…to share a room with strangers!
… and suddenly I find myself in a bed with bed sheets that someone else has already slept in. Surrounded by cigarette buds and whisky. I feel uneasy and think about my bed in my own room at home – a place where I can seclude myself in privacy. Normally, I hate being alone and prefer to be in the middle of the action instead of just being present. But in that moment, I realised for the first time that I am too old to share a room with strangers.
I was never the type that loved sleep overs but nevertheless I spent a lot of nights in tents, campers and hostels. I shared a room with up to eight complete strangers over weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the “hostel-lifestyle” can be great at times especially if you’re looking for some action, meeting new people or just saving some money.
When I was living abroad I always got myself a single room. I had worked all day and saw my colleagues almost 24/7 anyway. It was nice to have a room for myself where I could at least shut the door and get some sleep. I love being around people which is why I love this job so much. But sometimes, I just need some me-time.
I always had a great time in hostels. Still I preferred living in a camper with a friend. Not only because it meant total freedom and we could stay or leave whenever we felt like it. It also meant more privacy. My next adventure is just around the corner and after I am done with work I want to see as much as possible. Therefore, I am asking myself if I am too old to hop from hostel to hostel.
Whether you like it or not – getting older means your standards change and you develop some sort of quirk. I noticed that when I was in Switzerland this year – I shared a room with my Israeli colleague and she was rather confused when I pulled my bed away from hers to have more privacy.
In case you can’t afford a camper or a hotel room, things get a little more complicated. Added to that, some hostels have an age limit because it is assumed that the difference between partying 18-year-olds and boring 30+ year-olds is just too big. Exceptions confirm the rule!
Reasons I feel too old for hostels:
- Sharing bedrooms with strangers. Imagine you were running around town all day and you just want to get some sleep – well, for other people the day starts at 11pm. Loud music, alcohol and the person you’re sharing a bunk bed with decides to have sex – do I really want that? No!
- Dirty communal kitchens, where your yummy groceries disappear once again. White bread and cornflakes for breakfast. Dirty dishes and cutlery. That’s fine for one day but intolerable for more. I prefer to see myself in nice restaurants – if only my purse would agree.
- Dirty bathrooms, cold water – because 1,000 people took a shower before you – empty showering gel and shampoo, wet and dirty towels. I can’t deal with it anymore.
- NEVER being alone. As I already said, I love to surround myself with people. Nevertheless, I am not willing to spend my time with just anyone only because I don’t want to be alone. When I was younger, I joined everything and everyone, so I wouldn’t be labelled as someone who didn’t have any friends. Today, I prefer good company or some Quality Time with me, myself and I. The older you get, the more you appreciate your privacy.
What I still love about hostels:
- The community.
- The clash of cultures.
- Insider tips from fellow travellers.
- On some days: the organised hostel tours and parties.
Everyone has to make their own experiences to decided, whether they feel too old for shared bedrooms. Holiday flats and Airbnb are another option. Even though I feel different about party hostels and dorm rooms now, I can’t promise to avoid during for my next adventures.