At 19, I spent ten weeks in Europe against my parents’ advice. I made the decision to go 12 days before departure. I had no idea what I was getting into. It changed me forever.
Backpacking Europe is central to my coming of age story. Hostels played a significant role. Securing a place to sleep each night was a big part of my life that summer. How long would it take to find? Was a bed available? A lock-out period? Mixed dorm? Laundry? Did a shower cost extra?
I fell in love with hostels. I dreamt of running my own someday. I fantasized about greeting all those travelers, fulfilling basic needs, and listening to their latest tales from the road.
When Errol suggested I stay at a hotel near Lauren’s, I looked at him like he was crazy: “I’m not staying in a hotel!” The idea seemed absurd.
Instead, I spent the night at Adveniat Paris and, no surprise, loved it.
I slept in a 6-bed female dorm room. When I arrived shortly after ten, there was only one other person in the room. We exchanged names and pleasantries. I’m American. She’s Canadian. I’m leaving tomorrow. She’s here until Monday. She likes my clothes and wants to attend university in Freiburg. She oozed sweet naivety--probably just like I did at her age. Hope all your dreams come true, Emily!
The rest of the beds were filled throughout the night. Phone flashlights, dropped objects, slamming doors, and hair dryers stunted my sleep. I don’t live with grown-up girls anymore, but, apparently, some like to dry their hair before going to bed. It’s kind of loud.
I was so happy to stay in a hostel again. It’s good to be reminded why you like something. It’s also good to choose a bed by the wall. Don’t forget.