What is it like to live in a hostel for almost a month? This is the question I've been trying to answer recently, having already spent 21 nights overnighting in a couple of hostels whilst searching for permanent housing. It's been an interesting experience and I think I am just now starting to come to grips with the experience that has been my life for the better part of the past month.
Everything began on the 30th of September when I moved out of my apartment in Hamburg, Germany and boarded a train headed to Berlin. After disembarking I made my way to a hotel and promptly crashed. I needed the rest- the next day I was to move into a hostel with no fixed move-out date in sight. However when I moved into the one80° hostel the day after, I became acutely aware that perhaps I hadn't needed the "alone" day the night before.
I found my new home to be surprisingly modern and clean. Sure, the elevators moved quite slowly and there didn't seem to be a lot of room to store things, but everything was seemed quite orderly beyond that. The downstairs lobby offered plenty of good areas to do work and the guests tended to all be of a slightly older variety than the school kids who most commonly frequent hostels.
In contrast, my current hostel (Plus Berlin) has somewhat of a different vibe to it. The building has plenty of large empty expanses of space and room to roam. I’ve counted not just one but at least two pong tables. Each room has its own bathroom which is actually composed of two separate rooms, each with its own shower and sink, but only one of which is equipped with a toilet. Despite the fact that this hostel has its own pool, there are a few telling signs of which kind of clientele this hostel is appealing to, chief amongst would have to be the disposable plastic cups that beers are served in at the bar.
However at their core, both hostels are budget-oriented places for people to overnight. Living with people and having people come and go has had a weird effect on me. On the one hand, I keep hoping to meet new people who lend themselves easily to becoming friends, and on the other I ask myself why any of that matters when I won’t see most of them again ever.
Sharing living quarters with people has brought me back to doing things quickly, simply and right the first time around. Missing a whisker on my face while shaving might be something that I won’t get a chance to address until after everyone else in the room has gotten an opportunity to carry out their own morning routines, and is therefore a situation to be avoided.
Am I looking forward eagerly to ending this adventure? In a way, yes. And at the same time I have found that I’m not quite so much bothered by this way of living as I am not having enough personal space to simply store my stuff. Once again I’m reminded why things such as compact cameras and ultra-light computers exist. I look at the clothes I’ve packed and the ones I have regularly worn during the past three weeks and I wish that I could simply get everything else to disappear until I find myself in a place with storage and a use for them.
Living in a hostel has been quite good fun overall. While I met many an acquaintance and made many superficial friends, a few good people have also turned up who I hope to remain in contact with for quite some time to come. As I have yet another 10 days to go, one of which will be my birthday, I can honestly say that this is an experience that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly and I will undoubtedly look gladly back upon.