I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much in my head, I feel I might have gone braindead.
We spent the first two days helping Geoff get the second restaurant in Stari Grad cleaned and prepped for opening day on June 1st. He would pick us up from the hostel and drive us out to another part of the island, roughly a 20 minute drive from Hvar. His van doesn’t have a radio, and often we were driving in silence. Driving around was great because we got the grand tour of the island, the mountains, the rocky sea cliffs, and of course, the strikingly turquoise blue of the Adriatic. There are some stone walls that remind me of a labyrinth left over from when the Greeks controlled the island.
The town of Hvar itself is quite resorty. Most of our guests are English speaking, predominately from Canada, but also a lot of Aussies and Kiwis. People travel in packs, and it’s interesting to view hostel life from the perspective of the staff rather than the traveler. There’s so much that goes on that you as the guest don’t even realize is happening! Of course that’s how it always is whenever you work, but still, the tasks we are expected to complete are all over the place. I was speaking to Rob last night about how I live in a student house with nine other people, I’ve worked at an amusement park, and last summer I was a stucco sales rep. He chuckled and said that’s basically working at a hostel all wrapped up, and he’s right. Sem and I do everything from cleaning, to entertaining, to cooking. One minute we’re watering plants and folding laundry, the next we’re taking people out to bars and getting them free shots. All the while trying to remember people’s names, even if they’re only staying for one night.
Another thing I noticed while out last night, was the superficiality of the whole charade (Sem also agrees with me). It reminds me of The Great Gatsby, or Mike Posner’s I Took a Pill in Ibiza. The resorty flair of the island masks the underlying avoidance of it’s temporary inhabitants. Rich people come here by the yacht load to forget their problems, students come here to celebrate the end of the school year, and many the wandering traveler are here because, in essence, they are lost. Maybe they just got tired of their 9 to 5, sold everything they own, and are now lost nomads trying to find their place in this world. Each guest has their own story, but the behavioral patterns don’t go unnoticed. Arrogance masks his uncertainty, and alcohol helps her “get real” with others. Yeah it’s cool that you have the courage to travel alone for months on end, pick up odd jobs that no one else thinks of, or that you are in the middle of a career transition which also means a lifestyle transition, but underneath all of that, who are you? And while I would love to know all of the answers, the amount of time that people are here for doesn’t give me that luxury. The chit chat is like a broken record, the stories get mixed up, and the faces tend to blur together. I don’t like that people are losing their individuality to me, that names are losing their meaning, and in general, what makes them human is slowly fading. If I can find a way to keep myself from objectifying others as just another person coming or going, rather than as a unique individual, I think my work may feel a bit more meaningful. But at the same time, it takes so much energy trying to sincerely get to know others, just to have them leave the next morning. The ratio of energy to social capital isn’t balanced. But as time goes on, I think I’ll figure out what works for me, and I might even make some new friends.
But if there’s one thing I would really like to take away from this experience, it’s versatility and adaptability. We have to go with the flow, change on the spot, and pick up the missing puzzle pieces. Part of me likes that challenge, and part of that exhausts me. But it means that not every day will be the same, and that’s always exciting. I still don’t know what else to say, because I haven’t had a moment alone to really process everything. I’m afraid that this post will reflect that as well, haha. Friends and family keep texting me, asking me how things are going, and while my wifi is hit and miss, I haven’t even had the time for myself to truly be able to express or articulate how everything is going.
And so I will leave this post exactly how I am feeling. A bit all over the place, and unfinished. Haha with a bold:
To Be Continued…