My First Hostel Experience
Back in 2006 I decided that I was going to “backpack around Europe”. I honestly had no idea what backpacking consisted of as this idea was solely for the purpose of trying to make my brother jealous for deciding to cancel or annual Angels Baseball Roadtrip the following season. This was just an idea at the start but the more I looked into it and the whole backpacking lifestyle, the more i was intrigued and realized that it is really easy to do. I mean you all you have to do is: request time off work ( or quit if they do not allow you to take time off ), buy a backpack, buy a plane ticket, and get excited for the time of your life.
Backpackers are budget travelers. We try to eat cheap, stay cheap and find free activities to do. The most expensive aspect of backpacking is obviously trying to find a cheap place to crash at night. That’s where hostels come in to play. I know, I know hostels are scary places where kids get drugged and taken to torture chambers where sadistic freaks pay to brutally kill them right?? Not even close. Hostels are a great way to save some cash when you’re on the road because they offer dorm style accommodation. These rooms are simple rooms with anywhere from 2-20 beds in a room with shared bathrooms. This may not sound too appeasing to many out there but it is really is not that bad. So after weeks of reading travel blogs and forums and getting all the knowledge I could, I booked my flight and booked my very first hostel: St. Christopher’s Village in London, England. I departed LAX in late May, 2006 and arrived at Heathrow Airport in London, England. It was a pretty surreal experience to be thrown into the chaos of London as a foreign backpacker especially for the first time being out of the country. After a hour ride on the London Underground ( subway system ) I made it to the stop I needed to reach my hostel. I arrived at the hostel at a little after midnight local time and I was beat. The time change and jet lag were a lot to handle. When I walked in the door I was blown away at how many people there were. The place was packed and there was a bar, music, chill out room, tables all over the place with random strangers exchanging travel stories while playing cards and drinking beers. As much as I wanted a beer after the 10 hour flight, dealing with customs, the hour ride on the Undergound, and now the overwhelming feeling of being in a foreign place, I decided that I would just lay down and take a “nap”. My dorm room had 3 bunk beds and my bed was on the bottom. It was comfy, especially considering how tired I was I fell asleep rather easily. When I finally did wake up it was 4am and I went downstairs to see what was going on and it was like I never even left. The bar was still packed, the tables still full of fellow backpackers being loud and consuming sweet English lager. I was obsessed with the backpacking scene from this moment on. Since this was my first hostel that could be why my memory of it is so vivid but this is still my favorite hostel i’ve been to to this day. The atmosphere was amazing, the people I met were fun to be with and explore London with and the late night drinking games were more than memorable. The next time im in London I will without a doubt be going back to this hostel. St. Christopher’s Village hostel. Where my addiction to backpacking started.