I talk often about the benefits of hostels. I’ve learned the art of coexisting in limiting spaces, I’ve made amazing friends in strange places who invite me to visit them in their home and I invite them to mine, and most recently I’ve learned the art of hustling and surviving while abroad.
A few money-making ideas that don’t include smuggling instantly come to mind:
1. Find a bucket, and become a street performer. Who cares if you’re no good? These folks will never see you again anyway. They may, however, upload you for the world to see.
2. Find a seedy bar, and ask if you could do a little barbacking for the night.
3. Rent a costume and hit the tourist area of town. Charge $1 for photos with you.
It was over one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, made by one of the craziest guys I’ve ever met that I learned to find free housing while traveling for extended periods of time. Zuhair, a Saudi native now living in a Montreal hostel, put his Chef title to the test and crafted amazing meals each night for many of us staying at Alexandrie on Rue Amherst. Yaya provided the tequila, and I brought the chaser.
Zuhair came to Montreal to attend university and explore different cultures and lifestyles. He’s now sticking around and, as far as I can tell since I didn’t get deep into his life, serving as a true guide to visitors of Montreal, pointing them to museums, historical sites, parks, and diners in the day, and taking them to the hotspots at night.
What I learned from Zuhair:
When traveling for extended periods of time, it’s a good idea to contact hostels and ask for free housing in exchange for a service; Folding towels, cleaning rooms, providing front desk duties, and many other things needed in hostels.
Thank you Zuhair for the advice, the sandwich, the soup, the fish, the nightclub, and the laughs!
1750 Rue Amherst, Montréal, QC H2L 3L6, Canada
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.