How To Make Friends In Hostel?

Hello all fellow shy travelers! Today’s travel post is all for you. As totally introverted and socially awkward person traveling and especially hostel life may feel like a nightmare. You want to make new friends and learn about these amazing different cultures but something inside you just makes it impossible. With these tips you will be step closer to being that social traveler in hostel. (Or at least everyone will think that you are the social one…)

Of course anyone asking themselves the question ‘How to make friends in hostel?’ can follow my tips but these are made especially for all us shy people who wouldn’t usually start conversations with strangers.

friends
Photos from Unsplash

Everything starts with a smile

Don’t laugh, it’s the truth! With smile you can go a long way making friends in hostel. If you look like you are having the best day of your life, other hostel guests will more likely begin chatting with you than if you are just sulking in the corner. Make eye contact (not too often that’s just creepy) and smile. They will probably answer to your smile and if you are lucky even start talking with you.

This usually works because there is two types of people in hostels. Those who want to talk for others and those who don’t. And then of course those subcategories for people who only talk for pretty girls, with the staff members or when they are intoxicated. So, when you smile people know that they can safely approach you and start talking. Soon you may find yourself with new friend!

group

Greet everyone always and everywhere

After smiling greeting other guests is the most important thing in making hostel friends if you ask from me. I have had many people starting interesting conversations with me after I have greeted them for a few mornings and evenings in row. Some people just take longer to warm up for you and greeting them every time you see them is good way to achieve just that.

In the other hand. It’s also the best way to make new friends on your first day in the hostel. And with the people who have just arrived to the hostel and are going to spend there their first night. You could call it the good first impression. You will snatch the best new hostel friends for yourself before they make friends with someone else and starting conversation with them will be harder.

solo_female_travelers

Easy questions always work

The most usual way to start conversation with someone in hostel is to ask where they are from. You might think that asking persons name would be one of the first questions but surprisingly sometimes it may take hours of talking before thing like that comes up. Crazy, right? But if knowing someone’s name is important you can always tell the “by the way, my name is ____” and they will probably tell you theirs.

The beginning of conversation when making friends in hostel usually goes by asking and answering questions. You will get hold on to it quickly after making your first few hostel friends. Ask them about their home country, how long they are going to stay in the destination, where they are going next, where have they been before, what they know about your home country and even tips for some destination they have been before. After a while the conversation will start flowing on its own. So, don’t worry too much.

travel_plan

Pay attention to the small details

Paying attention to people around you is important part of making new hostel friends. Why? You may accidentally find reason to start conversation. I just recently talked a little with another hostel guest because we had identical laptops.

A few times I have made friends because I saw someone reading books, watching Youtube videos or talking with someone else about concert they have just been to. If you know something about the subject yourself, feel free to start conversation. “Excuse me, I could not hear you talking about being in the concert. You have good music taste, I love that band.” It may seem hard at first but after a while you will get used to it.

we

Ask help or offer help

You are sitting in your dorm room, new guests walks in and you greet them happily. They start searching for their bed but look a little bit confused by the numbering system of your room’s beds. You have been following them in the corner of your eyes while surfing on your computer. Then you ask if they need help and tell them where their bed is. They will probably thank you and you can introduce yourself and ask where they are from. After that it’s easy to start talking and if they don’t look too tired after traveling you can even tell them that you were just leaving to eat something and ask them to join you.

Asking help and offering help is easy way to break the ice and start new friendship with your fellow hostel guest. I think this is one of the most common ways of making friends in hostels.

japanfood

Bride with food

You can’t get true friends with money but food is totally different subject. Some of the most interesting hostel friendships I have had have started with food. Recently in Bremen my dorm roommate made me breakfast because I woke up too late to eat it every morning. We talked a lot after that. During my Japan trip I made friends again and again with food. I especially remember the Halloween night when group of us ended up sharing candies to everyone and talked far into the night.

read_travel

Everything starts from the common room

After long day adventuring around the new city you are probably ready for the bed. However staying unsocial in your dorm room means no easy friends for you. Buy food or snacks from convenience store, take book or computer with you and set towards the common room or kitchen area. Then just find nice spot for yourself with many seats around you and began your waiting. Eventually someone will start talking with you.

Just remember all the other tips I have shared. Remember to greet every guest arriving to the room. Usually if you greet someone and even more often if you are the only person in the room, they will ask would it be okay to sit with you. Then just start talking. Ask them where they are from and hope for the best.

coffee

The more the merrier

Don’t be scared of big groups. It’s more than normal for hostel friend groups grow uncontrollably. You may talk with one person, then third person starts talking with the two of your, fourth person asks if you know any good restaurants and you start all together planning meal together. Then a few hours later you will find yourself with six other hostel guests from too small restaurant for you all to fit in properly. Just normal hostel life…

So, be prepared to hang out in bigger groups and don’t be scared to start talking with people even if they are already with someone. And if you are asked to join group going out say yes! You can regret later and find stupid excuse to escape.

female_travelers

It will either work or not

In the end you can’t force hostel friendships and making friends in hostel is more about lucky than social skills. Sometimes you make too many friends to even remember their names and sometimes you will only smile for someone and that’s it. That happened for me in Sweden. During my stay I only talked about two sentences with my roommates and I never met anyone else in the hostel. Bad luck.

My last tip for making friends in hostel for shy people is to just go for it. At first it is hard but you will get used to it quickly. Always keep in mind that if you don’t want you don’t have to see anyone here ever again. Heck, they don’t even know your full name so they will never find you anywhere. You can make fool of yourself or be totally awkward without any consequences. Making friends in hostel is perfect way to learn social skills. Feel free to fail as many times as you need.

And that’s all I have to say now about making friends in hostel from the introvert’s point of view. Do you have any tips or tricks for making friends? Or maybe someone more social person would like to tell how they start the first conversation in hostel? Like always all comments are welcome and thanks or reading.

And btw, don’t forget to follow my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi 

Advertisements

Photo Diary: My New Home

Hello everyone!

How are you? I hope you have had amazing adventures lately because I have only been exploring this new city I’m now living in. And I’m sorry if nothing in this post makes sense because I have currently fever and flu.

Today I’m going to share few photos from my new home town. So like usually there is photos and captions for them. In addition to those I will be talking about something else between the photos. (My blogs future… Almost serious stuff…) Now let’s begin!

 

trainstation
I want to start with this train station photo. It starts to be too familiar building for me because when I want to go see my family and friends I need to take three hours long train journey. Tiring but fortunately I have traveller’s mind and can handle long transportation times.

I have been super busy lately and not only because of my new life as full time student. If you know the site Fiverr I just recently started to earn some extra money there. (Takes unexpectedly a lot of time!)  Like you may have realized there hasn’t been many post to this blog and I have been quite stressed to come up with some easy to write ideas.

Before I promised to publish new bucket list destination every Wanderlust Wednesday but now I have to eat my words and just promise to publish something interesting every Wanderlust Friday. (That doesn’t rhyme like with Wednesday… Maybe Fearless Travel Friday?)

hostelroom
Unfortunately this majestic place isn’t my home. But it is from hostel room I lived in my first week here in Kokkola. I recommend Villa Carleborg for everyone. 

So now you can expect new post every Friday. Next week I am going to finally publish that long waited Tallinn travel diary that has been waiting in my drafts folder for too long. I’m also planning a lot of weekend trips in the future so wait patiently for those travel diaries.

busstop
This photo is my closest bus stop. Oddly I haven’t seen any buses here in my first moth. Is there even any of them?

Another thing I wanted to talk about today is my YouTube channel. No, I don’t have one yet but if you have been following me long enough you may know that at one point I promised to start making videos when I get 1 000 readers.

Honestly I though it would take at least year to get so many readers but somehow it has only taken a few months. Thank you everyone who likes to read my blog! And especially the people commenting! It always makes my day when someone drops comment for my text.

kokkola2
This is Kokkola’s public living room or something like that. It’s full of art and you can leave your own piece there or just sit down and enjoy what others have done. 

Yeah, but now back to the YouTube subject. Is there any videos you would like to see? I have many ideas myself but I would love to get tips what you would like to watch me doing. Also I will probably make two channels.

One channel for travel videos I can then share here with my blog posts. And another one for random videos about literally anything. I will inform you more here in my blog when I get to the point where I have enough time to really make the channels. (Maybe next weekend?)

church
Local church in sunset.

 

I think this was everything I had to say today. Thanks for reading and I hope you liked the photos!

And by the way you can also follow me in Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I try to be active there but I’m a lot better blogger than I am with social media.

streetart
And today’s photo diary is going to end in this photo of local street art. I totally love it and will take better photos of it for you later on. See you again next Friday!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

 

Ups and Downs of Hostel Worker

Hello there! I was going to write this article from tent in the middle of forest (with 17 000 other people) but then my unlucky nature took over. I was on summer camp (that will have its own short post later on) but of course I got sick after the first day. So no more camping for me but rather sleeping and super long Netflix marathon…

But now lets go back to today’s topic and the working in hostels subject. If you haven’t yet, go and read the GOOD and the BAD hostel volunteering memories I shared with you earlier this week. And to clear you more about my own hostel experience:

I worked/volunteered almost two months as housekeeper in small Kyoto based hostel. Before that I had volunteered in another hostel in Tokyo but left after my first week because the place was hell. On both times I lived in the hostels and met a lot of amazing people.

So I have perfect and terrible experience as hostel worker. That’s why I wanted to share with you the pros and cons of hostel volunteering I encountered. Despite all the bad points the goods make up for them and in my opinion everyone should try it at least once in their life.

 

The Bad Points:

  • Being on full time work mode. If you live and work in the same hostel, you are always on work mode. Something is dirty and you will clean it. Someone looks lost so you will help them. You will always have your customer service smile on.
  • Being “conned” to work more than promised before hand. If you are not careful and write contract, there is danger of getting used. This happened to me on my first work place. They promised 3 hours of work but I had to stay in the hostel almost 24 hours to wait for people to come and check-in. So be careful out there.
  • Feeling lonely. If you are traveling solo and only volunteer/long time stayer in your hostel, this may become problem. At day time you have your co-workers and other times there are the quests. However when everyone only stays for short times and no one seems to getwhat you are doing, there si no one to talk about your problems.
  • Sharing the room with bunch of strangers. There is a big probability you will sleep in dorm room. Sometimes it’s nice and way to get better picture of your new friends. Usually it gets annoying quickly.  Snoring people, couples having sex, someone packing at night and lights going on at stupid hours. Lets not even talk about trying to be considering and finding your own bed in the darkness.

 

The Good Points:

  • All the amazing people you meet. Every day new people come and go. There is no way you won’t meet new person every evening.
  • All the interesting stories you hear. Living and sharing the place with always changing travelers grants you an unlimited amount of crazy travel stories.
  • Never being alone. Yes, I know one bad point was being lonely BUT you are never alone when staying in hostel. You may feel like there is no people left in this world however that feeling won’t last a long when you hear someone shouting on the corridor or the man in neighboring bed starts snoring. There is always someone near you and for me it was assuring.
  • Learning new languages and skills. Meeting people around the world is useful. More than once someone wanted to teach me their language. And of course you will learn the language that is major in your work place. For me Thai family taught how to make food and German man told me hiking tips for pilgrims. 
  • You will get inspired and bitten by multiple travel bugs. Hearing about unforgettable travel destinations from people who have first hand experience is lethal. There is (at least for me) no way back to your normal life. Your bucketlist will grow and the travel passion get out of hand.
  • Work experience. When you are seeking for real job in the future, volunteering in exotic country will draw attention. You willeem like someone having life experience and depending on the job you are trying to get you have learned womething fitting from your volunteer. It gives you experience of custom service and making the customers happy. Working hard and in team. Coming to quick learner and proving your skills in surviving any work enviroment. You can basically get anything out of your volunteering time if you are good enough at writing the CV.
  • Being the one others admire. I talked about this in my first hostel volunteering memory. When you tell someone staying in the hostel that “yes I just happen to work and live here” they will right away look you differently. Usually your confession will follow a lot of questions from them or just plain comment how they would love to do what you are doing.

 

Have you ever worked or volunteered in hostel? Or would you like to try? I would love to hear more about your stories and experiences about this subject. So don’t be shy and comment below!

I will post again soon so see you then!

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

The Catastrophic Hostel Worker

I love volunteering in hostels but it’s not always fun and games. In my last post I shared one good experience I have had and today I have terrible volunteering story for you. It may not sound at first too bad but I wasn’t paid for working. Only thing I got out of it was small bed (without mattress).

 

Catastrophic First Week For Hostel Worker

My first days in Tokyo had been full of first times. Volunteering in hostel, solo traveling and trying to survive with my bad English. I had survived fine except the working conditions sucked but I naively though everything would get better.

It was my fourth morning and I woke early to be ready and clean. I felt quite good and nothing predicted the mess this day would turn out to be. It was sunny and I had only five more days until my day off. The cleaning went well. I listened music dancing and mopping around the empty hostel and took in the beautiful neighborhood from the house’s sun patio. Everything was perfect.

Until it wasn’t. I had to change linens on two rooms. The first one was easy. Empty room, two beds with dirty linens. The second one turned out to be my first nightmare of that day. One dorm room, four dirty beds and only one person leaving the room. My problem was how there was no way of knowing which bed I should change the linens.

As bright problem solver I decided to change all the four beds and go to get early lunch. My work day wasn’t yet over. I still had to wait for two people who were going to check-in. My boss had given me permission to be half hour away from the hostel when waiting for guests. So I spend exactly that time walking to nearby shopping mall.

Everything seemed fine again. I hoped I would spend more time on the city but I was still holding on to the promise of coming days off. So I returned and began my waiting. It wasn’t so bad to watch Netflix, talk to the other guest and write. So I waited until several hours later someone ringed the doorbell and I rushed happily to open.

Behind the door stood cute young Asian boy looking a little lost. I of course welcomed him in thinking he must be one of the guests checking-in. The answer I got was flustered “only Chinese or Japanese” and so I was in problems again.

I tried to speak with my hands, basic English words I hoped he would understand and trying to come up some way to talk with him. The boy looked more and more frightened after every moment and my own state of panicking was growing.

So I did only thing I know would solve the problem and went to ask help from my boss who in fact talks Japanese and Chinese and was in the room next door. Oh, the stupid me… I chose wrong option.

After knocking to her door I told to my boss that I needed translating help to talk with this guest. The look for me was deadly but she didn’t have other options than to come and solve the situation. She talked to him and then I showed him around the hostel. When I left the boy to his room’s door, we were smiling stupidly and wishing each other goodnight.

And then I returned to the living room where my boss waited for me arms crossed and angry face on. Then she shouted. Apparently I was useless and should never again ask her help in situation like this. She also dissed my English skills and working speed. Like usually I just kept kindly quiet and listened.

I though my bad day wouldn’t turn worse but of course it did.

I kept waiting for the second guest. I waited, waited and waited. The clock was eleven PM and I had been waiting for whole day. There was no way I was going to disturb my boss again so I just sat there in the living room and tried to find something to do. Then my boss came out to the kitchen to eat.

“The second guest of today hasn’t yet came…” I probably sounded pathetic but I had grown to be scared of that woman.

“She came already when you weren’t here and I checked her in.” Then she went back to her room and I was left behind to keep my anger inside. I had been waiting for hours that I would have spend exploring the city. She had been whole that time inside of her room and seen me many times. Why the heck hadn’t she told me that I was free to go?

That was first day when I started to seriously think about ending my volunteering and just renting a apartment. It took a couple of more days and bad experiences with my host before I sneaked out of the hostel and found charming dorm to live in.

.      .      .

So as warning example always talk more with your host before going. Ask specific working hours, look everything critically and hope for the best. And if you are not feeling good, safe or valued in the place no one is preventing you from leaving.

Have you had bad volunteering experiences? Or have you ever left the place you were supposed to volunteer?

Tomorrow I am leaving to huge summer camp so the next post is going to be written in forest. I just hope my internet will work. So on next Monday you will get pros and cons of being hostel volunteer. See you then!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina

The Cool Hostel Worker

Like the title says I’m going to write about being hostel worker. I haven’t spoken a lot about my experiences volunteering in hostels so I though it would be useful information (and two stories) to share with you. Now I am going to tell one story and next week share another one and speak generally about working in hostels.

The story I am going to tell you today happened when I was volunteering two months in Japan trough site called Helpx. I had the best times of my life even if I was still shy at talking for people because of my broken English. The months working there taught me a lot and got me hooked to hostel living.

 

The Story Of Cool Hostel Worker

I had been one month in Kyoto and the work was becoming more and more like everyday life for me. In the mornings I cleaned for three hours, day time went exploring the city and at nights I socialized with the hostel guests. Usually I mentioned after a while for the people I met that in the fact yes I worked and lived in this tiny homey hostel.

One night I met this kind couple who told me they were touring around Japan. We talked a shortly before they went to sleep and I didn’t even realize how me working in the hostel hadn’t come up in the conversation. That was also normal thing because even if I took pride of my job (and if guest praised me I got free food from the boss) getting to know the people and their stories was the most interesting part for me.

Next morning the couple was just memory in my head and I started the cleaning with my co-workers. We were coming to my dorm room and also the room I had shared with the kind couple. I kept cleaning like always even if I heart someone from my room say good morning to my boss.

I finished cleaning the corridor and walked in the room to help changing the linens. The couple from last night was talking happily and backing their things. They of course greeted me and carried on their own conversation. However soon they both went quiet and I felt eyes on my back.

“Wait do you work here?” question I did hear surprisingly often. I answered shortly yes and kept answering to their follow-up interest about my working hours, how I ended up here, etc.

Soon they realized that they were going to be late if they didn’t leave right away. I said my goodbyes to them and continued the cleaning.

“You are so lucky and cool! I want to be like you!” I never would have guessed someone to tell me that so the boys last words didn’t even register for me first. His girlfriend agreeably shouted goodbye and good luck for me. Then they were gone and I never saw them again. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even thank them and wish good travels.

This is my small good memory. I wanted to share it with you because after that day I made huge realization. I was the person. With the person I mean the one who so many others just dream to be. Someone who sees the world, works in hostels and most importantly lives freely.

I had become someone I had so often wished to be. And so I started this blog, decided to make my life my own and promised to keep traveling.

 

.      .      .

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s story. You are going to get the bad hostel working story on Tuesday and on Monday sum-up about the pros and cons of working in hostels. Like always if you have something to say the comments are open for you to share your thoughts.

And by the way you may have realized that I decided to change my username to my real name. So no more Neidotta. You can find me now with name Viivi Severina (and lostsneakers) from all my social medias and blogs.

See you soon!

Viivi Severina