Living in an Abandoned Backpacker Hostel

Following on from my post about living a nomadic lifestyle I thought I would write about one of my recent living situations. Travellers all have their own way of doing things and for me it really comes down to working hard and giving up the luxuries in life (unless any of my relatives would like to become involved in a unique business opportunity?). This weeks post is about my experience of living in an abandoned backpackers.

dsc_7689From the fallen down signs about cheap drinks and live entertainment to the quiet communal bathrooms, living in an abandoned backpacker hostel was quite sad at times. It’s one of several failed enterprises in the town, as more flights go direct to Uluru it eliminates the need for tourists to pass through Alice Springs.



The rooms are modest although do provide a split system and fan as well as a locking front door. During the summer the porch becomes your living room and we would sit and eat dinner and watch movies on our laptops outside. There’s something nice about this simple living arrangement, it means you have to cut back on possessions to save space which is a liberating feeling.


Holding down a corporate job in the desert while living in the hostel felt strange at times. There was nowhere to iron my clothes and anything that I washed seemed to come out dirtier than when it went in. I left the hostel in the morning wearing tailored trousers and shirts while others wore tradie clothing and steel toe caps.


Evenings were spent sitting on the porch with the yard dogs or relaxing by the fire with our ‘hostel-mates’. Heidi the Pit Bull cross Rhodesian crafted a special bond with us, she had been abused previously and after a few weeks we had won her over. Living at the hostel was a great way to make friends in such a transient town. You end up meeting the most interesting people, the kind of people I yearn to meet, the free, the open minded and the kind-hearted.


Weekends were spent exploring instead of sitting at home, without a luxurious apartment you feel the need to get out and see something different. Our favourite things to do were to go four wheel driving and camping, each trip felt like a mini adventure and an inexpensive one at that!


In the end we saved a large amount of money and had a really cool experience, this then funded our next set of travels. I learnt that I don’t need a lot to make me happy or to live a relatively normal life. In fact my year spent living in the desert taught me a lot in general but I would say the most valuable lesson was from Heidi the desert dog and that was to learn how to trust again even when it seems impossible.

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