I’m not sure when I first realised that I’m not a party girl. Maybe it was my first Australian music festival where I fell asleep before 12 on New Years Eve. Or when I preferred to FaceTime my grandma and have an early night in Goa rather than visiting the psy-trance clubs. Maybe it was when I stayed in bed reading about renaissance art rather than venture into the wild nightlife of Split, Croatia.
It’s not that I’m a self-righteous puritan. I just don’t especially like being drunk. I don’t like loud doof-doof music. To be honest, I just find the whole thing a bit boring and uncomfortable. Clubs are too loud to talk have interesting conversations. Not to mention having to deal with the creepy party boys trying get all up in my business.
I like a wine and movie with a friend. I like having a beer at a family barbecue. I even like an occasional whiskey at a hipster bar or jazz club. But take me to a proper club and I’ll be running home faster than you can sing ‘She’s a piss-pot through and through!’
This can be tough when you’re travelling, especially through ‘party destinations.’ Or worse, you’ve accidentally checked yourself in to the dreaded party hostel.
When you find yourself in a party hostel, you immediately recognise the mistake you’ve made. The smell of stale beer and sickly assorted shots is in the air. There are people crashed in their dorm beds sleeping at 12pm, still in their flashy dresses from last night. And to top it all the off, the shower drain is clogged with some inebriate’s vomit… and the putrid smell will not be going anywhere soon.
Despite my best efforts to avoid any hostel that mentions ‘pub crawl’ or ‘party until dawn’ or ‘drinking games’ in it’s property description, sometimes, whether out of stinginess or ignorance, I end up in these places.
The worst part about these kind of places isn’t even the smell or noise. The worst part is that people can be so judgemental if your not into the drinking. What a party pooper! Doesn’t she know how to have fun? She’s such a boring person. C’mon Ellen, are you really going to miss out on all the good times tonight?
YES, I KNOW I am a quiet, boring, introverted grandma. Now you go have your version of fun and let me be myself without judgement.
Little do they know, I’ve been wandering through art galleries and exploring markets. I’ve kayaked through underwater ruins and swam with turtles in turquoise waters. I’ve been busy having the kind of adventures that I personally enjoy. Now it’s 10pm and I’m ready to wind down and enjoy another of my favourite activities: sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging you for your partying. We all come to particular places looking for different things at different times of our lives. Good on you for travelling and having a good time!
But please, party-goers, refrain from judging us moderate-drinkers (or non-drinkers). There are so many reasons that people choose not to drink from religion to health to personal preference. It’s not really your business or your role to try and change our drinking habits. We all have different travel-styles and different ideas as to what constitutes a good time.
Some things to remember if you’re not a party girl:
- Although it can suck when everyone else seems to be out getting drunk, it can mean you have the hostel to yourself in the evening, which can be super nice for some introvert time.
- You can still enjoy yourself without drinking. I love to dance, so take me to an Indian wedding where we can all have a big dance party without a drop of sinful alcohol, or a concert with a good band.
- Don’t feel like you need to apologise for your choices. You don’t exist for other people’s entertainment.
- All the money you’re saving by not spending on alcohol can go to an extra piece of pizza or the scuba diving that’s slightly over-budget.
Ways to be social and meet people without alcohol:
- Go to local restaurants with shared tables. Ask other people what they ordered or ask locals to help translate the menu.
- Talk to people in the hostel… but be genuinely curious about their lives and ask interesting questions. (We all get bored of ‘Hey where you from? Where you been? Where you going? etc.’)
- Go on group excursions or do group activities.
- Talk to strangers. It might sound intimidating, but it’s worth it. You don’t have to randomly approach groups of people on the street but maybe you’re bored waiting in a queue and you overhear the older couple in front of you talking about that book you read and loved. Don’t be afraid to join their conversation. Most people will be happy to include you, especially if you’re a solo traveller.
Lastly, don’t forget that you’re still a fun, special and interesting person, no matter what other people say. You do you, and make sure to be super loud getting ready at 7:30am when the judgers and haters are most hangover. (No don’t really do this because that would be mean, but feel free to gloat a little bit about your clear head and refreshing sleep).
How do you feel about drinking and partying while travelling?
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