The brave are not the fearless; the brave are those who feel the fear but do what is needed to pursue their dreams regardless.
I know it is probably considered a silly thing to be anxious about for many, but for me it was real and I am pleased to say now I have faced it, beaten it back and hostels are no longer the mysterious domain of the brave traveller to me but mearly just places people stay.
It really helped that after arriving and collecting some brochures a lovely cancer nurse said hello and we ended up having a long and deep conversation about medicine, travelling and life in general. I have taken every opportunity on this trip to connect with people, whoever they are and wherever they are from. If we cross paths and you don't look overly stabby then I am interested in what you have to say. ;) In a hostel I thought many people would be chatty, I didn't always find this was the case and I have since been told by hostel owners that technology has really reduced the social interaction within hostels these days.
I am really greatful therefore to this nurse lady whose name I have unfortunately forgotten; for making me feel better on my first evening, for all her stories of travels and of patients she knew and lost, for her earnestness and vulnerability as she spoke about nursing the terminally ill and the effect it had had on her, tears welling up in her eyes. Our paths didn't cross again after that evening but she left a strong impression on me of what it looks like to endeavour to live a full life after seeing so many lives tragically and painfully cut short.
I didn't sleep well any night in that hostel. I am sure I snored and irritated the other people in my room. I was tidy and clean however, and that was definitely not the case for many others; Damp clothes and the stink of the unwashed traveller and tired sweaty feet was enough to make the eyes water. I took my turn at the sink and waited patiently for the shower with the others hurrying to make excursions so I feel like all in all I have done the hostel thing now.
Fear number x conquered. :)