Guys, I can’t make this up…This actually happened. I’m going to write it in play format for theatrical effect because, why not?
Hostel Nightmare: A Play by Alex Porterfield
Based on a True Story
Alex Porterfield: 22. A bright-eyed college student on spring break traveling solo through Europe.
Front Desk Girl: Mid-to-late 20s. German. Works the front desk of the hostel.Very accommodating.
Roommate: Early 20s. This girl knows how to have a good time.
Berlin, Germany. A sunny and beautiful Saturday morning.
Act 1. Scene 1.
ALEX has successfully navigated her way from the airport to city center via bus without any problems. She feels fantastic. Like wow, she’s really doing it. This savvy New Yorker is a pro at public transportation.
ALEX is running on two hours of sleep so she pops into a fabulous little cafe for coffee and granola cereal. She is thriving. Exhausted as she is, she is so happy to finally be experiencing her first solo trip abroad. Maybe she takes a few quick artsy window pics for Instagram. She enjoys her breakfast and looks at the beautiful city outside. She takes it all in, she is present.
Time to check in to her hostel! ALEX is a little nervous about meeting her roommate. Hopefully she’s cool! ALEX would love to make a new friend. She is always excited to meet new people.
Act 1. Scene 2.
St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel.
At the check in desk.
ALEX: (approaching the desk staff with an excited smile) Hi, I’m here to check in. Last name Porterfield. First name Alexandra.
FRONT DESK GIRL: (in an adorable but thick German accent) Hallo. Yes, your roommate is here now, too. We went in to double check room before you check in and she had boy in there. He is not allowed to be in there since female dorm only so hopefully he leave now. We told him to leave.
ALEX: (raising both eyebrows. Confused) ……uh…. Okay. I mean, as long as he’s gone at night?? So I can sleep?
GIRL: No, we take you up and show you around and make sure he’s gone.
ALEX: Oh, okay. Thank you so much.
FRONT DESK GIRL shows ALEX around the hostel. They make it to the dorm room. It is so beautifully quaint. Big bright open windows looking out onto the courtyard. A clean white bathroom with all the amenities a group of girls could need. An open kitchen area with bar top table and appliances. This is definitely the nicest hostel ALEX has stayed at. She’s excited.
The two finally enter the 2 bed female dorm that ALEX will be sharing. The room is trashed and the curtains are pulled shut to block out the 2pm sunlight. The ROOMMATE is passed out in bed and seems to be fast asleep.
FRONT DESK GIRL exhales a very loud breath (like those exhales you make when you’re thinking “Are you kidding me”) and walks right on over to the window to whip open the curtains. The room becomes flooded with light, which allows ALEX to finally survey the room.
The following is ALEX’s internal monologue. In production, maybe it’s a voice over we hear as ALEX walks through the space #FANCY. Maybe ALEX is actually saying these things out loud. For now, they are just the thoughts she is having:
ALEX: Oh my God…. Wow… This.. This is nasty. Oh my God, is that…. Are those hair extensions? (ROOMMATE’s hair extensions are hanging off of her dirty feet that are hanging off the edge of the bed.) Oh God. Wow. She is really knocked out. Oooo, maybe she’s doing that thing where you pretend you’re sleeping because you don’t want to engage in awkward hello’s. I feel that. I’m okay with that. (Meanwhile, FRONT DESK GIRL picks up all of the ROOMMATE’s cigarettes that are littered across the windowsill. They are ironically sitting right in front of the ‘No Smoking’ sticker on the window. FRONT DESK GIRL also picks up a half empty bottle of vodka and confiscates it. ALEX feels extremely awkward. She’s still surveying the room wondering how the hell she is going to live with this girl for the next three nights. She is trying to stay positive. FRONT DESK GIRL exits.) Okay. Yeah… I can do this. I am going to do this. I am in beautiful Berlin, by myself, I can do this. She’s probably really nice….Is she even alive? She is like, passed the f**k out right now. (ALEX tip toes quietly toward the ROOMMATE’S bunk to see if she is alive…She is breathing.) Okay. Good. She’s alive. (Something catches ALEX’S eye) Oh.. My…. God…. Is that…. No…. No that’s not… are those…… vomit stains?? What the.. OH MY GODDD those are VOMIT STAINS on her F**KING PILLOW… NOPE… NOOOOOPE.. AbsoLUTEly not….VOMIT. ON HER PILLOW. SHE IS LAYING IN HER VOMIT.
ALEX quietly grabs her bags and tip toes out of the room, never to see her ROOMMATE again.
I know what you’re thinking: I should basically be a playwright because that was some captivating theatrical shit you just experienced, right?
Real talk, though. It was definitely not what I was expecting to happen, like, at all. I was very uncomfortable with the situation and knew in my gut that I wouldn’t feel comfortable staying in that room for the next four nights. After tip toeing out of the room, I went right back down to the front desk and politely asked if there was anything else available for the remainder of my stay or even just that night. I explained to them what I was feeling and they were so SO accommodating. (They even mentioned that they had been having troubles with this girl for the past couple of nights and that she lost her purse at the bar the previous night…They were thinking of asking her to leave their hostel. Yikes!) Anyways, they set me up in a private two bed room all to my self, and it was absolutely fabulous.
Lessons Learned Today
Shit happens. You just gotta roll with it.
ALWAYS speak up. You are the only who can fight for yourself when traveling solo (and just generally in life), so don’t stay in an uncomfortable situation just because you’re too afraid to say something about it.
You’ll never know unless you try!
Have you experienced any hostel nightmares yourself? Share below in the comment section!