That Time I Snuck Into a Hostel with 19 Year Olds

I’ve always been known as a bit of a story-teller and travelling has certainly given me good material. I often share stories on Facebook and many people have suggested I add these stories to my blog. Therefore, I am starting a section called Tales and Fails. I will include funny stories, things I find interesting, or just my random and sometimes alcohol induced musings. This is the first installment about an amusing evening I spent in Kuala Lumpur (KL) involving being snuck into a hostel. 

That Time I…

I had met some people on a tour in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia.  One of them, a young German fellow, was going to be in KL the same time as me so we exchanged info to hang out. Upon arrival in KL, he texted me to come meet him and his two new German hostel mates for drinks.

I agreed to meet at their hostel, which was called Reggae Hostel. For the record, it is a fantastic hostel, set in a colonial style building close to Chinatown and Merdeka Square. Anyway, I sat down at the restaurant to wait for them. My friend shows up with his two new German bros and we all exchange pleasantries and ordered some food and drinks. Actually I was the only one who ordered food because they had already eaten at Burger King.

Why Do I Have to Be Older Than Everyone?

As the conversation goes on, it becomes apparent to me that these are not men in their mid-twenties, as I had assumed. Which by the way is still WAYYYY younger than me. I’m 42 33, by the way. One of them, let’s call him “A”,  pretty much just graduated from high school. I’m thinking he was 18 or 19…I didn’t want to ask. My feelings became a strange mixture of uncomfortable and amused. I could barely listen to A talk as I thought: “I wonder how old they think I am”, “God I hope they don’t ask”, and “I wonder if I’m older than his mother”.

But since I’m drunk cool AF and very used to hanging with younger people I just drank and went with the flow. At one point I asked if we were going out and they said yes, but first we would have some drinks in the room. They had purchased rum and coke at the 7/11 (man that place is everywhere, huh?) and generously were going to share with me. The catch was that the hostel had a no guest policy and I had to be “snuck” up to their 16 bed mixed dorm.

Who Am I?

Once again I thought “WTF am I doing…hanging with 19 year olds and sneaking into hostel rooms?  How old am I ? Who am I?”  But vacation Cherene just goes with the flow.  The next thing I knew A is saying “Stay on my right side and walk fast” as we slip through the guest entrance. I have to admit I got a childish thrill out of all the sneakiness.

As we drank rum and cokes, we had a nice convo. Others in the room joined in including a hilarious Irish guy (is there any other type?) and a nice Dutch girl. Her first words to me were “Make America Great Again.” Oh the shame of traveling while ‘Merican.   I loosened up and seriously forgot how much older I was until Irish guy mentioned how old he was at 25. I almost choked on my mostly cheap rum concoction in the coke bottle.

We ended back at the hostel roof top bar sharing some huge bucket of alcohol with three straws.  It was just myself and the two Germans, the one I had met prior,  and A. We had the best conversation, ranging from travelling, world politics and the refugee crisis in Germany. I was astounded at how worldly, educated and astute these guys were. I honestly can’t even have conversations like that with 50-year-old doctors I work with.

Does There Have to Be a Lesson?

The lesson here is definitely not to assume anything about someone because of their age. I would hate if anyone assumed I was a normal 42-year-old! The horror! Oh and if you ever have the chance to be snuck into a hostel, do it! Why the hell not? Well, unless it’s a crime in whatever country you’re in. I guess I should pay more attention to such things!

About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. Serena | 26th Mar 17

    First off, this Reggae place sounds rad – I certainly have never seen anything that cool during all my trips to KL! Also I love your use of the strikeout, so classic. I do the same. I can’t wait to read more of your tales Cherene! PS: you look muuuuuch younger than 42 🙂

    • csaradar | 27th Mar 17

      I was wishing I had stayed there myself! The dorm room had capsule style beds and they were big with nice lockers under each.

  2. Meg | 25th Mar 17

    Brilliant story! I feel like nights like these are such an essential part of the travel experience; sparking up conversations with almost-strangers and enjoying their company. A sense of fun, spontenaity and friendliness is all you need to get chatting to people of all ages and all walks of life and it sounds like you have these qualities in bucket fulls! Gutted I missed Reggae Mansion in KL, it sounds like the place to be!

    • csaradar | 25th Mar 17

      you are so right. You will just have to go back to KL! I would totally stay there also!

  3. Lorena | 25th Mar 17

    Totally funny. You certainly have a zest for enjoying life, including the unexpected.

    • csaradar | 25th Mar 17

      Haha I do try!

  4. Mandi Kapp | 25th Mar 17

    ? I love vacation Cherene, and you definitely look much younger than your age

    • csaradar | 25th Mar 17

      Haha and you know vacation Cherene well!

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