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.
“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?