If you don’t want to, you are never alone.
It is so easy to meet people when you stay in hostels. Everyone told me so before I left, but I couldn’t imagine it that well – now I know what the mean because it is so easy. Even if you are a shy person and not confident enough to speak to someone yourself, you will meet people that are and eventually start talking to strangers yourself as well.
Which leads me to the next point…
Travelling alone isn’t as scary as it sounds
Especially because you aren’t alone that often and even if you are its still not scary (after you get used to it a bit). And Australia is a very safe country as well (which makes it great for solo travellers, (solo) female travellers and people that are new to travelling) because the people here are so friendly and helpful!
I haven’t had a bad experience so far. Obviously a few that didn’t went as planned, but that’s totally normal and you grow and learn by working yourself through them (or asking for help).
Calling and asking
When I first started being “grown up” and having to call people and organize things by myself I was always insecure and flustered when I had to do so. It bettered through time and practice but just now being here I learned that it is so much easier to call than to fight myself through websites or try to figure out things. I just call, quickly ask for what I am looking or explain my problem and they answer me or even book/do something for me. And afterwards you feel good and safe because you know that it worked out and you don’t need to be worried that something went wrong because you missed/misunderstood something.
But I have to say that this point can be different from person to person. As I feel mostly safe talking English or at least explaining what I want to say it’s not a big deal for me.
Planning and Booking can be exhausting.
Even if you call to book. Planning, booking and figuring out where to stay the next night or what to do when, how and with which company can be very exhausting. It is also very time consuming (when you don’t just go to a travel agency and book the first thing they offer) because you need to know what you want (not easy when there are so many options! :D ) and you need to find good prices.
That’s why I am already looking forward to traveling with my parents for three weeks (where my mom is the one that planned most things in advance), stay at my AuPair family for a few weeks and have a job and a fixed place for a while in the future.
Decisions don’t matter that much. You will have a great time anyways.
On the other hand, it doesn’t matter that much what you decide to do. You will have a great time anyways or make the best out of it.
Hostel life is awesome.
Besides that, living in a hostel is wonderful. You get to meet people so easily, you cook together, most hostels have free activities you can join and overall, it’s a great vibe to stay with other travellers.
But it has downsides as well.
It can also be very tiring to be around people all the time and have no privacy at all. It’s rarely completely calm and peaceful, even when you have a small room and quiet people. You always need your room key when you just want to go to the toilet, shared kitchens can be disgusting and it’s annoying to live out of a backpack sometimes, even when you tried to pack the least that is possible.
But don’t get me wrong it is still great! Sometimes everything is just too much and you get annoyed by things that usually don’t bother you.
After 8 people dorms, it doesn’t matter anymore.
12-bed-dorm? Basically, the same as 8- or 10- bed dorm. Trust me, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a lot of people, but I personally don’t have a problem with it. I have my ear plugs and sleeping mask and I’m good.
Soon I am going to stay in a 16-bed dorm and I even would take bigger ones. It really doesn’t matter, it might even get better because the rooms get bigger.
Doing dished before and after using them.
When you use the hostel kitchen you do the dishes before and after cooking – at least that’s how I did it in the beginning. Now, I just look if they are clean enough. Only sharp knives and trenchers get cleaned properly before because you never know who cut raw meat on there before…
You can make crazily good friends in a very short time.
I never ever expected making so many friends in such a short time here. I already met so many awesome people and a few became really close. And the good thing about it is that you will eventually meet again here in Australia (as everyone is kinda going to the same spots) or anywhere in the world.
I already know that I’ll go to Milan, Amsterdam and Guatemala in the future to visit my friends and explore their home with them.
Letting go and saying goodbye to people you only knew for a short time still hurts.
But you also need to say goodbye to a lot of people very quickly because your ways split. That’s just how it is and you can only hope to see each other again soon.
When you are alone you meet people more easily.
Especially when you travel solo you meet people super easy. Why? Because you would rather talk to a stranger when he is sitting there alone than to a group or two people. And when you see another solo traveller you are more likely to understand his situation and connect with them.
Earplugs, Tupperware, camping fork-spoon are essentials.
I’ll for sure do an extra post on the best and most practical items every backpacker should have, but here are my top 3.
Tours are worth the money.
I know they sound expensive at first, but I decided for myself that they are worth the money. Especially when you travel alone and don’t have a car/travel mates with a car. You don’t need to worry about planning, organizing, driving long distances, food, what to do, where and how to do it best and you learn a lot from the tour guide. You meet people super easily and as you are together for a few days you can get to know each other easily.
You can’t just live the cheapest possible, you also need to enjoy.
In the beginning, I really tried to spend as less as possible. And I still try to, but you can’t only take the cheapest possible. Especially with food I now spend way more that I could (and should :D ) but I enjoy going out with friends to eat or try all the good stuff they have here (Australia has so many awesome food options as their cuisine is so diverse from all around the world). And it makes me happy, so it’s worth it.
At least I don’t spend money on coffee or a lot of alcohol :D
Speaking English will feel natural very quickly.
When I was in Melbourne, I only spoke English and I loved it! It felt so natural after a while and I really could feel the progress of being more confident and quicker.
I really tried to stay away from Germans, but it is hard.
Germans are everywhere.
Sometimes I wonder, if I am still in Australia as there are soo many Germans here. Little annoying even though they are nice and it’s fun to meet them – I really want to speak English! :P
You will make mistakes and pay for them.
Oh yes. You (Umgehen) it, even if you try very hard. Sometimes things just go wrong or you just realise afterwards that you booked something stupid.
But… It’s only money, right?