"What do you mean, you 'LIVE' in a Hostel?"

July 04, 2013
Moving out can be intimidating, especially if you are a young, single female who is slightly sick of living under their parent's roof, but the idea of being alone in an apartment is an expensive, intimidating thought. I am writing this entry on the communal computer placed in the "Common Room" of the hostel in Brighton; the hostel which I have been living in for the past six weeks. This is my first experience of being in a hostel, other than the anomaly of my Year 8 trip to Calais with my school. I had no idea what to expect, so when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a room full of predominantly young, trendy Europeans. I do remember feeling intimidated as they were all conversing with each other like they were life-long companions, so I checked in and hid in my room - an all female dormitory - and began to mould myself a routine of going into work, wandering around Brighton until it was deemed an acceptable time to go to bed and beginning it again the next day.

On the third night of my stay (which so happened to be the night of the Champion's League final between Bayern Munich and Dortmund) I found myself sat in front of the television in the hostel, a place that I had actively avoided since arriving. I admit my main intent was simply to admire the 6"4 Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but shortly after kick-off I struck up some friendly rivalry with a group of Spanish and Italian guests from the hostel. I ended up being invited out to a bar with a large number of long-term residents and began my first night of conversing in broken English - a skill I have honed down to a tee by now. Although we didn't end up making it to the bar, we all drank behind the hostel and bar one small incident where my friendly English nature was mistaken for permission for an Italian guy to shove his tongue down my throat, I ended up having a good time. Thus began my strange adventure.

My misinformed pre-notion about hostels

My friends came to visit and their first reaction was "You mean there's only one mirror in this room?". Very different from my first attempt of living away from home which had me swanning around Knightsbridge in a pair of heeled boots and a faux-fur jacket (darling), living in a youth hostel has been a very different experience. It has taught me several life lessons such as how to successfully wash the dishes and how to correctly use a washing machine (I am being deadly serious). In the heart of Chelsea I would spend my evenings holed up in my bedroom watching countless television series on Netflix, but lately I cannot remember the last time I watched anything that wasn't a national sporting event.

You know there are (sometimes many consecutive) days when you just want to laze around in your pyjamas without showering or having to talk to anyone? Here that is impossible. From the moment you wake up in your 18 bed dormitory you are thrust into conversation and the need to keep up pleasant appearances. Do you like walking around in your underwear? The only place you can do that here is if you pace around a toilet cubicle - the only time you are ever really alone.

Here I am positively ridiculed for having notoriously smelly feet and when I spend day after day sitting at the reception desk/bar it's deemed socially unacceptable, even though it's the equivalent of lounging on the sofa with a cup of coffee. Very quickly my happy-go-lucky nature had me coined as the "always smiling girl" so whenever (heaven forbid) I feel some human emotions and let my smile drop for five minutes I am welcomed with choruses of "What's wrong Helen?" (it's difficult for Spanish people to say E-L-L-E-N) We won't even begin to discuss the snoring and the late night chatter that keeps you awake.

I feel I have complained a lot in this entry but in reality I have been having some of the best times of my life. Whether it's rapping Gold Digger with the owner on a Monday morning or going out at 2AM to the local gay bar (so devoted to flaunting its purpose that it actually exhibits light-boxed pornographic images on its walls) and finding it closed but still returning with a 2 metre high poster of Kevin McCloud, you can always guarantee there's a lot of fun to be had at the hostel.

In a way it reminds me of a summer camp, just slightly corrupted with cigarettes and alcohol. It feels like one giant, multicultural family and even though things can get a bit shit when you have a fall-out with someone or a grandiose rumour about you circulates the hostel before you even get out of your bunk bed it's become very apparent that each day in here is a clean page and a fresh beginning. Yesterday's drama is today's joke material.

When I arrived at the hostel I intended to stay here for only 3 nights, and even that was because I had to complete the booking my mother had made for me. I had planned to find a flat and get the hell out of here as quickly as possible. It's now been six weeks and I'm still here, still enjoying myself. The only difference is that now I am recruited for arduous tasks such as cleaning the oven. I can't work out if this is a good thing or not, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.


  1. Wonderful, I particularly like the line:
    "Very different from my first attempt of living away from home which had me swanning around Knightsbridge in a pair of heeled boots and a faux-fur jacket (darling)"


  2. Wonderful, I particularly like the line:
    "I had no idea what to expect, so when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a room full of predominantly young, trendy Europeans."


  3. Up date please! Have you found a flat and are you working? X

    1. I will think about updating but I really don't have very much to say about things. I don't have a job yet.


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