11 January 2010


About 7 years ago, I traveled from my friend's wedding in Sweden down to Barcelona. I couldn't find my hostel (the Internet was still lacking some information, and I didn't write down the directions well), but I had remembered reading about one near Las Ramblas that was supposed to be fun.

The name? Kabul Hostel.

Most young backpackers who have Barca on their itinerary know of the Kabul. I didn't know it at the time, but it is constantly named as one of Europe's most known party hostels. After being there, I can see why!

My being there definitely brought the average up. There were 19 year olds, kids that were 21, and a few of us that were, ummm...a little older than that. Almost every morning I awoke to new roommates, often times, all guys. Can't say this place was clean, or particularly safe, but it was fun.

Such was the atmosphere when I met a few groups of American boys. "Tall" Tim and Karon from Atlanta, James & John from Washington D.C., and the California boys, Justin, Shelby & Tim. We met in the common room at the Kabul, at a point where I hadn't heard an American accent for some time. The 8 of us ended up spending most of our time together for the next few days, until the Atlanta & Cali boys had to head elsewhere (and they all crammed into an itty bitty car -- 5 grown men -- and all their luggage, which was like 8+ bags). The D.C. boys and I tried to find a way to follow them, but it never worked out.

Over the years, I have stayed in contact with a few of them. This was pre-Facebook, so it wasn't like you could just add them and follow their lives; it required a little bit more effort. It wasn't surprising when emails trailed off...one of the D.C. boys, John, has been traveling pretty consistently over the years, and is good about updating everyone, but last I actually saw him was probably 5 years ago.

Flash forward to 2010. I'm being a bum, that's what New Year's Day is for, right?, and generally not motivated to move. At all. John sends me a text to come meet him out -- he was in SF for a few days. And, he was with Justin, who I hadn't seen since we dropped him off at the teeny car in Barcelona. How could I say no to that?

It took all my effort -- seriously, I am not exaggerating here -- to head out to the bar, about 15 blocks away. Walking in, though, it was all worth it. There was a little bit of catching up, but soon there was the reminiscing, trying to recall our best stories from Barca, or those that still riled us up a little (me: when the boys called me "mom" because I was so much older then all of them...grrr). We laughed about ever going back to the Kabul -- I would not, the boys were both game. And got to meet their girlfriends and some of the other friends they had with them, which was also fun, to see kind of how they'd "grown up" (they were somewhere between the ages of 20-22 when I met them).

And, the best part, to me anyway, was that it didn't feel like that much time had passed, and it was fun.

The difference in travel now and then is striking...back then, which wasn't so long ago in the grand scheme of things, but is eons in the Internet-age, chances were you wouldn't see the people you met traveling unless you really tried. You may email, but that would inevitably falter off after some time. People move, email addresses change...so to me it is pretty awesome that this group still has a web of connectivity.

1 comment:

Pernilla said...

We do know the importance of the web to keep in touch. For sure. :)