I used to think that I could do the dorm-hostel life forever. I’d like to think that I am young, hip, and that little things don’t bother me (like intense snoring and rummaging around for facewash at four in the morning). But after a recent hostel stay on my own, and not in a private room with my boyfriend, I had a realization that maybe I’m not quite as cut out for this as I used to be. The price was nice, but the entire time I was thinking about how I could have paid just a little bit more for a budget hotel.
Here are a few things that made me realize that I am too old for hostel dorm life anymore.
1. I’m in bed early
Gone are the days where a night out until the sun rises seems appealing. I’ve always been more of an introvert to begin with, but now that I’m happily settled with someone and the club seems more like a torture chamber than a fun night, I go to bed semi-reasonably. I’m not too young anymore at twenty-five, and I don’t appreciate people coming into the room in the middle of the night waving flashlights. Before, I’d be out partying with them. Now, you’d have to force it. (And peer pressure doesn’t work anymore.)
2. I’m an introvert
I met this lovely girl the other night from Canada who was in Europe her first time. She was friendly, fun, and a recent graduate. Two or three years ago, I would have invited her out for a drink in order to make friends while on the road. In fact, I did that often and met some very interesting and incredible people. Now, I’m glad I got a quick conversation out of it, but I wished I had some alone time to read my book.
3. I’m willing to pay for more
“You get what you pay for,” I always thought.
Since I was willing to pay little, I was okay with it. Now, I know that I have a bit more money in my bank account. My boyfriend and I can afford to book budget hotels or even private rooms in a hostel, and that extra privacy has been a godsend in my older age. Money is less of an issue, so I’m willing to pay for a bit more security and the experience of being on my own. Even if I am not in my room often, knowing I have a haven to go back to makes a difference.
4. I can’t relate to others staying there
Hostels used to be a great way to make new friends and to find common ground with a stranger when you were in a strange place. However, now that I’m a bit older, I have very little in common with my dorm-mates. Most are recent college grads, gap-year students, or traveling groups of friends. Part of it is age, but another part is just that I am in a difference place than the average hostel-goer. And that’s okay.
5. My definition of “travel” has changed
I used to think that having a quality travel experience meant staying in hostels, roughing things out, and constantly feeling uncomfortable. I now know that travel means something a little different to everyone, and the definition can change at various points throughout a lifetime. I’m older now, and I’ve experienced a new kind of travel from when I was in my early twenties. That’s what makes traveling such a wonderful thing—so much of it is based on where you are in your life and reflects how you see the world.
Where are you in your travel experiences?