Feeling Hostel

My name is Luther Barnett, and I’m an introvert.  Let me be clear.  I could go a whole weekend not leaving my house and be perfectly fine.  So, this journey has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone.

And, when I first arrived at Kick Ass Hostels in Edinburgh, that’s exactly where I found myself.  The location once was the Salvation Army’s Hostel for Women, and the sign is still on the front of the building.  Even though I had a reservation, I panicked a little when I saw the sign.

Had someone made a mistake in booking me?  Would I be turned away?  I had chosen Kick Ass Hostel because I liked the name.  It reminded me of the superhero film–Kick-A
ss.  If you haven’t seen it, you’re not a geek.  Work harder to become one.

But everything was all good.

The guy at the front desk sent me with a keycard to a 12-man dorm room—except the room was filled with women.  Mainly they were college-aged women, two from France and three from Denmark, who had come to Edinburgh to hang out and have a good time.

I said hello and started unpacking, but, me being me, I started to worry that I might make them uncomfortable by staying in the room with them.  What’s a middle-aged southern man to do?

I went to talk to the guy at the front desk and informed him that I wasn’t sure if there had been some mistake and that my room was full of young women.

He looked at me with a smirk and said, “Congratulations.  You won the lottery.”

Aaron is a German student who is studying medical imaging.

That’s not exactly the response I expected, but I figured that this kind of thing was fairly normal.  When I accepted that, I relaxed and went about my business of unpacking and then exploring.

Later, I would meet some men who were staying in the room as well.  Aaron is from Germany and is attending the University College of London where he is studying medical im
aging.  He’s in Edinburgh for a class.  He comes in late and leaves early and is gone most of the day.  But when he’s about, he’s the picture of friendliness.  He is an amiable and good-natured young man.

The other man is Mike, who has just moved here with his girlfriend, Lauren.  Mike is English.  Lauren is Irish.  They met at a hostel in Melbourne, Australia, and they’ve been together ever since.  They’re trying to put down roots in Edinburgh and are looking for work.  Again, both Lauren and Mike struck me as being really relaxed and easy-going with people.

Veronica is learning English to help her be more proficient in her job.

The person with whom I have spent the most time, though, is Veronica.  She’s from Madrid, Spain and is Edinburgh trying to become fluent in English.  When we started speaking and I told her that I taught English for 20 years, she worried about her broken English.  I told her not to worry and to keep talking.  So, we’ve shared a number of conversations.  I’ve learned a touch of Spanish, and she’s practiced her English.

So, why I am writing about these individuals on my blog?  I’ve chosen to write about them because I think this is one of the great things about hostels.

They give people from all different corners of the world a chance to come together and be roommates for a day or two.

Based on my experience at Kick Ass Hostels, I plan on staying at more throughout my trip.  I look forward to meeting even more fellow travelers.

Until my next post, keep looking to the heavens and seeking your own stars.

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