|inside my dorm type hostel in Saigon|
I often times give a vague answer, because most people are not yet familiar with the concepts of couchsurfing and hostels. I don't want them to end up confused.
Couchsurfing has been going in the Philippines but most people, including a lot of its new members have misguided notion of what it is.
On the other hand, the concept of hostels and dormitory type accommodations is gaining popularity in the country. Granted, most of the clienteles of these dorm type hostels are mostly foreigners and experienced travelers, but the increasing number of such facilities give me satisfaction.
At least, more and more people will be able to experience the joys of hostel living.
|The Rock hostel in Koh Phi Phi|
Low, low, low
For obvious reasons, hostel living allows you to stretch you budget to remarkable lengths.
A 100 USD to will pay to a three to four star hotel, can be stretched to as much as two weeks if you know where to stay.
During my trip to Ho Chi Minh, I stayed at the Vietnam Inn Saigon, which charged me a whopping 5 USD per night in an airconditioned room with 10 beds.
My hostel in Koh Phi Phi meantime charged me 300 Baht a night.
Contrary to public perception, dorm type hostels are spacious enough. sometimes, each bed has its own curtain, electricity socket and reading lights. You each get a locker where you can leave behind personal stuff. It's not adviseable though to leave valuables.
In the process, you save up a lot of money, which allows you to travel farther and longer.
A Glimpse to the Whole World
Staying at a hostel also gives you a wider perspective. How wide you may ask. Well, let's put it this way. At a hostel, you will meet travelers from all over the world literally and you will discuss a host of topics ranging from the kibbutz system in Israel, to underground bars in Berlin, lesbianism, pity sex to dream trips in Antractica.
During my most recent Asian swing, I've met people from Maryland (not a farmland, hahaha, Acapulco, Liverpool, Frankfurt, Szechuan, Rio de Janeiro, Macedonia, Calgary, and Amsterdam.
Not varied enough? How about Trinidad and Tobago and Bratislava?
The world is so wide, and there's a lot of places to see, and people to meet. Those people I've met, I never would have met them had I stayed at a luxury hotel.
|a shared shower room|
By listening to them, slowly but surely, you get a vision of a the world, which is far different from the myopic self-centered visions that you used to have.
It's true that great friendships are built over time. But if you are in a vaccum, away from your real environment, you let go of some of your inhibitions and worries, and you open up yourself a lot easier.
In a hostel setting, it's impossible to gain new friends. The fact that you share alot of similar travels and stories, creates an instant connection to one another.
You start with a simple hello, and then before you know it, the conversation has been going on for about an hour or so. You then go to clubs, and landmarks together, sharing traveler jokes. All of a sudden, you become friends.
|friends I met from my Thailand hostel|
Relationships among travelers are also very common.
More than the sudden freedom, I guess a traveler becomes more open to friendship and love as they realize the world is so big and they're just too much to accomplish. Do away with hate, doubt and indecision and go ahead live your life to the fullest.
Hostel living, is not always a bliss. Bedbugs, snoring bunkmates, and filthy room, sometimes make your travel less enjoyable. But at the end of the day, the lessons, experiences and memories you share with your fellow travelers are definitely worth it.