Reason #4876 I Love Hostels

After the amazing paella, jazz, mojitos, and stroll around our neighborhood, we arrived back at 12:12 Hostel and took a seat in the common area to work on a few plans for the days to come, listening to our table neighbors share stories about their day, previous days, lives back home, and what’ll happen when the traveling must cease. Quickly, they invited us in on the conversation, asking why we’re in Bogota, where we’re headed after, and other questions travelers keep up their sleeve. The laughs followed quickly and we were all like old friends reuniting after years apart.

Strange enough, some of these travelers were old friends reuniting after time apart. Actually, they met months ago while in Medellin, became fast friends, and shared tips and advice on where to go after. One went north, the others went south, thinking they’d probably never run into each other again. Of all the hostels in all of Bogota, they end up in the same one months later. Such a feel good story, right?

Tommy, my new traveling buddy from Sydney, traveling on her own, begins making her way home tomorrow with one last stop in Brazil. After a year of traveling through South America, she’s not sure what to expect, but it’s been one hell of a ride! And she’ll be back at it before you know it. We all hug her as folks make their way to bed, knowing this may really be the last time we see her.

We sat there, a group of Canadians, Americans, Brits, and Aussies, talking about our favorite places in the world, why our countrymen are afraid of hostels, why we love them deeply, and why we’re travelers and not tourists. We didn’t have to find common ground to co-exist. Walking into the hostel provided that ground. All we needed to do was sit at the table, and nothing but mutual appreciation would come.

A hostel is world peace, I reckon. And tomorrow we’ll wake up, put on our Big Boots (Winnie-the-pooh reference) and see Bogota together.

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.