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Hostel Life During and After a Pandemic
04th May 2020
Who would have thought that I'd be sitting at the reception desk of my empty hostel writing this, when my normal May mornings would have consisted of chatting to my guests, in a full house, over a morning coffee and a map?
That these are hard times, we know. That the world of travel and hostels in on hold, we know. But this is a pause, nothing else.
I won't take this time to philosophise about whether this virus was needed to reboot the world or not; nor will i give out advice on how to come out of this a better person. What would I know? But what I will do is try to give some reassurance on the measures we are taking both during and post covid.
Let's start with the 'during' covid period. The hostel is currently almost empty, save for the couple of guests and volunteers who are staying because they simply can't fly out. Dormitories are limited to only 2 people, and in general, because the hostel is so big, people are managing to distance themselves from one another perfectly well.
There is hot water and soap in every bathroom, along with signs that remind us to wash our hands. Though this has always been the case, even pre-covid.
We have big, and i mean big, hand sanitizers in the common areas, which are alcohol based, and used regularly by guests. Staff are available 24/7 for absolutely anything. We are still carrying out daily deep cleaning, and we are still using only the products that actually work, like bleach.
Overall, the atmosphere is not one of doom, but of good community spirit. People are still cooking, sitting in a hammock reading their books, or enjoying solitary early morning Yoga sessions in the garden. So other than the capacity of the hostel being extremely low, it's life as usual.
Post-Covid? What's the future of hostels?
Well, I'm not entirely sure. Part of me worries that travellers will be weary of sharing a dorm with strangers, resorting to booking airbnb apartments for their future trips instead. But the other part of me is sure that once some semblance of 'normalcy' resumes, the backpacker spirit will come back massively, and travellers will long for nothing more than to choose hostels not only because they're budget-friendly, but mostly because they're hugely sociable.
The above measures will still be in place: Overall good, thorough cleaning will still be carried out daily, and the sanitizers won't be put away in boxes. But I'm sure this is obvious.
So here's to hoping this will end, and that it will end soon. It's nothing more than a pause, for us to work on ourselves, to plan our next dream trip, and to come out of this strange journey kinder.
Here's to hostels & their unwavering spirit! May they long-live, even through times when sharing isn't any longer the trend.
Stay safe, stay strong .