“Aren’t you too old to be doing all this stuff?” was one of the last things my father said to me before I set off on my two-month jaunt. It grated. But if I’m honest, it grated because I was a little nervous. Hostels with shared dorms. How was that going to be? Would the twenty-somethings look at me oddly. Would it be all-night parties in the dorms? At 46 am I too old for this stuff?
It is true that most hostels are full of fresh-faced enthusiastic young things. But there are also older people taking career breaks or long holidays. They are usually found sipping coffee in the common room tapping notes into iPads.
I booked a mixture of shared twin rooms and dorms, as well as the odd single room where the contents of my rucksack would explode within three minutes of checking in. Kaboom! Sandals washed and hanging in the bathroom, piles of warm clean clothes, dirty clothes, semi-dirty (it will go again) clothes, shoes, snacks and toiletries strewn across the room.
It is nice to have the luxury of space but for a lone explorer, hostels are definitely the way forward. They are a great way to meet and talk to other travellers. You compare notes and get tips for the next part of your journey. You can go out for the day or sip beer in rooftop bars with your ‘roomies’. Thanks Olivia!
Back Home in Kuala Lumpur is a particularly friendly hostel. Staff are really helpful and give advice on how to get around. They run trips directly from the hostel or the notice boards have suggestions for day trips. There is a movie room, several relaxing zones, a drying room for laundry (if you didn’t want to pay the £2 to have someone return it to you all nice and clean).
In contrast, hotel rooms can be pretty lonely and speaking to people in hotel lobbies just feels weird.
Yes, you need to be mindful and considerate of other people. Control that rucksack explosion. But overall the benefits of doing the ‘hostel thing’ far outweigh the luxury of being able to walk around in just your pants.
So, dad. No, I am not too old to do all this stuff. Going back to hostels has been such a liberating experience – I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of travelling on their own – whatever their age!
Back Home is close to the city centre near Masjid Jamek station (and the oldest mosque in KL of the same name)
Cost: 70 Malaysian Ringits (£14pn)