When your traveling the world, especially by yourself like me, the hostels that you stay at often play a major role in the experience you have in each city. Some are simply nothing more than a place to lay your head, while others have built a sense of community around them with group activities, pools, bars, lounges, games, movie nights, group dinners, etc.
After 2 months of being on the road and probably 30 different hostels, Utopia Hostel in Sihanoukville, Cambodia might take the cake for best sense of community so far. Maybe it was just the hostel but maybe it was really the people, either way something magical happened there. At first I passed through Sihanoukville and just viewed it as a portal to get to the islands of Cambodia, but with a second pass through and a stop at Utopia, my view was changed. And while I had SOO many bad things happen to me while I was there, this amazing group of people (sadly SO many not pictured! 😔) helped me non stop along the way. Cleaning up my cuts for me, lending me money without having to worry about getting it back, buying me clothes and other gifts just because, and literally risking their own lives to save mine when being attacked, oh and of course the countless free drinks and food from our amazing "bar staff" ;) Did I mention I never even had to pay to stay there? Like what?! Our timing was impeccable with so many of us just coincidentally showing up to Utopia around the same day and the sense of sadness that was present in the air on the days we all left, was a clear sign that I will most certainly be meeting back up with some of these people again later in life.
With that being said, I would also like to ask all my traveling/traveled friends, what are some other places that you have stayed at that hopefully match this vibe? I refuse to settle for places that are just "a place to lay your head" when there is so much more to be offered out there... Oh yeah, and the fact that America has no sense of a backpackers scene and hostels to stay at, is complete bullshit.