Life in a hostel is an ephemeral one. Every day new people arrive, while others depart, leaving behind only mere dust, or a shadow, or a ghost in the memory of the hostel, if they’re lucky. It’s like life but on a much smaller and quicker scale. You soon learn to appreciate every single moment wit those you cherish and you endure those you dread in the knowledge that it won’t be forever. You meet new lives every day, new memories, new stories, new pasts, which pass by you and sometimes take in part of your own self on their way out, just as you might keep parts of them. How many lives have you touched? How many smiles have you carefully handcrafted so that they would linger after that final goodbye? How many times have you been touched yourself? How many times have you discovered new corners of existence or explored dangerous, far-off lands, without ever leaving the kitchen? Living in a hostel automatically triples that number, if not even more. Your very own existence seems to multiply in the lives of those that now carry you in their thoughts.

Suddenly, the whole world becomes more than just geography. It is no longer filled with mere names, with mere prejudices, with mere two dimensional ideas or mere media written opinions. As those people whom you’ve met leave you behind to go back home, or to go live somewhere new, they give their face to that place, so that, every time you look at a map, it’s them you see, their humanity and the memories that they left you with. As they disperse throughout the globe, the world starts to be filled with friendly faces, instead of just having different names for the unknown.

Life in a hostel can be pleasant but it’s not always easy. You may find long lasting friends, but you will also have to live with people whom you don’t get along with, and it can sometimes be hard to be forced to face them every day. It’s also hard to be alone, but at least the lonely should easily find a suitable refuge here, where you always seem to have someone to talk to, to do things with and to annoy you as well. There are times when you might even only barely leave the hostel at all.

Regardless of your own personality and interests, living in a hostel is something that I would recommend to everyone. There is an understanding of people and life that you seem to acquire here more than anywhere else, especially if you stay in the hostel for a long period of time. Think of a hostel as a place where the world passes by you, without you having to go outside to meet it.

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