You’re Australian and you like surfing? Awesome! You’re a Minnesota college volleyball player and it’s your first time out of the country? Wow!
Everyone you meet at the hostel is so exciting and new, you indulge in even the most mundane of travel tales, from the group of study abroaders who refuse to eat anything Czech and have Dominos delivered to the hostel, to the dude who’s kind of creepy in his stained Jimmy Buffet shirt. But, hey, you have to give him credit for traveling to Mexico City on his own at 45!
Anything free is your favorite flavor, and the fact that this hostel is providing you with one less meal to buy was incentive enough to book. It doesn’t matter that the selection consists of some cereals, slices of white bread, a few tomatoes, and watered-down coffee — free is free, so you’re stuffing your face with stale muesli and washing it down with watery juice from concentrate. That ought to hold you over till lunch.
And earplugs. And a sleep mask. And your own silverware. And enough underwear.
You’re always wondering if someone is going to accidentally “claim” your luggage as theirs, but dealing with an overstuffed backpack at a tiny yet sophisticated cafe in Paris or a clunky rolling suitcase while trying to get to the Forbidden City in Beijing totally sucks.
So you say “fuck it,” and hope your belongings aren’t rifled through after the baked-out-of-his-mind front-desk clerk leaves the storage room blatantly unlocked.
Hot. Austrian. Twentysomethings. They have the best job in the world, they have free rent, and they’ve even offered to take you out for a drink at Centimetre on Stiftgasse. They speak five languages and laugh sweetly when you mispronounce Fleischpalatschinke. Even the guy who plunges poo from the toilets is sexy because he speaks five languages and complimented your henna tattoo.
Paolo is playing his weathered acoustic guitar, Jorge is beating lightly on his bongos, and you’re pretending to know the words to whatever Argentinian love song they’re belting out in the common room.
You take Shiloh up on his offer to share his vegan lentil stew, when he notices you’re sitting in the hostel kitchen by yourself, hoping you don’t have to dumpster dive for your dinner. Or you bought a huge tub of peanut butter, but don’t get too mad when you notice half of it gone the next day, because you couldn’t bring it with you on the plane from London to Amsterdam anyway.
When your towel goes missing, you’re a little pissed, but feel better when a smokin’ hot Colombian hands it back to you with a smile.
You catch a total of two hours shuteye, either from partying too hard with that one Irish guy, or because the soccer team from Bel Mar, Maryland is snoring too loud, or because you’re still hella jet-lagged.