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      For the past week, I have actually found a couple of old ladies/men like me! It’s been quite wonderful. But most of the people still go out partying. I’ve just learned to ignore the pressure, or go out for one drink, then go to bed!

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