For those of you have never stayed in a hostel before, its quite the experience. There are many wonderful aspects to it, but also some comically terrible ones. This is my, oh I dont know, thats a lie, I just made a list...this hostel is my 18th stay in a hostel over the years of travel. I have been to some fabulous ones, and some utterly terrible ones. Some include breakfast (I use that term loosely), some dont, some have free internet, kitchens and linens, some have none of these things. Sometimes it looks like a better option to not shower for three days than get in what they call showers. Rooms are dorm style and you pay based on the number of beds. Rooms with more beds are cheaper etc. Private rooms cost a travelers small fortune. The really good ones like the one I just stayed in in Brussels the last two nights, have lounges, bunk beds where you dont hit your head when in the top or the bottom bunk and a good clean shower with pressure AND hot water. Think about your dorm room, but then multiply the set of bunks by 4,5,6, or 7. I have heard of rooms with up to 40 beds in them, but those crazy animals were at Oktoberfest. The largest room I have stayed in was in Barcelona, it was three beds up instead of two. I think there was 18-20 beds in there. Inevitably in all hostels someone will be arriving, leaving; packing or talking at any point in the day or night. Eye cover and headphones recommended.

So where am I going with all of this? Well besides the cold water and sometimes scary showers, loud bunk-mates and smelly shoes, there are upsides. The people you meet. Hostels are unlike any other place, socially speaking. You just talk to people. Y ou are staying in a room with 5 or 10 people you have never met before, and you just strike up conversation like it is a totally normal situation. There is no social trepidation, self consciousness or shyness.
The first thing you always talk about is where you are from and where you are coming or going from. Nine times out of ten you will know someones entire backstory and travel habits before you know their name. You will have been talking to someone for like 15-20 min and still have no idea what their name is. You have to make a real conscious effort to get names. Its a fascinating phenomenon. In a way you become your region, state or city before your actual name. Its quite wonderful, you can give as little or as much information as you want. You can just talk. There is a progression of exchange of information. You can go from 15 min convos, to eating with people; to actually spending multiple days hanging out with them. I think there is just a comfort with people in your same situation. Its a base to go off of. Its what I like to call the fantastic hostel phenomenon, I know the name needs work :)
So with all of that said, here are some of the folks ive met so far......


Rosemary-Oregon- Deferred grad school for a year , just got a full time job, but told them she needed to go travel for a month first, and they let her. She gave me an italian phrase book.

Manu (sp?) - Gnot (sp?)- A city two hours outside of Paris. Taking a year off between studies at University to work in Dublin. Her english was flawless.


Mike-Canada- Sold his whole life, literally, because he hated his job. His first time in Europe, traveling around indefinetly

AJ-Canada-Lived and worked in New Zealand for two years, was making his way back via Thailand and all over Europe. He was a few days from the end of his journey.

Mary-LA-Taking a break from life, traveling for two months, she was near the end.

Patrick-Oregon-First time in Europe, just graduated from college, traveling until the money is gone.

Pat, Mike, Chris,-Canada-Two brothers and their friend traveling for three weeks, going to see family in Denmark, going to a few other places, then a tour in Egypt.

Elephant guy-Spain- A guy from Spain wearing an elephant suit, full elephant suit, to interview people for a TV show.

San Diego- A guy traveling around-his second time in Amsterdam, nearing the end of his travels.


2 Quebec-ers-Michele and someone else-They had been to the wine harvest in France, and now were traveling around together. They went to Antwerp because they liked the map.

2 Holland-ers-Roomates away for the weekend. Very knowledgeable and chatty.


Tim-Tel Aviv, Israel- Software programer in between jobs. He spoke Russian, Hebrew and English. Thats three different alphabets folks! Puts my measly two languages in the same alphabet to shame. He was doing a similar route as me but in the opposite directions. We exchanged notes.

Patrick-Memphis- Straight out of school. Traveling from August until December. Just spent three weeks in Egypt.

Oregon and Chicago- Two girls studying in Alicante, Spain traveling on fall break.

Of course I am sure I have left people out, but this is what I remember right now.