Why I Love Sleeping in Dorm Rooms
Sleeping in dorms is something preserved for the backpacker. What playing bridge is for old people and binge drinking for frat students is sleeping in a loud and crowded dorm room for us, the cheap and smelly backpackers.
When I tell people about solo traveling, an often asked question is if that isn’t very expensive, because single rooms are always more expensive than if you’d share a double. When I answer that I often sleep for an average of 10 euros a night - depending on the location of course - and that I had once taken a three nights for five euros offer, unbelieving eyes stare at me.
How did I do that?
It’s a simple theory: if you only want to pay half of something, split it in two. If you only want to pay a fraction, share it with ten, twelve or even twenty.
By sleeping in a dorm room, I theoretically share the price of a room with a couple of other persons. But the best part is that even if nobody else is in the same room as you, you still only have to pay your share. Awesome!
Dorm rooms are cheap
Conclusion of the previous paragraph is that for a bed in a dorm room you often pay only a small part of what you would otherwise pay for a single or double room.
To me this is the best way of saving some money on the road.
You may not always notice this when you’re traveling in less developed areas because since everything is so damn cheap, it feels natural that you don’t pay a fortune for a place to sleep. But when you’re visiting a big city you’ll certainly appreciate the rate of your dorm room.
A couple of examples: In the Friends hostel in Paris you can sleep for 15 euros a night, this is about the same as what you pay for a croissant, a coffee and a small bottle of water. A good night sleep in Barcelona’s Graffiti Hostel costs the same as the entrance fee of La Sagrada Famila and for the price of a night in Chocolat Hostel in New York, you can get a small margarita without toppings in John's Pizzeria.
Dorm rooms are social events
Solo traveling can be lonesome from time to time. Sometimes after a long walk through town, a visit to the local museum or a long bus ride, you feel the need to talk to somebody, no matter to who, no matter about what. Just a chat.
Or you want to have a party and you’re looking for a drinking brother or sister.
Or you’ve just seen a three headed dog walking by and you want someone to verify that it’s not yesterday’s mushrooms kicking back in.
Whatever reason you come up with, humans are social animals who need social interactions from time to time.
Dorm rooms are a great place to start.
First of all, you sleep in the same room. This is something you otherwise only do with close friends, relatives, pets and the occasional one-night stand. So this should already create a bond, right?
Secondly, you all share an interest: backpacking. So not only do you have something in common to talk about, but more importantly you can use the secret backpacker language.
This language is known among backpackers around the world and is actually very simple. There are three ways of saying “I am lonely and I want to have a conversation”:
1. Where do you come from?
2. Where are you going?
3. How long have you been traveling?
Every backpacker knows that if this question is asked, he or she should give at least some basic attention. Backpacker etiquette.
I strongly believe that men - I’m not sure about women but I suspect them too - need a daily dose of nudity. That is not our fault! It is a drug that is imposed to you by society and media. When you’re reading the newspaper in the morning, if not in the sports section then certainly the mode section will provide you bits of flesh. When walking to work you see billboards for perfume, underwear and and anti-fur campaigns, showing Claudia, Naomi and Pamela in their most exotic outfit.
Depending on how much time you can spend on the Internet during your work, your nudity level keeps raising and then you come home and turn on the TV. There are boobs and buttocks everywhere. In the news, in soaps, in movies, during the commercials and even when watching sports you’ll notice Ronaldo’s girlfriend in the stands bending a little bit too deep.
While traveling, most of this falls away and we all start suffering a nudity withdrawal. The most important symptoms are constant thinking about naked people and undressing the persons around you in your mind - not always a good idea, trust me.
Sleeping in dorm rooms can bring your nudity level back to normal as there are a lot of people in a small place with very little privacy.
Unfortunately for us men, women tend to be less likely to walk to and from the bathroom with no clothes on or to sleep naked and kick their sheets away. Luckily the odd couple having wild drunk sex makes up for that.
You don’t have to fear silence
Silence can be heartbreaking, especially when traveling on your own. Luckily that is not something you will have to fear when you’re sleeping in a dorm. There will be always someone around producing sounds.
People walking in and out of the rooms, having a chat on their cellphones at 2 am - because of the time difference that’s the only moment mommy and pappy are reachable - and plucking on the keyboard of their computer.
Someone gnashes her teeth, someone coughs and the guy in the corner seems to have serious issues closing his locker.
Someone starts panting, will he puke later on? Or did he just start a five knuckle shuffle?
The variation in sounds is endless.
Did you know that the sound of snoring can be very relaxing? Especially when it’s your own.
And maybe one last thing to remember: Farts are always funny!
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