Attachment: Working in a Hostel

graffiti in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

"Just don't get attached, okay?" he says and the frustration hits me instantly.

Attached? ATTACHED? He's concerned about ME getting attached to HIM?

I'll give him some credit: he may just be the most attractive man I have ever met.  A Justin Trudeau look-a-like but with a stronger jaw, if you can believe.  He had the perfect personality to match the face with a soft voice, strong arms, and a kind demeanor.  I could get attached to him if given the chance, but of course, I wouldn't give myself that chance.  If anything, he started to show signs of getting attached to me. Bringing me chocolate bars from the shop, paying for lunch, letting me keep his t-shirt.  I don't think he realized that this wasn't my first rodeo.

I take a slow breath so he can't see how angry his assumption makes me, as if it's inevitable that I'd develop a crush on him.  "I work in a hostel and have traveled to 20 countries alone.  I know how to not get attached." 

Working in a hostel is great.  I get to connect with so many people since being social with guests is an unspoken part of the job description.  I meet people I would be close friends with if we lived in the same town and guys I'd like to date if the circumstances were right.  But you never live in the same town as the person you can talk with for hours and the circumstances are never right. If I got attached to every nice and decently looking man that walked through those hostel doors, I'd be in deep trouble.

Working in a hostel (the same one I volunteered in for five weeks last summer...I really need to tell y'all that story) has taught me a lot about attachment and letting go. But it hasn't taught me what I was trying to insinuate to the assuming Canadian above.

I was trying to act nonchalant.  As if people walk out the front door, onwards to their next destination and I never give them a second thought.  I wanted him to think I was cold-hearted, the type of person that doesn't get hurt or miss people or care about much of anything. I wanted him to think I was a "cool girl", the type who doesn't fall hard and fast and often.

But that's not me at all.  I get attached all the time, to everyone and anything.  And even though I was trying to get him to believe a false version of me, he was also completely missing the point. Getting attached is the whole point of travel. 

Travel is pointless if you don't get attached, if you don't fall in love.  I get attached to cities, towns, hostels, people, bookstores.  Attached to the view of a city at sunset.  Attached to hostel cats and dogs.  I get attached to mountains, keep returning to them somehow, even though walking uphill is a bitch.

I understood what the attractive Canadian meant and why he felt the need to say it. He was a bit older and gorgeous and I'm sure he's used to girls falling in love with him all the time, but he needn't worry about me. 

The only part of him I'm attached to is the memory of the week he stayed at the hostel, of how he was only meant to stay two nights but kept extending because he also fell in love with the same mountains. 

I 100% recommend attaching yourself to everyone and everything.  Your life will be so much fuller because of it.

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