So it has been about two years since I have left the comforts of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; deciding to travel the world searching for daring exploits, dangerous travels, and dazzling adventures. Did I find what I was looking for, life, love, and those in need? In part yes. My travels took me far and wide; from Athens, Georgia to Athens Greece, from a revolution in Kyiv to Karnival in Cologne, to Seoul and back. And yet it was still too soon to come home. So I have decided to settle down in the great, but still far from illustrious city, of Budapest. At the time I made a promise to keep a blog; and as an early new year’s resolution, I have decided to get back to my promise. So without further ado, my new and unadulterated blog…
The Suite Life Budapest
This blog will be dedicated to life here at Suite Hostel. It will tell the everyday story of the stresses + strains, comical and crazy nights out, and the riveting and random situations that all come from living life full time in a hostel. The stories will come from the misadventures of the hostel staff, guests, and permanent residences. Each blog post will try to incorporate a theme from the central story, and discuss questions that arise from these situations.
Since so much has happened over the past year I wasn’t quite sure where to start? Where would be fair? Why tell this story but leave out this one? There have been too many to tell, a reason I put off the blog for such a long time. In all fairness, I’m sure the more compelling stories will eventually come out; but for right now I thought the best idea, as well as the first theme, would be…RECAP!!!
Ok, so I actually despise recapping, but it’s the only way. I already know I will out some stuff, and I will feel like shit for it. So I won’t tell about my travels. That was for my first blog, Where in the World?! All I will say is I traveled for six and a half months and then found myself coming home for my best friend’s wedding. Why? Eh, I figured he was my best friend and I owed it to him. In reality, I should have skipped it, not the best wedding I have ever went to. Not even close, really. I had to pay for my hotel room, there was no free alcohol, and the ceremony lasted twenty minutes with some h’orderves afterwards. However, it’s those little decisions in life that seem to have the greatest impact. I mean is an $850 USD plane flight really a small decision? That is a question for another day. Yet, I bought the ticket and returned to the greatest country in the world for one month. In all fairness it was a great month; lots of parties and catching up with friends. But nothing seemed to change. It was like coming home to the exact same time I left six months ago. I was glad I was going back. Did it help Sziget was awaiting for me when I did…oh yes! My first music festival and the real reason I had to buy a round trip to Europe. I already bought the ticket before my friend’s wedding date was set (he proposed to her while I was in Europe).
And this has been one of the biggest impacts in my life. If I didn’t go home I would have continued to travel Europe, touring Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal before heading back to Budapest. Then I would have continued onto Asia and met my friends in Vietnam and Thailand, and then onto Oz where I can get a visa. Possibly work for a year and then make my way back up from South America, and home to the greatest country in all of the world. However, I didn’t have time to travel those countries, and I didn’t want to come all the way back to Europe just to leave right away for Asia. So I tried to figure out a plan. After Sziget I decided to stay another couple days in Budapest, until could figure out what to do. I was trying to look for work via workaway, I spent so much money the first time through I wanted to do it a cheaper way now. I searched, Croatia, Germany, France, Spain; but I finally got a response from a one Arwin Snay. Owner of Suite Hostel on 14 vernes palne Utca.
I remember the first time I went there. I thought it was a located in a cool place. It was my first time that far south in the city. I ate some cheap and possibly rotten Chinese food at the place right next door. Then I proceeded upstairs. I had no idea what was in store for me. Would I have turned around if I did…not a chance in hell!
I only planned to work there for a week or two, but the next thing I knew it was October and the hostel was shutting down for the winter (his lease was up and the owner didn’t want it to be a hostel anymore, so he had to move out). Cam and I took apart the beds and helped pack everything up. We were the last work for bedders at the old place. It was a crazy couple of months, and I loved it. The highlights were; crazy French boys, cool Belgium people, pretty Canadians, awesome Americans, insane Polish, meeting new Hungarian friends, a pretty German girl, spa parties, Szimpla and Instant, tossing eggs out a window, a four story ice bucket challenge, and a realization that I was destined for this…hospitality industry. Well that and cleaning toilets. As much as I hated it as a child, it turned out my mother prepared me well for life. On the last day I told Arwin I wanted to open up my own hostel. He said he wanted to expand. With a night at red ruin, and endless supply of beer, the foundation a new (hopefully improved) Suite Hostel was formed.
The next day I left Budapest, and started another round of traveling. It was a pretty crazy and hectic trip. I finally visited, for the first time in my life, in the only city I originally had on my Europe trip list, Paris. Everyone says Paris is overrated. It is expensive, crowded, the people are rude, blah, blah, blah. I found none of it. To date, Paris is my favorite place in the whole world. I absolutely loved it. I won’t ramble on about why, but it was one of the best weeks of my life. I was a kid in Disney World. Merci Beaucoup, France!
I eventually ended up in London, to meet my friend Australian Steve, and pick up my guitar. We celebrated Halloween, playing three man with some German girls, then I moved on to stay and work at a hostel in Rotterdam, Netherlands. I wanted to stay in Europe until heading back to Budapest, and hostel work was now the only life for me.
I cannot say how lucky I was to come and land at Hostel Room! From the people, to Lexi (the dog), to the city, to the fact that there are 35e flights back to Budapest- I could not have gotten luckier. I had a great couple of months; becoming part of a family, even if I was more like a crazy Uncle Freddy. The whole experience was topped off with an excellent Christmas. There were 14 of us (we realized at like 4AM that we were also 11 different nationalities) where we cooked all day, drank all night, and just had a wild time. The main course wasn’t served until 2AM! It was a nice ending for all of us who were seemingly lost, but found a wonderful home away from homes. The next night we went to another dinner party which also boasted excellent food, and then went to a club that had free alcohol all night. Dangerous, what do you think? I remember going up and getting the first drink for free, I was like sweet, first drink is on the house. When my friend and I went back for the second time and it was still free, I knew we were in trouble (I had flashbacks to a senior class trip in Florida-well, flash stories from what my class mates told me). When we left it was snowing and I proceeded to run around the city making snow angels.
When it came time for me to head back to the states, I was thankful to not have to say goodbyes; just an, until the next time. I had a new home to visit for Kings Day, Christmas, or whenever I was feeling homesick. I was going back home to the greatest country in the solar system to finally pack a legitimate suitcase of cloths and necessities (Yes, Ice skates were included). As much fun as it was living out of a backpack over the past year, I was ready to have more than five T-shirts, two pairs of pants, and at least double the 14 pairs of sox and underpants I traveled with. It was also a time to say goodbye. I had made my decision, and Europe is the place for me. I fit in better. People actually thought I was funny (including a group of 17 year old Belgian girls- they always knew when I was being sarcastic! Only my sister got that back home!). People didn’t think I was crazy for quitting a respectable job because I didn’t like it. And people respected me for following my dreams and travelling the world. Anywho, I packed my bags, partied away our goodbyes, and then headed back for the next chapter in my life…
I came back in February to Budapest, spending some more time in the Netherlands and Germany before officially heading back. It is now almost Christmas and there has almost been a year of craziness under our belt. So to continue with the theme, how about another quick recap:
1). Renovations- horrible experience, took so much longer and dealing with Hungarian contractors was not as fun as dealing with…well all contractors suck
2). First guest- first 5e we made, he wrote us a nice note- Thank you Justin!
3). Opening weekend May 2nd- Crazy party of course, we were full up with guests and friends. Arwin cooked a great pulled pork. Floyd Mayweather dominated. I stayed up almost 36 hours straight cleaning the hostel, checking in and out guests, and then going out at night.
4). First Workawayers- Tadhg was our first, then came Bruno, Mauricio, Jess, Christina, Yohanna. It was nice to start to make a suite family. We had good times on the party boats, or just leading out guests. My friend EZ, joined us for July. The first person to visit me, yea!
5). Mongolian BBQ- An all you can eat experience for 16e that includes five hours of all you can eat and drink. We went three times, and it is crazy every time. The third time in November, I finally broke my streak of never have I ever thrown up in pest.
6). The cranky old man- to be fair he is a 60 year old man who still lives with his mother, is a janitor, and grew up in communist Hungary. Clearly he hasn’t won the game of life. But he is still a cranky old fucker that complains for everything we do, and got the district government called on us this summer.
7). Sziget- I only went to Sziget for three days this year. Quote this girl- ‘Oh really, I went for the whole week, and it was SUCH an AMAZING experience.’ Oh yea bitch, well Ryan and I swam…enough said
8). Balaton sound- we followed sziget up with another festival in Balaton, and it was just as crazy
9). Gellert Hill- I finally got to see an actual sunrise from Gellert hill, it was absolutely stunning and I was with the best company.
10). Starting our own religion- It’s something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. Well, we finally did it. More on this to come
11). Travels 1- Got to take a company trip to drop off fliers. Six Days: Bratislava, Bruno, Prague, and Munich for Octoberfest. Should out to Alexa and Andi who made that awesome!
12).Travels 2- Going to the Balkan’s Best Hostel meeting in Ohrid, Macedonia. Then we went through Bulgaria and Romania. Was an excellent two weeks seeing some great sites and getting better ideas for our hostel.
13). Derek’s Birthday and Halloween- Had a couple of great parties in a row when my friend came to visit and subsequently stay in Budapest!! It was a great night with some great people to be followed up by…
14). Thanksgiving- My second thanksgiving away from home, but this one was served with some great food. Another great party, and left overs for at least a week! Did I eat them? Almost every single plate that was left out…Did I get food poisoning? It was the most painful my stomach has ever felt, and unfortunately I still haven’t learned my lesson.
15). Ice Skating- Europe’s largest outdoor rink. It’s fun, a great view, and in general just my favorite thing to do
Well that pretty much just brings us up to date! Numerous stories were left out, but again, I’m sure the better ones will come out with time… or this winter when we have no FREAKING guests! It has been a fun year and I am looking forward to documenting it all in this blog. As always,