Did you know that first hostel in history was founded by Richard Shirrmann at Atlena Castle in Germany in 1912?
Richard was a teacher in Atlena in 1903. He noticed that young people were deprived of cheap accomodation when he spent the night in village school buildings or a barn on a school trip. He ‘served in a regiment holding a position on the Bernhardstein, one of the mountains of the Vosges - separated from the
French troops by a narrow no-man’s-land. Military discipline was soon restored, but Schirrmann pondered over the incident, wondering whether "thoughtful young people of all countries could be provided with suitable meeting places where they could get to know each other".’
Thus, he drove himself to take action for those thoughts and ideas in 1909. What a nice guy, and also smart, yes for sure! He was lucky that he received support both financially and psychologically.
Even though he experienced terrible results of war, he did not lose his positive way of thinking. You can see his way of thinking regarding a Western Front Christmas Truce in December 1915 as below：
"When the Christmas bells sounded in the villages of the Vosges behind the lines .. something fantastically unmilitary occurred. German and French troops spontaneously made peace and ceased hostilities; they visited each other through disused trench tunnels, and exchanged wine, cognac and cigarettes for Westphalian black bread, biscuits and ham. This suited them so well that they remained good friends even after Christmas was over.’’
As the result of this story, the hostel ‘Atlena Castle Hostel’ was created as the first youth hostel, so the word ‘hostel’ actually means a place to stay for young people with a low-budget in a dormitory; sharing a bathroom, lounge and sometimes kitchen which provides a highly sociable environment.
Sharing is a keyword when staying in a hostel is considered. You live together like in a family, sharing common spaces like the dorm, lounge, and bathroom and enjoying the same place together.
It is highly recommended because you have many opportunities to get to know different characters, to hear interesting stories, and to learn many things that contribute to your personal development.
It is understandable that some people prefer private rooms rather than dorms, but think about it; If you have a big opportunity to meet with people from different cultures, learn many things about either your interested areas or new things about life, what will you do?
Some can say that private rooms give them a chance to choose suitable times for them to be sociable so they can close or open their doors to the world based on their moods. Yes, sure, but it is up to that person.
In everytime and everywhere you are able to choose to be alone or with people. It is not about staying in a dorm or private room actually. By super-classic idiom, you can also be alone although you already blend into the crowd. But classics reflect truth.
It is all about perceptions coming from your background, culture, memories and thoughts. Thus, privacy and society are only concepts and they change according to your way of thinking and how you interpret it.
In the Eastern traditional way of thinking, old people say that loneliness only belongs to divinity; we, human beings, need each other. Yes, we need each other because union is strength.
We need love and to share because we are all the same and can learn many good lessons from each other for this life. Consequently, to stay in a hostel provides actually an incredible advantage to open ourselves and share our things because we are, indeed, historical living beings and need to know each other’s experiences.
You can be sure that you will hear many inspiring and amazing stories that can show you another path in this life. It is a win-win situation that everybody can enjoy.
Written by guest writer Ferhan Kunduracıoğlu
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