There’s nothing worse than a newbie walking through the hostel room door, backpacked up to the eye balls, and having to make small talk.
The usual culprits:
- What’s your name? (Usually forgotten in a three second time frame.)
- Where are you from? (Hint: it’s probably Germany.)
- Where have you just come from? (More than likely Perth.)
- Where have you been before Australia? (The answer will probably be SE Asia like the rest of us.)
- How long are you staying?
- Where are you going next?
- What do you do for a living/what did you study at university?
- Are you going out tonight? (Of course they are, backpackers are serious alcoholics.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people but when you find yourself asking the same questions and getting the same answers on a day to day basis it all just gets a bit boring.
You spend the best part of hostel life asking fellow travellers questions that you really don’t care much for the answers, only for them to check out 2 days later never to be seen again. You wonder why you even bothered to learn their name.
Whilst we’re on with names, I am absolutely shocking at learning names. I’ve been here (Dingo Moon Lodge) over 4 weeks and there’s still some of the long-termers who I speak to on a daily basis that I cannot for the life of me, remember their name.
It doesn’t help that most people here are European so I can’t even pronounce half of their names let alone store them in my pea-sized brain.
So in an attempt to try and spice up the ‘getting to know someone’ process I’ve come up with a few suggestions for alternative questions.
- Have you ever killed anyone? (If answered yes, alert reception that you would like an immediate check out.)
- How many grapes can you fit in your mouth? (Assure that grapes are readily available.)
- If you could be an animal for the day what would you be and why?
- What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done?
- Would you rather eat shit flavoured chocolate or chocolate flavoured shit?
- What’s your kareoke song? (If they say they don’t do kareoke, abort.)
- Do you snore like a pregnant elephant? (If yes, explain they have the wrong dorm room.)
- Are you sure you haven’t killed anyone? (You’ve got to be sure, you’re sharing a bunk bed for God’s sake.)
So you might come across weird and if they’ve got absolutely zero patter they may even not talk to you ever again, that’s a bonus. You then won’t have to waste valuable minutes asking more mundane questions about their personal life and what they want to be when they grow up. If however they answer each question whole heartedly and within seconds the grapes are out, you know that you’re on to a winner and that you’re going to be the best of friends.
Kerry and I bonded with one of our new room mates over Iraq Lobster yesterday. He had been in our room for a few days and we had had the original small talk and left it at that. It wasn’t until last night when things got a bit weird dancing to Iraq Lobster that we truly made a connection. Now we’re BFFs (best friends forever).
The morale of the story is- Channel your inner weirdo. This is when you will meet the best people/ make the best memories. I will never forget the night I danced on a table to Iraq Lobster with a Geordie, an Irishman and a Dutch guy named Ludo that we decided to nickname Noo-Noo (from the Teletubies). Being normal is so mainstream in any case. If all else fails, play a game of ‘Never Have I Ever’- that will soon gage the type of animals you’re dealing with.
Boring people- get the fuck out of my way and go and watch paint dry or something.