If you want your mommy, if you can’t sleep anywhere but in your own bed without your blankie or teddy bear – independent travel is not for you. Entirely understandable why one wouldn’t want to give it all up creature comforts. However, those brave ones that do, gain an exciting and colorful world in exchange – the realm of hostel hopping.

Traveling, hostel hopping is inevitable. New place every day, new sights, new people. Those least picky of all will have the best time. There is a certain plus, largely for those who love surprises in life, in waking up in a different place every other day or so. One hostel can be as different from another as the Amazonian rain forest from the Sahara desert. Though bunk-beds are common in most hostels, in some you might find ten three-tier bunks in a large room, while in another there will not be beds at all, but hammocks.

Prepare yourself to every imaginable texture. Walls in hostels, provided it has walls at all, are often not only partitions, but the centerpieces of the place’s décor. Brick and bamboo are only few of the possible materials. Personally, my favorite ones were not even walled at all but more like curtains. Cheap large mattresses were laid on the rough wooden floor and semi-transparent fabrics hung from a high ceiling, making flexible cubes around every mattress. A light breeze from fans bent and twisted the flimsy dividers making the quarters a suitable dreamland.

Every hostel has one key room that it cannot do without — a fully equipped kitchen. Traveling can get lonely, and finding a whole room of friendly faces that are just as lost as you are in the unfamiliar place calms the nerves and warms the heart. Friends are made in a heartbeat — one moment you are about to dine alone, and the next you mix your pasta shells with somebody’s angel-hair spaghetti, combine yours and theirs cans of tuna, tomato sauce, and anything else left unmarked in the common fridge, and feed whoever peeks into the kitchen.

I will not be the first one to say that even if you travel solo, you never travel alone, but only with friends you haven’t met yet. My hostel, your hostel, is where you meet them.