Don’t worry guys, this is not as the title may suggest the start of a really cringe horror. Nor is it the start of something you would only find on the adult channels after the watershed (I don’t know, do they show this sort of thing?). Anyway, that’s enough of that thought for today. No, this post is not about either of those things but rather my first ever hostel experience. Two disclaimers before I start… I wasn’t actually sleeping with six strangers; there were five of us but you know, alliteration. Also, I have been in a hostel before on a University trip, however, I was with people I knew and there was a massive group of us so it was a very different experience. Anyway, I thought I would share with you how I am finding sleeping with six strangers.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations but, at £27 a night in central London, I couldn’t really say no. The Hostel is called SoHostel (it’s in Soho – clever I know). The hostel itself is actually quite nice. There is a room to get ready with funky mirrors, straighteners and a few other bits and bobs. There’s a bar with a happy hour every night and a karaoke night every Friday. You can get food pretty much all day and even the showers are private and pretty decent (albeit quite small). The location couldn’t be better. I am literally across the road from a Tesco Express, round the corner from my Internship and in the middle of Soho about a five minute walk to Oxford Street. If you’re looking for a hostel in London, I can’t really fault SoHostel. But, let’s be honest, you’ve not come to read about how clean it is. You want to here about what it’s like sleeping with six (five) strangers.
Here’s some pictures taken from Sohostel’s website. You can check their gallery out here. (I am not sponsored by Sohostel, you know, just incase you thought I’d become a travel blogger or something. Just helping you picture the scene…)
So when I first got there I was in a bit of a mess. Anxiety had really kicked in about the whole experience and the only person in my room at the time was a boy with very little English. He tried, which was really kind of him, but I felt very uncomfortable and didn’t really know where to put myself. Are we supposed to speak? Can I speak on the phone? Are they going to snore? I literally just sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram wanting it to all be over. Later on that evening three girls came in from all over the world. We chatted for a little bit and then we all kind of got on with our own thing. A difficult thing to do when you’re in a tiny room with five other people who you have never met, all speaking different languages. I didn’t expect to get much sleep that first night but, to my surprise, I didn’t sleep too bad (despite the snoring and people coming in and out all night). I was dreading being the person with the early alarm that was going to wake everyone up so I woke up frequently to check the time and my alarm hasn’t needed to wake me up yet, which is good (although copious amounts of coffee is needed to get me through an eight hour day). Everyone there is bag packing so they’re heading out and drinking and loving life. I’m working and so, as you can imagine, our sleeping schedule is a little different, but I just put the torch on my phone and do my make up in minimal light. It’s not too bad, unfortunately I’m not sure the same can be said for my contour but never mind…
By the second night I had kind of got used to it a bit more. We chat a little bit but most of them don’t get back till late (or early, however, you want to look at it) and I get some time to play on my laptop and ring home. It’s lonely, particularly when everyone else is there with friends exploring a new country, but learning to be on my own is something I need to get better at so I’m seeing it as a good challenge for my mental health. As it the total lack of control. Since been here there has been 4 people leave and 4 new people arrive from literally anywhere and everywhere. Both male, female, students, adults. Literally anyone. It’s certainly an experience and I have learnt so much in my short space of time here about people, cultures and how much I appreciate my personal space…
I was meant to be staying in the hostel for a full 11 nights, however, I’ve decided to head home at the weekend and come back ready for work on Monday. This isn’t because the hostel is bad. Not at all. If you would have asked me on Monday it would have certainly been because it was awful, the worst thing ever! But now, it’s okay. It isn’t ideal but it is what it is and it gave me the opportunity to work for my ideal magazine so I can’t complain. However, as much as a mental challenge is good, I also don’t want to push it too far. I have felt my anxiety creeping back and unnecessarily sitting alone will be counterproductive. I don’t want to have taken a step forward over the past year, only to take ten steps back for the sake of two weeks. I’ll be back again Monday night, but then I’ll be more prepared for what hostel life has in store for me.
If you’re looking for somewhere affordable to stay, go for a hostel. Honestly, for the money, this has been ideal. However, most people will be travelling and be there with their with friends so keep that in mind if you’re going to be on your own. For people travelling alone it’s great as they’ve met new people to explore new cities with. For me, it is a little isolating and a huge challenge for me mentally. However, it’s alright. It’s clean, it’s affordable and, most importantly it has super quick internet speed… Priorities ey’?