Dorms. The very word brings some people an intensely happy feeling, a flashback to the glory days of being on the road and in the grip of wanderlust. But for others the idea of sharing a room with so many other slumbering individuals conjures up only dread. They shift angrily through memories of dorms past that filled them with a hate only eclipsed by exorbitant airline credit card charges.
So, why do some people hate dorms when other people couldn’t see their lives without them? Having examined and observed long and hard for the past few years, the Hostelzoo crew can only conclude one thing. Dorm haters are suffering from a serious case of Dorms-Day. The body odours, the snoring, the late night returners, the plastic bag rustlers and, of course, the not so subtle sexy times, there really is a lot that might turn a traveler off dorms.
But lucky for you all Hostelzoo has the answers. We bring you, the three-step plan to beating Dorms-Day when you’re on the road.
1. Nourish the Sleeping You
The Sleeping You a really special dude (or dudette). It’s the personality that you become when you slip off into dreamland, happily ignoring the occasionally harsh realities of the world around you, if only for a few hours. Sleeping You values sleep above all other things, even cheap wine and free backpacker meals. When Sleeping You doesn’t get enough of what it needs, it bursts out into the territory of Awake You, making you angry, incredibly short-tempered and prone to dozing off in public places.
So, when you’re staying in dorms on the road, it is important to nourish the Sleeping You with enough sleep. What this means is probably up to you, but you should definitely see the signs of Sleeping You barging in on Awake You before someone else, especially a stranger, has to point it out to you. If you don’t nourish Sleeping You, Dorms-Day is sure to follow. But how can you possibly nurture this special little guy in the midst of the late night madness of dorms?
Yes, we said it; this is not a difficult thing. Earplugs are hardly a commodity good, they’re regularly available and can work absolute wonders on the room-rattling snorer in the bunk above you. If you hate earplugs, try falling asleep with a bit of music going in your headphones, and get comfy headphones if you can’t sleep in what you’ve got. This is Sleeping You we’re talking about, not just some cheap lady boy you picked up in some seedy backstreet.
2. Start the Conversation
There’s nothing more awkward than showing up in a hostel while travelling solo. You rock up in the dorm with all of your gear, and there’s a whole heap of faces just staring at you. They might have acknowledged your presence with a quick nod and hello, but what they’re really thinking is: ‘I wonder if this guy snores’ or ‘She better not spread all the stuff in her bag everywhere’. This is a transition period, where nobody is really sure of their place in the grande scheme of the dorm.
So, be the person that starts the conversation. With just a few words outside of empty salutations you can turn the mood of the room. Talk to people about anything you think they might be interested in. About the city you’re in, about the dorm. Literally, travelers will probably talk about anything just to pass the time. Think about what you would want someone to talk to you about, or what would be funny to start a conversation with, and just go with that.
If you don’t, Dorms-Day has a tendency to sneak in with that horrible lonely and occasionally homesick feeling that comes with sleeping in a room with ten people you don’t know in the slightest. It’s not like you’re going to be their best friend in a day, but putting a name to a face can make an entire city seem a little friendlier, and keep Dorms-Day at bay.
3. Go with the flow
Let’s say, just for an example, that you’re in the dorm having one of the best sleeps you’ve had in the past three weeks when you hear the unmistakable sounds of drunkenness. Yep, that’s your top bunk buddy trying very valiantly to pick himself up from where he’s leant in the undoubtedly tossing sea of the floorboards. Wobbling, he shuffles across the room stinking of cheap goon and bad decisions, burps and then makes a go for the top bunk. You just know this is the end of your amazing night of rest.
So, do you get angry and hateful towards the guy? It is his own fault for getting drunk after all, and because of him you’re going to be a sleepless mess tomorrow. Or, do you just let it go? Hostelzoo is a big believer in letting things go. Our little motto when we’re in dorms is to ask ourselves: “Is this still going to be making me angry/sad/annoyed a year from now?” If it isn’t, and all that is going to come out of it is one sleepless night for you and one karmically oversized hangover for your buddy in the top bunk, then why bother? Dorms-Day likes your rage and anger, because it gives it the perfect opening into your brain, where it seeds and sprouts. With little whispered lies it tries to turn you away from dorms, and all the fun and adventure they can bring.
Travelling on the road is an adventure from start to finish. That includes all the places you go, all the things you see and yes, all the places you sleep. You’re not going to get the safe comfort of home when you’re on the road, but in a dorm you are going to get cheap accommodation, good travelling company, and probably a whole lot of crazy stories to tell. We can’t give you all the answers for beating Dorms-Day, but we can tell you this: Dorms-Day is seriously crafty, but not unbeatable. You keep it in check by being aware of all its wily ways, and having a crazy good time backpacking and hostelling. Hardly a difficult task now is it?View post...