Do You Have the Right Attitude to Travel?
The mindset of a traveller
I had just arrived at a backpacker hostel in Melbourne, Australia after my flight from Darwin. I walked across the squeaky floors to my dorm style room where I put some of my stuff. I came back later to the room at around 11pm and I turned on the light in the hallway that leads to the room.
I walk into the room, once again on squeaky floors, and before I had a chance to take off my shoes I hear a voice from the bed underneath my bed: "Turn off the light, please!" Immediately I recognize a female French accent. What's going on here? The light is not even shining directly into the room.
After a few moments I decide to turn off the light anyway and I climb into the bed above hers. The bed makes noise as well and I hear once again: "Please!" I'm still pondering what just happened: I had not encountered such sensitivity before in my travels. Many travellers are a lot more relaxed about what happens around them.
I guess I'll figure out tomorrow what type of person we're dealing with here. It might be that she needs to get up early for her flight tomorrow - it could simply be the stress of being awake at this hour. My mood does not need to be influenced by little events like these. Time to rest.
The next day she's already gone so I thought my guess was right: she needed to get up early for some reason. That night I come back around midnight and I once again enter the room - this time without turning on the light. Someone's on her bed but is it her? I climb into the bed and she imitates the noise the bed makes. Nope, she hasn't left.
Later I hear that other people experienced similar things: she wanted to go to bed at around 10pm and requested the main light of the room to be turned off. But you're in a hostel, in a dorm room even. You can't expect the light to be turned off that early when others still need the light.
Attitude is altitude
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She was clearly not accustomed to staying in hostels. When you're staying in hostels, in particular dorm rooms, the beds will make noise, the lights will be on at random times of the day and your roommates will make a mess of it. You cannot expect everything to be exactly as it is at home.
And why should you upset yourself about these things? You're somewhere else in the world - turn around, close your eyes and try to sleep. You need to rest for tomorrow's explorations. After a while you don't even hear all those noises anymore. The more you travel the more you get used to these things. Drunk roommates will come in late and talk loudly, noisy vehicles will drive by your room window and the hostel kitchen turns out to be an absolute disaster to cook in.
You have to be flexible to be able to travel a lot - in particular when you don't have the money to stay in a five star hotel each time. Try to understand why your roommates behave the way they do. I never really met the girl in the introduction of this article because she would be in bed when I got into the room and she would be away when I woke up. I can only guess at the reasons why she responded the way she did. Was she spoiled by her parents and more used to staying in luxury resorts and this was her first time in a hostel? Has she simply not traveled much in her life?
Is she enjoying her stay in this hostel? Probably not if every little thing troubles you. I can guarantee that she cannot maintain that attitude if she wants to stay in hostels and enjoy it too. I've seen a lot worse than turning on lights and squeaky beds. People sleeping in beds that belong to future guests, cockroaches and filthy bathrooms to name a few. Even these things don't bother me so much anymore.
There's this phrase of positive thinking: don't sweat the small stuff. Don't worry about all these little things and focus on the bigger picture: you're staying for a cheap price somewhere else in the world, it satisfies all your basic needs and you can spend the money on local activities. You can always have a luxurious holiday when you have more money - at some other place and time.
When traveling you meet many people that each have their own quirks and personality. It's one of the reasons that makes travel so wonderful. Some people have a very strong character while others prefer to blend into the crowd.
I'm sure you have also experienced odd things with other people when traveling around the world. In particular when you're leaving the safe haven of your own culture and you set sail towards foreign lands with a culture of their own.
Have you met anyone during your travels who really stood out of the crowd? Any small incidents or memories that have become a part of you? Share them with us!
Stay positive and stay safe while travelling!
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