Hostel Party Culture
If you have ever stayed in a hostel and chosen to abstain from having a drink either inside the hostel or from going out to party you are likely to have faced a barrage of questions. “Why aren’t you going out tonight?” Possibly followed up with “but it is Friday/Saturday night” or some other reason why you should be hitting the booze. Your answer (if you bother giving one) will likely be responded to with a quizzical gaze followed up with more questions or commands. I have been travelling for more than four months at this stage and experience this at nearly every hostel I have been to. I have even had a guy physically try to pull me out of the top bunk of my bed in an attempt to get me to come out (I don’t know how this failed – being touched by some weird douchebag is obviously every girl’s weakness). This phenomenon always leaves me feeling a bit angry and sometimes confused depending on what the person says to me. One day I am just going to seriously answer with the classic “why are you so obsessed with me” line from Mean Girls.
Go hard or go home isn’t my style
I will preface this by saying the party scene stopped being my scene a long time ago. I started early with friends who jumped into the deep end way too early which I think is fairly common in Western societies. As the years went on, I slowly realised that I hate going to nightclubs and for me enjoying a few drinks is all about being surrounded by good company in a nice setting. I don’t mind having a few drinks with people I actually like and occasionally getting drunk but I like to limit drinking to a few times a month. Other travellers I have met go hard for several weeks or even months with rare breaks or at least have to have a few drinks every single night. A British lad I met recently bragged to me that out of 30 days he has only had 2 nights where he didn’t get completely wasted. In my last hostel, an American girl was scolded by the owner for being so drunk and ALONE, she didn’t even know how she got back home let alone remember anything. If I get to such a state or anything goes wrong I like to know I am in company that would take care of me and I would do the same for them.
On the other coin, one of my favourite travel memories is driving around the German and Austrian Alps with a good friend – we both had one or two wines, ate cheese platters, enjoyed mountain views and giggled excessively because we both were total lightweights. Even the few quiet drinks I’ve had with people I’ve really clicked with while travelling, I have so many delicious memories of that variety. I even love to try a shot of the national drink in whichever country I am in or tasting a local wine for a cultural experience. Now, I don’t actually have a problem with other people doing their own thing, as long as they respect me in doing my own thing.
I don’t personally understand drinking culture but won’t question any one’s choices
I do admittedly get confused and don’t totally understand why some people absolutely have to party every night or nearly every single night of their travels. I figure if you like partying so much you can save the money on the plane ticket and use it for your drinks and party drugs at home. Also after having some rotten day-long hangovers myself, I can’t see the appeal of wasting a whole day especially if you are only doing a short trip. I can just think of a million things I’d rather do and things I would rather spend my daily calorie allowance on. On top of this all, drinking can be a total budget killer in some countries and I’d personally rather allocate that money to other experiences. I, however, won’t pass judgement or even think of questioning someone about their drinking choices when travelling.
Running from my own culture
I have been somewhat running from the culture of my home – which is essentially to get wasted and/or get messed up on drugs at any opportunity which makes me feel like an outsider at times. I often try to avoid Australians while travelling for this reason even though they are not all like this (obviously because I am not)! In my last hostel, I was disappointed to hear that a drunken Australian guest punched one of the workers when they weren’t expecting it which led to him bleeding everywhere. I won’t even start on the topic of drinking AND violence which is a huge problem in Australia.
This drinking culture has led to me drifting from good long-term friends and in some ways even family members. As an adult, I look back in hindsight seeing that as a child I was exposed to such a poor selection of potential ‘role models’ who seemed to do nothing but drink and/or smoke excessively – there was never anything to admire or spike to my curiosity.
I have come to realise this culture seems to be insidious in a lot of cultures around the world, not even just exclusive to Western cultures. I often wonder what drives peoples decisions to drink heavily so often or if there are even thoughts behind them at all and it is just a natural process. I wonder why we get together to destroy our bodies for fun and think of the Freudian theory of death drive. I have a lot of ideas but to avoid this turning into an essay I will stop here. This post is superficial and only scratches the surface but that is merely because this topic is so complex and this is an opinion piece not a scientific journal article.
I choose to live deliberately
Since becoming focused on spending my money on experiences rather than things a few years ago, I have been trying very hard to live my life more deliberately and I feel that my defiance to this crazy drinking culture has just grown due to this. I want to spend my money and time on things that matter – not on doing things to just fit in. After turning 26, I also realised I am a big girl now and that if I am not 100% into something I can and will refuse to do it.
For the reasons above you will seldom see blog posts where I recommend places to party.
Do you have any thoughts? Are you similar to me or totally opposite? I would love to hear your thoughts on it. If you would like to read some tips on surviving hostels you can read my blog post about that here.
You do you and I’ll do me!