And so the lessons continue. Just the other day I heard for the first time that “hostel shower sex” is so prolific, that most people wear flip flops when taking a shower at a hostel. Is this ttrue? I’ve been travelling for five months now and I’ve never seen any couples emerging furtively from the shower, but perhaps I haven’t been paying enough attention. Apparently it happens late at night when everyone else is sleeping, but I am the proverbial night owl and everyone seems to go to bed far earlier than me. Are the flip flops there to protect the wearer from stepping on a spot where sex juices might have landed? Who knows? This is clearly a thing I need to research further, but presumably my feet spend enough time in the sea to cleanse them of any dodgy juices I’ve picked up in the hostel showers.
Backpacking is fun. For someone who lived alone (with a succession of hamsters and tropical fish) for nine years and who genuinely likes spending time on her own, you could say that bedding down night after night with a load of random unpredictable people is risky thing to do. I don’t use hostels all the time, I treat myself to hotels and apartments every now and then, and go to stay with friends, and it’s always wonderful to have a fluffy towel and a whole room to myself. But getting back on the backpacking route after a break away from it is always fun. It’s where I meet the unwitting stars of my stories and even if I don’t get a good night’s sleep I’ll probably be able to turn it into a funny story for all of you to read.
You genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen when you go into a hostel room. I’ve walked in on a couple having sex, a girl in a lacy bra and leggings doing a full on dance routine to “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey” and a guy who was fashioning balloons into animal shapes in preparation for an interview he had the following day (nb – all these things happened on different days at different locations, it really would have blown my mind if they’d all been happening at the same time in the same room). Often you’ll be ignored by the social media brigade who are too engrossed in their phones to talk to you, but sometimes you’ll make a friend. Not necessarily a friend for life, maybe just a friend for that evening. But suddenly you’ll find yourself sitting cross-legged on the floor listening to a guy whose about to spend the next five years doing a PhD on the spinal chord of a zebra fish, or you’ll end up racing down to the beach to swim in the sea and catch the sunset with a French girl you hadn’t even met 40 minutes earlier.
My budget wouldn’t let me come away for this long and stay in a pristine apartment every night, but even if I could afford to do that I wouldn’t want to. To me, travelling means putting myself out of my comfort zone, meeting people I wouldn’t usually meet and doing things I wouldn’t usually do. Staying at a backpackers definitely ticks all of those boxes, and whilst it would be lovely to have a towel that actually dries me and a wifi connection strong enough to be able to Skype my best friend without her freezing halfway through telling me a juicy story, this backpacking journey is one adventure that I definitely don’t want to end.