Hello hostel friends! By the time you are reading this (man did that sound like a depressing start!) I will be somewhere on an island, hopefully in the warm sunshine, and positively not on a computer. To celebrate my upcoming digital detox, I thought I’d write a post to remind each of you, why it’s important to do the same.
This was intended to be a fun piece, and hopefully it is! Yet I also couldn’t help but notice that each section somewhat resembled one of the 5 stages of grief. Even my intro sounded like a wounded lover leaving town. YIKES. Is it really that bad?! I would say no, but perhaps without taking proper breaks, it could turn that way. Not a risk I’m willing to take, so while you’re reading this, I’m probably scuba diving with some exotic fish or meditating* on the beach.
*Sunglasses are hiding my eyes, which are likely wandering as much as my thoughts towards the shirtless hottie that just walked by. Whatever, I hear it takes practice.
#5. Be on the other side again.
Taking a break to travel is a great way to ‘be one among the people’, if you will. You get important reminders like how life without privacy is, or how to navigate your way home in a less than sober state in the wee hours of the morning. Or perhaps like a few guests, trying to combine those two.
You can try to perfect other aspects of guest life as well. For instance, working on the best way to roll your eyes when you hear for the 100th time at check in about washing your dishes. You’re clearly such an avid traveler, who would dare think that you’d leave a drunken, pizza sauce-encrusted plate in the sink for someone else to wash??
Yes, we can be in denial, insisting that we’ve risen in the ranks, but we are travelers at heart. That’s how we began. And (at least sometimes) that’s how we should remain.
From some of the hostel owner/manager crew in Dublin.
Besides, being on the other end may help us come up with new perspectives and ideas. I may be a backpacker, but I also think the swim up bar is the greatest invention this side of the milky way. If your hostel has this, call me. Now.
#4. To realize that the hostel will not, in fact, fall apart without you.
“Universe, if I could just get away for like, 20 minutes, without someone asking me a question, I’ll offer up a damn sacrificial lamb. (Or a soy, vegan alternative if you’re into that kinda thing). Just please let me have a break!” Ahh, the bargaining stage.
Ok, maybe that was a slight exaggeration. It’s probably 30 minutes, not 20. But you know what I’m talking about. You get to that point where you are overwhelmed with the amount there is to do, and think there’s no way you can get it all done. You try to delegate, but that also takes follow through, and you start to think that if you leave, it will all go to shit.
But as my dad always said, the sun will still rise tomorrow. No, you are not a greek god or Dumbledore. You can’t do it all, or make it all happen. The good news is, you don’t need to!
You may be the glue that holds the magic together, but if you have done your job correctly- putting systems in place that work and people in roles that you trust- you should be able to sneak away as if you never left (kind of).
When I first started, I would work nearly every single day. To be fair, I may still work nearly every single day, but I’m getting better. Now I’m an onsite workaholic by choice, not fear. Taking days off allowed me to realize that with proper procedures in place, I could even escape long weekends. Bring on the weddings and open bars!
As long as it isn’t mine- always great when a professional photographer catches you running away, beer in hand, from a bouquet toss....
#3. To not burn out and hate your life.
I came close to this one a few weeks ago. I took on way too many big projects, had far too few hours of sleep, and generally just hit a wall. I had lost my work/life balance, the work I was doing wasn’t efficient, and overall it wasn’t pretty. I had definitely reached the anger phase (as I’m sure my live in staff could tell you. Oops.)
A day after I found out I’d be taking this sweet trip, my boss called me over google hangouts for a quick meeting. As soon as his video appeared, I heard him bust out laughing and say ‘Man, you DO need a vacation! Listen to that music!’. I forgot my other laptop was on, and the song ‘I don’t care!’ was blasting from the speakers. Awesome.
It’s always a process, but I’m a bit more back on track now. Like many people, I know it’s important to take breaks from hostel life to rejuvenate. For some, it’s practicing yoga or meditation, focusing on pushing thoughts out and breath cycles. These days when I escape, it’s usually to surf. I guess you could say it’s almost the same. Waiting for the perfect wave can be very calming, and there’s nothing like an 8 foot wall of water breaking on your very newbie surfer head to make you forget about anything except, ya know, breathing again.
I’m not good enough yet to have some sweet GoPro shot of me killin it. I do, however, offer up these kinda cool, kinda awkward tan lines I’ve acquired due to northern California being as cold as your ex’s heart. I hope I am successfully getting rid of these as we speak.
#2. To gain some perspective on what it is you really want.
I say this one prematurely. Really, it’s something I’m hoping for. I have been so wrapped up in the current hostel I run that I haven’t given much (or enough) serious thought to my own future project. I hadn’t really noticed, but then I hit the depression stage a couple of weeks ago. First, three separate instances happened in one week confirming that my previous leg work had came to a screeching halt nearly a year ago. Where had the time gone? On top of that, I reluctantly determined that the location I had picked out was not suitable to my needs.
So not only did I feel back at square one, I wondered where I would find the time to move forward again. As I mentioned above, I do take breaks. However, making time to focus on my future hostel has proven more difficult.
If my mind is in ‘hostel mode’, I can’t help but think of the 17 things I could be doing off my current to do list. I feel like I’m cheating or procrastinating by looking at a different project in the same area. Or sometimes I’m just mentally tired of work related material. Though my intuition says ‘Free time, make it happen!’, by that point my brain couldn't care less about my dream. But a beer and a 3 hour nap? Sounds pretty solid.
If there’s one thing I’ve found in common with the numerous hostel owners I’ve met, it’s that they are all highly capable, driven individuals. Few seem satisfied with just kicking back after the work is done (ha). Whether it’s opening their 2nd hostel, forming a hostel association, or trying out another type of business altogether, the drive to continue creating lingers. I can imagine that many also fall into the dilemma above.
While I don’t want this time away to be spent thinking much about work-related things, I do look forward to the uninterrupted time to think about what I really want and what I’m willing to give up or do to make it happen.
#1. Um, because it’s freakin’ fun?
Why should the guests and staff get all the good times?? I’m not even going to elaborate on this one because, really, who needs an excuse to enjoy life? Just accept that your inbox will still be full when you’re dead. Your flask shouldn’t be. Live it up!
This was one of the coolest gifts a guest has ever given me!
I hope you enjoyed that read as much as I enjoy my much needed holiday. See you next month!
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