“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all flights to Logan Airport in Boston have been grounded for an undetermined amount of time.” With that, the captain’s voice disappeared from the PA. A symphony of groans filled the cabin as the passengers unfastened their seatbelts, the clicking staggered.
Great. Stuck in D.C. — again.
The last time this happened, I was moving back to California. After much packing and rushing and traffic and taxi fare, I missed my outgoing flight by a millisecond. During my last visit to the city, my flight was cancelled due to abnormal winter weather.
This third time was not the fortuitous charm I would have expected it to be. They moved my flight to Dulles, an airport built so far out in the boonies that even some taxi drivers won’t bother with passengers going there because the fare isn’t worth their gas or time. Sigh. It’s like a hidden force reels me back on an invisible leash as if to say, “Ohhh, no, you don’t!”
My poor suitcase was returned to me, and we both sulked back to the train without a solid Plan B. Then it dawned on me.
Remembering that I had yet to stay in a hostel in this city, I leapt onto the first train I could to Hostelling International’s location in D.C. off of 11th and K St. NW. I had such a good time staying at NY Loft Hostel in Brooklyn, NY, that I knew I had to keep exploring them. Upon check-in, I was rewarded with the warm welcome that this city rarely gives (if you’ve been to D.C., you’ll agree). Friendly faces, mixed company from all over the world, (shared) amenities at my disposal, free wireless internet, group activities, and walking distance to anything I would need.
My bottom-bunk mate is a girl from Hong Kong here visiting the city. A few beds to the left, I heard German being spoken. Outside in the hallway, a couple was getting ready for an evening out. In the stairwell, a group of Japanese tourists stood chatting. It was like being in the dorms again, except better.
Now, I’m sitting on the second floor of the hostel, which – even at 2am EST – is filled with wide-eyed travelers filling their appetites for adventure with late-night snacks to tame their impulses until tomorrow comes around and the day is new.
Opportunity is a sheep that often presents itself in wolves’ clothing. Next time I encounter a flight-gone-wrong, I’ll keep in mind that comfort is not too far away.
There’s no place like hostel.