So, I am in a hostel (well, at least when I was writing this back in April). I have made a booking for three nights, and I have one more night to go. So far it is cool, and it reminded me of the previous times I have been in a hostel. There are good and bad things to it, but overall, it is good.
First, let me talk about the price. If you're a traveler, like me, and you don't have a tree that blossoms money at your backyard, then you would want to see as many places as you can without breaking the bank. So hostelling is the way to go. This current hostel charges 12 Euros a night, which is a deal in my opinion. You get free breakfast and dinner. You get to meet other travelers while you're here, so I have been chatting with other people who are also on the road like me. I've met quite a lot of people already, from American students studying abroad in Istanbul who are here for the weekend, to a Japanese guy who is traveling until September, to a group of Malaysian middle-aged men and women traveling around eastern Europe.
So yes, if you're a solo traveler, staying in a hostel is great, as you never feel lonely. I have had quite a few chats about lots of things with travelers from all over the place. Unfortunately, I am only doing a long weekend, otherwise, I would love to continue on and travel. But that longer trip will have to wait.
Not everything is great in a hostel, however. After all, you're sleeping in a shared room with 7 other people. So sometimes, there would be one who would be snoring so loud, you think he'd almost choke in his snore. There are other times in which you have to wait for the restroom to clear out before you can use the toilet. The same thing goes for the showers. You won't probably get that privacy and peace and quiet because someone would probably be coming into the room in the middle of the night and that would probably wake you up. But, it's all a matter of constraint satisfaction.
When did I start doing hostels? I remember it wasn't until 2009, in Seattle. Before that, I stayed in hotels only. I stayed in hotels in Ecuador and Peru. Granted, you can find hotels there that are cheap enough so you won't break the bank either. And so only when I decided to visit the Pacific Northwest area in the United States, that I started doing hostelling. I stayed in a hostel in Seattle and in Portland as well, and those two hostels had two very different atmospheres.
I stayed in a hostel in Mexico City as well. That was fun. I remember pantomiming stuff to an Argentinian because he didn't speak English and my Spanish was not good enough. I also stayed in a hostel in Chile, but I was with someone else, and we stayed in a private room. When I was in Guatemala, I stayed in a combination of hostels and hotels, and I have to say, the hostel stays were more fun than the hotel stays.
Whenever I stay in a hostel, I meet people, fellow travelers. And whenever that happens, the usual conversation happens. Where are you from? How long are you in the road? Where are you traveling to next? And when that happens, sometimes I imagine what it would be like traveling long-term. And while I have this brief envious thought, I still think that I can't do long-term travel. I have traveled in Guatemala and Honduras for 3 weeks, and that was a good length of travel. I don't think I can do more than that. I still love my routine, after all. But hey, whatever rocks one's boat.