I travel alone 99% of the time. Occasionally people will come and join me, or stay with me in the same hostel, but often I am alone, which means I’m constantly treading the line between freedom and brittle loneliness.
The one thing I loved about living in halls of residence (as I pretty much hated everything else!) was the feeling that I could go anywhere, do anything I wanted without having to answer for myself or worry about being watched. Not that I was doing anything wrong- I was often just taking my book out for a coffee. It’s the same feeling here- I need my own space and love my “me-time”. However the metaphorical coin flips occasionally and I find myself sitting in the cafe/bar/wherever hoping that someone will come and ask me what I’m reading. The problem is that usually doesn’t happen when I want it to. I think when you’re that lonely, it shows and then no one wants to go near you in case you’re alone because you’re a weirdo!! It’s a fine line to walk.
It’s why I always stay in dorms (yes, really! Photographers often look at me horrified when I explain that yes, I’m in a bunkbed above a stranger). The chances of having a chat with someone interesting are always higher, and the chances are there are more “lone wolves” who know exactly why you’re asking what they’re reading and are only too happy to start a conversation! At the moment, I’m perfectly happy being alone, but am also sharing a room with some fantastic people so I thought I’d blog about some of the best hostel experiences I’ve had.
- I was staying in Caledonian Backpackers in July, with Ella Rose. She was having an early night for an early shoot, the friends I had made were doing an all-nighter in the city for a birthday party, and I was stuck in a “can’t go out- morning photoshoot but too early to go to bed- the shoot isn’t *that* early” situation. As I decided I’d rediscover fizzy Rubicon passionfruit juice at the bar, I got talking to two German riot police/magicians. (Yes, really). We ended up talking about card tricks until it really was my bedtime, and I still have a card with my name on it.
- Today (as in, just now) I began talking to my new roommates. One of these girls is a 25-year-old former combat soldier from Israel. Not only has her house been bombed (she told a story about how her dog can sense whether the attack is real- this is the only time she ran to the bomb shelter), but she was stabbed in the eye by a terrorist at age 19. She’s now a teacher and I’d hate her to see that I’m writing about her but she could be one of the most inspirational people I’ve met in a long time. I don’t know her name yet…
- This made my day- I was talking about what I do to a friend I’d just made, when she looked at my screen and asked if the person on it was me. It wasn’t- it was a redheaded model friend, so I got a picture up on my laptop for her to see. She recognised it- it turns out she’s been reading my magazine columns for years!
- I arrived in a hostel to see a rude woman shouting at the staff. I thought nothing of it until I reached my room, where the fight entered two seconds later. The first word I heard was “voodoo.” So I pricked my ears up. I start unpacking my stuff- bear in mind I’d just arrived- and suddenly this woman starts screaming at me “that girl poured cream on the floor! I gonna voodoo you- I know people! I know my rights! VOODOO!!!”
The staff member who just checked me in burst out laughing and without warning, the woman starts chucking soup everywhere!!! The police were called and arrested her while obviously trying not to laugh! I ended up going out for Nandos with my roommates.
- I stayed in a dorm with the (now second) loudest snorer I have ever had the misfortune to hear. She stayed for two nights and finally, the day another person turned up in her bed, we had a party in the room. I think the very sweet Australian girl who was the unwitting guest of honour was quite bemused by the whole thing, but it was a great night!
Anyway, here’s to more hostel tales!
Today was my day off so I went to Newgrange (pictures soon) and am now in my bunk trying to decide if I can be bothered to get a drink or not. Horrible hayfever/cold thing has taken most of my energy so I think it’ll be an early night as I now have four days of shoots coming up.
Have some pictures from Lux Vobiscum- these were from my Scotland tour and I think the first one fits the travel-ly vibe rather well!