Home Sweet Hostel

Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in Hokkaido, Travel Volunteer Journey | 3 Comments
Home Sweet Hostel

There comes a time in every traveller’s trip when homesickness comes calling. The timing of it is often weird. We both felt terribly homesick in the Galapagos Islands once, after travelling for 11 months. Given that it’s one of the most heartbreakingly unique, unspoiled places on Earth, it shouldn’t have happened – it wasn’t like we were short of amazing distractions, or like we’d just left home.

But instead, our brains thought of people in the UK, people we’d have loved to have been there with us. How would my mum have reacted if a sea lion tickled her toes with its whiskers? What would Katy’s dad have said if he’d seen frigate birds fighting in mid-air?

Instead of standing slack-jawed in glee, we – briefly – started to feel quite glum.

So there’s times like that. And then there’s the things you miss. Stupid, meaningless things that you would place little value on at home become important. Certain foods and drinks, yes, but other stuff too, homely stuff.

Having only been travelling for a week, we haven’t really started missing anything yet (and Katy brought a jar of Marmite with her, just in case). But that hasn’t stopped us falling quickly in love with the Refore Youth Hostel. There a few reasons for it – the fact that it reminds us of our brilliant year of backpacking is definitely one – but really it’s because we’ve felt genuinely welcomed into Akira Kato’ home. He’s showed us around, he’s cooked for us (mostly using ingredients from his own garden or fish from the local market), and even though his English is, in his words “very low”, he’s tried his damnedest to talk to us. His wife even baked us a cake.

Dashing between ryokans and hotels has been great over the last week, but it’s been really nice to feel like we’re in someone’s home for the first time. None of the décor quite matches here: the place has evolved, not bought in one batch from a shop. The beds are comfortable (the fact that there are beds at all has been a nice change from the ryokan floor – we’ll explain that to non-savvy types in a future post); there’s a dog outside in the yard; Akira’s son tested his English with us; and tomorrow we’ll all have breakfast together.

There’s some bad weather scheduled to arrive tonight, but out here on Hokkaido’s Shakotan Peninsula, wrapped in duvets, knowing there’s a family nearby, we feel somehow much safer, much more snug.

It’s sounds like such simple stuff, but if you’re missing something – or someone – you’d be surprised how much it can matter.

旅を続けているとふっと淋しくなる瞬間、いわゆる“ホームシック”におそわれることがある。そしてそれは突然、予期せぬタイミングでやってくるものだ。私達は以前11ヶ月も旅を続けたある日、ガラパゴス島でその“瞬間”におそわれた。きっと地球上でもっとも自然の姿を残している場所の一つ、ガラパゴス。そのありのままの美しさを目にした時、まるで今旅に出たばかりかのような、何かが恋しくなるような感覚におそわれたのだ。もしアシカがそのひげでお母さんの足をくすぐったら? もしケイティのお父さんがカモメたちがけんかするのを目にしたら何と言うだろうか?イギリスにいる家族の事を思い浮かべてあれこれ想像するうちに急に淋しくなってしまったのだ。






  1. Neomattlac
    September 21, 2011

    That seems like quite the elaborate meal.
    Also, reading this cleared up some questions I had about hostels. ^^

  2. sports hotel florida
    October 6, 2011

    Supreme Post…Tanks 4 sharing!

  3. Tooch
    January 6, 2012

    Love the way the food is layed out in exactly the same way on each side of the table- a feast for two!