I don't believe in a supernatural god. But if there was one, hostels would be churches.
These are humble places; places of openness and serendipity. Great things happen in between the lines of life, and hostel life fills those lines like nothing else.
These are truly god's children. Young, vibrant and curious, they turn away from home comforts to learn and explore; to grow. Are they perfect? No. But choosing to travel free-form demonstrates an open spirit that places them in good staid for the rest of their lives.
Everything is shared. Showers are ugly, functional and clean. Beds, packed in tightly, are just cosy enough. Radio waves connect everyone to the outside world through spotty wi-fi. How shiny do these things need to be? Most important is the courtyard, where our supplicants swap stories, give advice and argue about pronunciation. Time passes through noisy exchanges in a humble environment.
Children of the West and wealthy East are afforded amazing privileges just for being born in the right country. Forget buying a ticket, nationality is humanity's great economic lottery. As much I feel the act of travel itself can be an indulgence, it is difficult to criticise those of privilege leveraging it for personal growth and enlightenment.
And so it is, a place where every day is Sunday. Where the devout cram in and connect to their congregation; where experience and transcendence matters above all. Today it is my turn to leave the church, but this service has strengthened my faith.