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I am about conclude an 11 month European tour. During this time I've stayed in many hostels. Without fail, there's something wrong with the American young people when they check in (as well as Canadian). This is no longer a speculative observation, but it's quite objective because their behavior often annoys or makes other guests uncomfortable.
In essence, every single fellow American I've met on my travels (with the exception of one or two cool people I've met -- that's it) has been unable to socialize normally by comparison to anyone else, from any other country.
With the Americans, the situation almost immediately devolves into insecurity. They start worrying about showing off, who's the most "cool" in the group, trying too hard, faking behaviors, etc. This is never a problem with anyone else of any other nationality who can integrate effortlessly and be relaxed around people.
- In a hostel, an American girl kept mentioning that she's vegan. "I sure don't miss cheese, it's a good thing I'm vegan now". It was obvious an attempt to pry for approval. She was quite attractive and this annoying behavior was odd--why would she need more approval?
- In the same hostel, another American girl kept insisting to the guy who worked front-desk that she'd go and buy him a hamburger. "That's okay," he said. Then she insisted more, until he was like "Umm, okay". She returned later with a hamburger. He ate it and seemed to enjoy it, but there was awkwardness you could cut with a knife.
- An American guy I met was super paranoid when I tried to socialize with him. As is the usual case, when he found out I wasn't judging him, he started clinging on to me like I was his best friend.
- At my latest hostel in Greece, a self-described fashion model checked in. She was attractive physically indeed, but super f***ing awkward. She had a very overweight friend who it seemed like she was clearly keeping around so she could make herself feel a bit superior. She would talk in the lobby for *hours* about topics that made me cringe every 5 minutes. Such as making fun of ex-boyfriends penis sizes. When she checked out, the hostel breathed a collective sigh of relief.
- In this same hostel, there's another very "attractive" blonde model / sorority girl type from Boston. She's just staying here by herself for like 3 weeks because she's trying to make a documentary about the immigrant crisis. That's cool, right? Well everyone she talks to, she sizes up based on artificial criteria of worth. She immediately decides if you're worthy of her company or not, and will shrug past you if you're below the salt. She shows zero emotions and I am convinced she's a sociopath. She also regularly bashes men and cites feminist bullshit.
- Various other Americans I've met this year share similar traits, or are simply terrified to socialize with anyone. Especially the guys may retreat to corners, find their groups, and huddle away like scared woodland animals, while the women are often unnecessarily forceful, always over-compensating for something and getting in your face.
"Americans are so annoying" one hostel worker told me once. Yep.
I don't stay in hostels often, but I usually just end up ignoring all the foreigners and doing whatever I want to do. If I wanted to meet white people, I'd stay in the U.S. Most male travelers seem all right, though. It's usually the females (obviously) who are the biggest problems. There's often a white girl around to ruin things where foreigners stay/work.
Coming back to Tucson, Cyrus? Would be happy to compare notes, as I'm stuck here for the time being. Like you, I've also spent several months in Prague.
Don't you have a blog about your travels?
Yup I'm back in Tucson at the end of next month, and my site is Cyruskirkpatrick.com
[quote="Cyrus"]Yup I'm back in Tucson at the end of next month, and my site is Cyruskirkpatrick.com[/quote
Are you an American youth?
Looking to head to Europe soon- what's the deal with hostels? I'm looking to know the general "ins & outs" before I head off with what will probably not be a lot of money. Some specific questions would be:
(1) How much do they cost?
(2) What's the payment methods? Cash okay? Is there an issue with using cash (like you're more likely to get robbed/pick-pocketed)?
(3) What's the ID situation? Do you need permits? Do you give them your passport/ID? I remember seeing that in movies, but it always seemed like a bad idea.
(4) What kinds of things do you need? I remember hearing about ear plugs & your own towels being big, as well as toilet paper or tissues.
(5) What's the bathroom situation? Is there usually a place close by if the toilet gets clogged or something?
(6) Do they try to do bag checks & such? I remember it being said that sleeping bags were usually not allowed (bizarre, considering that they're a good idea when you're unsure of the sheets & want to be able to reliably get sleep indoors or outdoors). How would they know?
(7) What's the story on bedding? Anything that you should bring with you, just to be sure?
Also, how does it go with legalities? If someone's smoking weed, do they call the cops & round up everyone? I don't imagine it's like America where they call the cops on everyone for the slightest bit of illicit or left-of-normal behavior, but what's the standard with all that?
I wonder how much it would cost to go to Europe for a several month vacation? I'm just curious about the expensiveness of visiting Europe for an extended period of time.
Depends on where you go. It wouldn't cost much at all in the Balkans. Not too expensive in, say, Poland and the Czech Republic. Definitely more costly in western Europe.
Cyrus, the OP, has good information about keeping costs down on his website.
Save your money as long as you need to, until you have $6000. Keep $3000 in the bank as an emergency fund. The other $3000 goes towards helping you get set up in an EFL job in Ukraine, Russia, or where-ever (or even in China, near the Russian border like we discussed before.) Refuse to quit until after six months at least, but try to make it through one year. If you can, you've got your foothold to some extent in the region. A vacation is pointless because you'll constantly be losing money while staying and living life on the outside as a tourist. Do a one year experiment to truly know.
In Europe Whites act like a-holes. Same in Latin America. On the other hand, Whites that I've met in China have been pretty cool. Why is that?
Is it that Whites in those other countries are trying too hard to impress other Whites in Europe and Latin America, whereas in Asia, acting like a*hole is kind of looked down on by the local populace. Is that why?
It is because it takes a certain type of guy to actually get off their ass and get out. And the brighest of them, you will find, won't be searching for fellow expats to hang out with; they will instead be drawn towards the local populace, befriend local people and try to blend in. Plenty of them went abroad not just because of opportunity, but also because they want to avoid their countrymen.
Their new life is abroad, so why try to impress the people from the place you left behind?
You might add to your list the behavior of Australians, especially females in Asia. Everybody who has anything to do with them somewhere between Japan and Thailand will tell you that...
Damn I would never stay in a hostel. I'm not sure I'd judge America or any other country based off of what I saw in one either.
The only thing that makes them worth it is their low cost. That anti-social coldness is bad in hostels where lots of foreigners stay. At least in hotels you don't have to interact with them, although for the most part it seems like white people tend to ignore each other abroad.
Maybe in Europe, but not in Latin America. I'm not picky at all, but I require my own room with a bathroom. If it's clean I'm good. And as far as I'm concerned that is just traveling 101 if you want to retain your sanity.