I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Last I left off I was in Auckland for the third time. Then I went on a road trip for 11 days and, now I’m back in Auckland.
Anyway, confession time.
Right now I am not living in a hostel. I am staying at a friend’s flat while he is on vacation. I stayed here 2 weeks ago for 4 days and now I’m staying here for another 3 days. These 7 night are the first time since I arrived that I have not stayed in a dorm room in a hostel. Not a terribly long time, but enough.
Now, I love hostels. They are an incredible way to travel cheaply, meet tons of fellow travelers, socialize, party, have instant friends or travel buddies and in general, they are a good place to call home. They are fantastic.
There are, however, some obvious downsides of hostel living (which makes living in this flat all the more awesome), which I will now enumerate for you.
Downsides of Hostel Living:
1. I have shared a 14 x 12 room with 7 other people. There was a significant lack of space. Stuff was everywhere all the time.
2. Bunk Beds. Some are excellent. Some are terrible. No matter how excellent it is, it is still a bunk bed.
3. I always stay in dorm rooms, which means more than 4 people. There is no privacy. Ever.
5. I have to bring my toiletries to the bathroom every time I shower.
6. I have to bring my clothes to the bathroom every time I shower. I hate putting on clothes right after I shower when my skin is still damp. See 3.
7. I sometimes have to wait to shower. Or use the bathroom.
8. I don’t have a real towel. I have one of those microfiber travel towels. It’s full size but it’s not soft or warm or cuddly. I miss real towels.
9. Sometimes, when I lay on my side, I can feel my hip digging into the bed frame because the mattress is so thin.
10. Free WiFi does not exist. Internet at hostels, in general, is terribly slow.
11. I constantly wear shoes and I hate wearing shoes. But when 50 people are running in and out of the hostel, there is no way to keep up with the dirt on the floor. Your socks, or your feet will turn black.
12. 50 people. Small kitchen. At meal times, it is a mad house. Always. In every hostel. Guaranteed.
13. I have to write my name on all my food. No joke. With a sharpie and a date. Otherwise it will end up in someone else’s stomach, in the trash or on the ‘Free Shelf’
14. Kitchens are usually clean but lacking in utensils, dishes, or pots and pans. Every hostel lacks something in the kitchen (when I made that apple crumble I peeled 3 pounds of apples with a steak knife. yeah).
15. There is always someone who doesn’t clean up their shit. I hate that person.
Again, I love hostels. Love them. To me, hostel living is entirely worth it even with the above list.
Right now though, I am not in a hostel. I am in a flat. It is incredible. Luxurious, even.
[Side note- after living out of a 50L backpack for a month, sharing a bedroom with 7 people and a kitchen with 50, if I ever move back to Boston, I could live virtually anywhere. Oh a studio that only has a 2 burner electric stove and no oven? I can deal. Only a mini fridge? meh, not a problem. No room for a dresser? It’s cool I only have 5 outfits anyway]
Why Flat Living is Luxurious:
1. I have a real person bed. Not a bunk bed. Not a single bed. A real, honest to goodness adult double bed.
2. I have a place to put my clothes, even if it’s just the floor. That precious floor space is MINE!
3. I can be as messy as I want (in my room), no one cares and I don’t feel bad about it. See 2.
4. I share a bathroom with only 2 other people, one of whom is out of the country (and I share a room with NO ONE!)
5. I have a desk to put my book (yes, singular) and electronics on (and if I had other stuff, I could put it on the desk, too).
6. I don’t have to put clothes on immediately after I get out of the shower. I can change clothes in my room. I get a real, fluffy, soft, white towel (to a normal person, it is probably not that soft or fluffy, but to me it is heaven. I’ve showered just so I can use that towel).
7. I can walk around barefoot.
8. There are sufficient outlets.
9. I get to read using a light instead of a headlamp.
10. When only 3 instead of 30 people are using the internet it is much faster.
11. I don’t have to label my food!
12. Quiet. It is so quiet. Eerie almost.
13. A real kitchen. With helpful utensils and real wine glasses. How I’ve missed real wine glasses. Wine from a mug is not nearly as good. Fact.
14. A proper dining room table with wood chairs.
15. Cable. Not that I watched TV when I lived in the US but it’s nice to indulge. I even got to watch the Patriots 2 weeks ago on Monday (Sunday Night in the US).
(Don’t mind my coffee and computer. Also it’s Rachael Ray on TV).
16. Sharp knives.
17. I don’t have to bring a key with me every time I leave my room.
18. IT IS ALL FREE!!!
Said friend is extremely generous for letting me stay here, even more so in that he doesn’t expect me to do anything in return. Not pay him, not clean (they have a cleaner come, I offered). Though he did say feeding his flatmates chocolate is always a good idea. I’m gonna go make them some apple crumble. Hopefully it tastes like Christmas and they love me.