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Packedin Byron Bay

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 18 October 2008 | Views [706]

Arriving in Byron Bay was a bit like arriving at an empty resort town out of season.

Looking out of the bus windows I gazed upon strangely deserted streets and shop fronts that had my almost saying out loud “where are all the people? It was a bit like when arriving at your hotel late at night on one of those package holidays and you suddenly realise it is going to be not quite what you expected.

I was expecting a busy touristy town with people marching up and down the main street in search of their next scooner of beer. Everything that people had told me about Byron was exactly what was not in front of my eyes. “was it half day closing I could hear myself saying?” and also “I would hate to see it on a quiet night”. Had they closed Byron Bay before my arrival? had someone tipped them off about my imminent arrival and decided they couldn’t cope with my conversations about string theory or my in depth knowledge of the mating calls of the migrating desert wolf bass? (which just so happens to be my number one chat up conversation).

I hoped the hostel would make up for the seemingly lack of people on the streets and on check in I could hear the familiar sound of drinking backpackers. After staying in farms and having a quite couple of weeks in Bellingen I liked the idea of spending a few days meeting people and socialising.  One of the biggest problems with hostels is that meeting people realize on the layout and communal areas being set out in a way that would promote socialising. Unfortunately the hostel just didn’t seem to get this right at all. There was no comfortable indoors sitting relaxing area where people could sit in poor weather and chat and socialise. The kitchen was so uncomfortably cramped that it didn’t inspire you to get in there and cook, and the only area that one could sit was the outside eating and sitting area where roommates sat together on picnic style benches.

It would be interesting to hear the different experiences that different people have in hostels as unless you are sharing a room with likeminded or talkative and social people meeting people even in hostels can be difficult. Some people seem to be always in great rooms with nice people who all want to meet people. I was finding that I was seemingly getting a bit of a rough deal with the hostels I have been staying at. Every room I have stayed in so far has been sharing with quiet or solitary non talkative people. I would either be in a room on my own or I would be in with people who would get up at the crack of dawn and disappear for the whole day then be in bed asleep by nine o’clock.  I never seem to get the chance to talk with people or to go out with my room mates as a group, which other people around me were seemingly doing all the time. I can imagine those people who are travelling on their own, perhaps for the first time, would get to feel quite lonely if this kept happening to them especially if they are not used to travelling or spending any length of time on their own.

Tags: backpacking, byron bay, iainob1, packedin

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