• Meeting Awesome People: Why I Stay in Hostels!

    dining area at HI Los Angeles Santa Monica

    Written by: Jennifer Doré Dallas
    Blogger at moimessouliers.org Let’s keep the conversation going at @moimessouliers on Twitter and Instagram!

    Locals on a short weekend trip, world wanderers or global citizens, all interesting profiles of people that you can encounter in hostels. Want to engage with new people, ask a few questions, share a meal or a day on the road or even hitch a ride to your next destination? Meeting people is the best reason to stay in hostels all over the world.

    As my friend and I were enjoying curry night at HI San Diego Downtown on our 1-month California roadtrip last November, we started up a conversation with Alice, a British woman on quite an interesting trip! She had indeed cycled from Vancouver to San Diego in two and a half months, instantly gaining my infinite admiration as I heard her describe the voyage that had just come to an end. We spoke for a while about her endeavour and how it was to cross the United States on two wheels.

    This is only an example of the amazing people you meet in hostels! As a matter of fact, another cyclist from Quebec shared our table the next day and we chatted about the best places to see in San Diego, as he had arrived a few days before. I highly recommend asking around when you arrive in a new destination, as there are always travellers that have more experience with the city you’re in that can lead you in the right direction for your future explorations. Who knows? You might even end up spending some time exploring town together.

    Are you looking to practice your languages skills? You’ll most likely run into someone with a mother tongue you’ve been dying to acquire. As a matter of fact, while buttering my toast one morning, I practiced my German with Kerstin, an Austrian traveller that had just arrived in California. No pressure, no judgement, and no worries about the grammar errors, just a friendly conversation! I’ve found that most people in hostels are happy when they find out you want to speak their language and will gladly help you along.

    collage of HI Point Montara hostel

    As well, social events that are regularly organized by HI USA hostels are a perfect opportunity to network and chat with friendly hostellers from all over the world. Before you know it, you’ll be chatting away! Whether you’re a solo traveller or roaming with friends, billiard tables like at HI Santa Monica or HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf are awesome conversation starters, just like the impressive quantity of board games at HI Point Montara and the couch lounge at HI Point Reyes, to only name a few.

    Personally, I strike up most conversations in the kitchen as I’m preparing my next meal or my lunch for the next day. Who knew looking for salt and pepper could be so helpful to socialize? Because most people tend to eat around the same schedules, the counters become great meeting grounds. Also, if you don’t feel like heading out on your own, don’t hesitate to ask someone to tag along, it’s the best way to create amazing friendships that will last for years to come!

    Fellow travellers aren’t the only interesting people you can meet in hostels. I love to talk to the staff, as they are most often locals that can help you with your itinerary or expats that will have you daydreaming about your next trip! Nancy, at HI Point Reyes’s reception desk, was such a sweetheart. She explained the surroundings so patiently to all of us whose plans changed because of the rain and always had a quirky greeting for us as we walked by her. She definitely made our stay with her heartwarming presence as we felt like we were at our aunt’s cabin!

    Cheryl at HI Point Montara was also such a sweetheart. Not only does she make delicious tea, but her energetic and outgoing personality lights up the room the minute you walk in the door. I don’t remember how long I spent at the reception desk that evening joking around and discussing the region with her, but I’ll definitely never forget the precious help she gave us!

    No matter whether you’re travelling alone, with friends, your second half or even your kids, the best reason to stay in hostels is definitely to meet great people whose presence will enlighten your trip and create memories you’ll treasure forever.

    Do you also have friendships that have started on the road?