Hostel Interviews

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Merlin Sazon

  1. Current Age?

  2. Nationality

  3. Where do you live now?
    San Diego, USA

  4. Occupation
    Artist/Photographer/Massage Therapist

  5. When it comes to travel accommodation (but leaving out crashing with friends, family or people you meet on the road), how often do you stay in hostels?
    pretty much all the time

  6. Where have you hosteled?
    Asia, Central America, Mexico New Zealand, Pacific Islands, South America, USA

  7. Would you stay in a hostel again on future trips?

  8. Why or why not?
    It fits my budget, I prefer the more realistic and down-to-earth atmosphere of hostels vs. the isolated, encapsulated atmosphere of hotels or resorts. The people I've met were friendlier and more open.

  9. Out of all your experiences hosteling, what was your:
    • Best Moment
      Meeting a Canadian from Quebec at the Banana Bungalow in Maui.

    • Worst Moment
      Opening a shared toilet facility with flooded crap all over the floor (ugh!!!)

    • Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
      Not much... getting there, maybe.

    • Biggest surprise?
      How spontaneous I became... I was so much more real because I no longer carried all my labels and internal baggage with me.

  10. Do you ever book any of your hostel accommodation in advance?

  11. Why or why not?
    On the first night of my arrival in a foreign country, I like to have peace of mind knowing that I have a place to go, and sometimes even a pickup from the airport. It's safer... and easier, considering jet lag and not wanting to hostel-hunt immediately after a long flight.

  12. Who is the most memorable person you met in a hostel and why?
    Martine Charpentier, from Quebec, Canada. We immediately had an emotional connection and easy rapport. We shared Chinese birth years and were focused on self-discovery.

  13. Why do you stay in hostels, as opposed to other types of accommodation?
    Cheaper, interesting people from all countries, all ages, feeling of community and sharing more evident than large hotels. People share experiences easier and are open to friendship.

  14. Is there a hostel you'd recommend to other travelers? If so, what is it and where?
    Banana Bungalow, Maui, USA

  15. What is the biggest myth people have about hostels and hosteling?
    That it's mainly for young people who are party animals and maybe into stealing your stuff, too.

  16. Why do you like to travel?
    Self-discovery, to be able to be more of who I am, for hands-on learning experiences, meeting people of other cultures, for the excitement of being in a new place, which makes it easier to be in the moment.

  17. What is your advice for other travelers wanting to stay in hostels?
    Be flexible, rid yourself of expectations, be open and friendly, yet focused and aware (safety FIRST AND FOREMOST). Most people are good travelers, but there's always one sour apple in the bunch. Watch out for this one. Have fun, but stay grounded and centered.