Are Dorm Rooms Intimidating?
When I left home in January this year, I was a little daunted at the thought of spending most of my 5 month trip in dorm rooms. Actually, I was more than a bit daunted, I was flat out intimidated. I felt like a backpacker fraud with no clue what I was doing. I mean… do I lock ALL my stuff, or just the valuable stuff? Do I have my bed-light on or off when I get up to go to the bathroom in the night? Will I be about 15 years older than everyone else and feel like an old lady? And the questions kept coming.
To be honest, my first night in a dorm (which I tried to make a small step by choosing a 4 bed female dorm) was a bit of a non-event, since there was only one other girl who arrived very late. So that was that. I had survived my first night.
It’s not that I haven’t stayed in a dorm rooms before, but it’s been a seriously long time… longer than I care to admit. Most of my recent trips have been with a travel buddy and we have just got private rooms, and my recent solo trip to Hawaii was a trial of Airbnb. So this was different.
But after meeting my room mates on the first couple of nights, and meeting plenty of other people in the hostel over the first few days, my nerves started to settle down. There’s so many different types of people in dorm rooms, all ages, all backgrounds, some solo travelling, some with friends or groups.
The only thing that was still scaring me was the mixed dorm idea. All the people I was meeting were in mixed dorms and didn’t seemed phased at all. Okay, I had to give this a try. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks in when I stayed at Songs of Travel in Inle Lake, Myanmar, that I basically had to do the mixed dorm (since that’s all there was).
And from then on, I’ve just picked whichever dorm room was available, mixed or female. The benefits have been amazing. Apart from saving money, I’ve met some amazing people and joined up to travel together. I’ve also got better at sleeping through noise (not that there’s been a lot), but that has helped with being able to sleep on buses etc.
So, I sat on my bed (or in my pod to be more accurate) in my mixed dorm and wrote this for any people out there who are feeling how I felt a month ago. Quite frankly, I don’t know what I was scared of. I am now a dorm convert, and will definitely be continuing to travel this way from here on in. I guess from time to time, it will be nice to have a private room and just spread out and sleep naked. But really, who has time for that when there’s so much to see and do at the places we visit.