As I’m beginning to write this article there is a man hovering over me and bombarding me with information about the extremities of the corruption within Ireland’s politics. “It’s because of the fat cats Olivia, you know what they are? The rich. And they leave us poor to pay for everything. Isn’t that right Olivia?”. About an hour ago the exact same conversation took place and the hour before that as well. I have heard the term Fat Cats a solid 67 times in the past three days, no exaggeration. After working and staying in hostels for the past 8 months I am more than used to situations such as this. My personal bubble has disintegrated drastically. Through months of speculation in the hosteling environment I have been able to pin down seven reoccurring characters that you are guaranteed to meet if you stay in hostels for a slightly prolonged time.
You have your generic hostellers: hikers, partiers or just your average Bob, Jimmy or Joe passing through. The list that I have generated dives into a deeper category of hostellers, ones that live under the hostel surface and begin to appear when you fully immerse yourself into the environment.
- The Person Who Sleeps All Day
“Meet” might be a long shot for this special hosteller. Here is the jist, it is exactly how it sounds. You will come across a person that genuinely sleeps all day. It might begin as early as you unpacking your bags on arrival and feeling bad for turning on the lights mid-afternoon, trying not to disturb the moving comforter. That is the first sign that you’ve got yourself a “person who sleeps all day” hosteller on your hands. You’ll get used to lowering your tone anytime you enter the room and sometimes even navigating in the dark so they can continue in their sleep coma. It is absolutely shocking how long someone can stay in bed for. There are many of these hostellers that you spend countless hours in the same sleeping quarters with, but you never really officially meet.
2. Clearly a Hotel Person
Upon their arrival into your 20 bed dormitory it can become quite obvious that this is not the sleeping situation they are used to. They can be extremely hesitant to slide their belongings underneath their bunk and hop on top to prepare their comforter and sheets. Eyes widen when they see that the toilet and shower situation is shared between males and females and you might have a hard time not being spotted in your towel. An overall uncertainty is omitted by these hostellers. Be friendly and make them feel comfortable in the hostel, maybe they’ll really enjoy it and switch their ways!
- The Noise Maker
I have come across a few notable people that are just plain noisy. Not with their words, but with their actions. Whether they are just huffing and puffing every given minute or giving no thought to how hard they shut the door when leaving. They just make an absurd amount of noise. We all have faced the dilemma of zipping and unzipping pockets of your bag at an unruly hour but it is safe to assume most hostellers do it as discretely as possible. Not these guys, the noisemakers will zip and unzip with all their noisy might, they aren’t stopping for no one. I have experienced a noisy person who was so restless that they were shaking the bunk bed. Creating, you guessed it, noise and also causing my obsessive mind to become increasingly irritated, anticipating her every move.
- The Resident
At the first interaction with this hosteller you may make the assumption that they work there. Signs of this may be their tight relationship with the whole staff and their knowledge about how the hostel operates. A general comfortability in the hostel. I have one hundred percent been on the brink of falling into this category. The Resident treats the hostel like home, because for the time being it is home! You’ll find them roaming around in their pajamas and occasionally taking naps on the common room couch. From my experiences, I find that they bring a lot of the guests together as well because they end up getting to know most people.
- The Wild Card
I like to describe The Wild Card as someone who has just gone through hell and back twice to end up in a hostel. It is easy to judge someone by their demeanor, someone may appear to be cranky or irritable and for certain situations, rightly so. A lot of these hostellers that I’ve talked to are a result of a really shitty, terrible breakup that leaves them far from home and sleeping in a room full of strangers. I met one lovely hosteller whose car broke down causing her to miss a course that cost them a couple thousand dollars and was then informed her partner cheated on her, and again, ended up in a hostel. My list of examples goes on including a man I met whose funding fell through for a University program he crossed seas for and was now stuck in a different country alone and with no backup. As a fellow hosteller, I think these guys deserve a big, warm hug and a temporary friend.
- The Talker
As outlined in the beginning of this article, you might find yourself running into a few individuals that like to talk…….a lot. It is safe to say that everyone enjoys a little banter here and there. After all, you may as well get to know a bit about the people you’re bunking with. Every now and then you may come across someone that will physically tucker you out with dialogue. I might sound like a bitch saying that sometimes I avoid lounging in the common room to dodge getting stuck in these conversations, but it happens. While working reception at one of my hostel jobs I encountered a guest that talked to me for over an hour and on about five separate occasions said goodnight, began walking away and just before leaving would think up another conversation topic. I had to laugh and there is no harm done by a lengthy conversation. In fact, he taught me a lot about Preachers in Saskatchewan with multiple wives.
- The Friend
It is safe to say that this hosteller is my favourite hosteller. You may come across someone that will turn into more than just your bunk buddy. Especially as a solo traveller, when we find someone we can relate to it builds a solid foundation for a new friendship. You may just simply jive with a fellow hosteller over a few jokes cracked while making dinner next to each other. I have crossed paths with countless wonderful people in hostels and have been lucky enough to create some special friendships with a few of them. And the most exciting part of it all is the urge to reconnect with them could take you halfway across the world.
You see an extreme mix of people when you stay in hostels, every experience is unique and wonderful, even the not so wonderful ones. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with your temporary roommates or take a joke too far, it could be the joke that blossoms a friendship. If you open your eyes to the people around you, you might learn something new. Also, is there a category that I am completely oblivious to because I am a part of it?
Outside Barnacles Hostel, Galway