There's a lot to be said for staying in hostels, the main benefits being the price and the chance to meet people, and given the choice, particularly travelling alone, I would always choose a dorm over a private room.
However, that said, it is an undeniably weird experience. Sharing your room with several other people you've never met before, it is unusually intimate for first encounters.
And for me, I think the weirdest thing about hostel life is saying goodnight to strangers.
I'll set the scene. I'm sitting in my bed, top bunk, a guy enters, he's the bottom bunk to my top, we talk a bit, do the usual introductory questions, where you from, where you going, whats your name etc. etc. It's a bit awkward, he's standing up and I tower above him, very aware of the fact I'm in my pyjamas.
Then he says he's going to sleep. I say me too. He asks if he can turn off the light. I say yeah sure. He turns it off and gets into bed. I start thinking should I say goodnight, or is that weird? Or Is it weird not to say goodnight? Ah I don't know, and now I'm overthinking it, ahhhhhh
So I say goodnight, he chuckles and says goodnight, phew! Disaster averted.
But then, about ten minutes later, he sneezes
So automatically I say bless you
But I'm stilling feeling kind of awkward so I sort if whisper it ...
And now I've made it weird, I lie there cringing in the darkness, although what this poor guy is thinking I don't know....
eventually blessed sleep arrives and relieves me from my embarrassment