A sense of belonging

When travelling, people are often on a journey of discovering or on an adventure into the unknown to explore, understand, see, do, or taste. But no matter how much someone loves being on the road, there are times one would feel nostalgia, homesickness, or misplaced.

For anyone in this world, home emits feelings of belonging, safety, and love. Undoubtedly no place in this world can be compared with the home, but while on the road, one needs to compromise. And I can confirm that hostels are the best place for travellers, especially solo travellers, to feel at home.

Certainly, hostels might not always be what you expect them to be. Surely there are some terrible ones out there, but there are some fantastic ones as well. However, today what I want to share with you is not whether hostels are indeed good or not. I want to share my experience of meeting beautiful and unique people. Of stories and songs that I came across at both good and bad hostels around the world.

Sometimes it’s unbelievable what stories you get to listen to or even live through other people. In hostels, you get to meet and interact with people from all over the world. Each one of them has a different story, a different reason for being there, for traveling and for living. Simultaneously though in the hostels, there are no nationalities. Undoubtedly, each one of us has a different story and is following a different path. Yet, at that moment, while staying together in the same dorm, while we share meals together and have one or two beers at the bar, we are all the same.  

As a traveller, I would be more excited by stories and encounters with people from countries on the other side of the planet, or from tiny islands and countries that I never expected to come across. Although I’m pretty sure, many people feel the same when they meet me. You have no idea how many times I heard the phrase, “Oh, wow! I’ve never met someone from Cyprus before.” In my case, during my stay at a hostel in London, I had one of my most fascinating encounters – regarding nationalities. I met a girl from Samoa who, at that time, was a university student in Manchester and, during the spring holiday, decided to explore the UK. I never thought I would meet someone from such a tiny country that is on the other side of the world. But that is the beauty of traveling and hostels. You get to meet people and, at the same time, travel through them. 

For some, the best stories are from people who travelled all over the world. For example, while on the road, you often hear stories of people who left everything behind just to explore, discover, and have extraordinary adventures. However, the most unique and beautiful stories that I came across are from ordinary people who, for one reason or another, ended up in a hostel.

For instance, there were several times I would share a dorm with people who, in fact, were not traveling. They were ordinary workers who, for different reasons, were residing at a hostel. Or I would share a dorm with a single mother and her children who, for various reasons, were at that moment living at a hostel. Once I met homeless people who, at that point, had some savings and were able to afford shelter for a few days.

All the cases I mentioned above were all different but also the same. They were all people who were trying their hardest during difficult times. Yet they all had bright smiles. Although some of them were coming from very harsh backgrounds, they were all eager to mingle with the travellers, make friends, and have some fun. Perhaps because that was the only way for them to carry on and have some happiness in their life. Or maybe they were people who, no matter the situation, they could still see some light in their life. Whatever was the case, they were terrific and the most inspiring among all the people I met.

I started falling in love with traveling when I was nineteen years old. At that time, I started traveling because I wanted to discover both myself and the world. And for sure these people who were not travellers, who did not have big ambitions, who were not influencers, for me, they were the best teachers of life. They are the real adventurers and explorers of life and the world.

And the lesson for today is that it is alright to be ordinary. After all, the most fundamental things in this world were created by ordinary people. Everyone in this world comes from a different background and has a different story, and there is no such thing as a bad book. Therefore, no matter what your story is, claim it, and live it no matter what other people say.

Hostel in the hutongs of Beijing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s