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The lost boys of England’s youth hostels Romantic young men now find themselves homeless

The Männerbünde are as undomesticated as ever (Raymond Gehman/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Männerbünde are as undomesticated as ever (Raymond Gehman/Corbis via Getty Images)


August 3, 2023   7 mins

The year before Tony Blair’s first victory, I cycled from Whitehaven to Newcastle on the C2C route. My companion was Bill, a 16-year-old from Sunderland, whom I met at a Youth Hostelling Association mountain-biking weekend and who was off to join the Army after the summer. We’d pedal all day and stay in youth hostels at night: spartan bunk-bed accommodation, but welcome after a day in the saddle.

Do teenagers still cycle cross-country in the summer holidays for fun? My hunch is that it’s probably less common than in the Nineties. Even before the pandemic, the WHO was warning that more than 80% of adolescents are not active enough, a sedentary state that hasn’t improved since lockdown. Now, combined with inflation and cuts biting into family trips and school outings, such waning youth outdoorsiness is rewriting Britain’s leisure landscape: according to reports, around a third of YHA hostels are to be sold off.

This isn’t the first round of such closures. Hostels have come and gone, with numbers declining for over 70 years. But even if this isn’t the first time the YHA has adjusted its hostel offering, the prospective loss of as many as a third of the remaining establishments feels like part of my youth disappearing.

The no-frills hostel vibe was an integral part of growing up for me, from windswept, blister-inducing school hikes along Hadrian’s Wall to my cycling venture with Bill. The hostels’ utilitarian, classless atmosphere felt deeply, pleasingly English in a distinctively post-war way: one nation under tinned food and changeable weather, enjoying a damp-but-cheery commonality that (outside farming communities) is only really accessible in modern Britain via hiking or cycling.

And yet, the roots of hostelling as an English phenomenon are unexpectedly shallow. Youth hostels are in fact an inter-war German import: the first British hostel was founded in 1930, at Pennant Hall in north Wales, inspired by a network already well-established across Europe.

Its origins lie in late 19th-century Germany. In 1896, in Stieglitz, a suburb of Berlin, groups of young men began taking long hikes together in the countryside. Sleeping in barns and cooking their own food, they viewed these excursions as a means of escaping Germany’s staid culture and increasingly urbanised environment. Inspired by German Romanticism, they rejected modernity, militarism and Victorian cultural influence in favour of a more intense and harmonious connection with one another and the natural world, and older and more authentic cultural traditions.

By 1901 this had coalesced into a movement, founded by the charismatic Karl Fischer. The groups called themselves Wandervögel, or “migrant birds”, drawing inspiration from poetry, Teutonic myth and the idealised life of itinerant medieval scholars, and swiftly became the dominant strand in the early 20th-century German Youth Movement.

The very first youth hostel was envisaged as a response to the Wandervögel. In 1909, teacher Richard Schirrmann published plans for an inexpensive hostel for young hikers, opening the first such establishment at Altena Castle in Nordrhein-Westphalia three years later. The movement swiftly grew, and by the time war broke out there were, according to Schirrmann’s biographer, 535 hostels across Germany.

Meanwhile, as the Wandervögel grew, the movement began to fracture, with more conventional groups diverging from a rebellious, masculinist Romantic hardcore. Fischer’s anti-modernist ideas sat ill with groups who just enjoyed hiking, and these splintered off in 1904, leaving Fischer’s Alt-Wandervögel behind. Then, in 1906, Fischer was forced out of even this group in a leadership struggle, by the charismatic intellectual and activist Willie Jansen: a man controversial at the time for his advocacy of “the Hellenic side of things”, which is to say sexual relations between older and younger men.

In Jansen’s view, a key aspect of the Wandervögel was the scope to form intense masculine friendships within a Männerbund — that is, a band of masculine men. As documented by Hans Blüher, the first Wandervögel historian, in a scandalous 1910 book titled The German Wandervögel Movement as Erotic Phenomenon, Jansen saw such relationships as crucial to masculine formation and endeavour.

A man of ferociously antisemitic views and, like Jansen, unconventional sexual proclivities, Blüher argued that Wandervögel friendships in all-male groups should be understood as erotic, albeit in an unconsummated way. Blüher rejoiced in the restoration of “ancient gymnastics”, complaining that “the most natural form of gymnastics” had been “erased by Christian culture” and should be restored, along with “the open nobleness of nudity”.

The friendships formed in such groups were, Jansen and Blüher argued, superior to relationships with the opposite sex. Men should channel their masculine, creative energy in richer and more fruitful ways than just pulling girls, by seeking out and intensifying cooperation within a Männerbund. “Where does the vitality that is capable of giving rise to such a movement of masculine youth come from,” Jansen asked, “if not from men who, instead of loving a wife or becoming the father of a family, loved young men and founded Männerbünde?”

But rumours about Jansen’s relations with younger men saw him driven from his leadership post in 1910. By then, across the movement as a whole, fierce debates raged between chapters about whether to include girls or “non-German” members, whether to permit alcohol and tobacco, or whether to embrace other popular lifestyle reform issues of the time, such as vegetarianism. After the Great War ended, returning Wandervögel — now military veterans — brought back a battle-seasoned, patriotic masculinism to the now largely mixed-sex hiking culture, and in response the Alt-Wandervögel expelled women and girls into a parallel organisation.

Meanwhile, even as the Männerbund subculture hardened into something altogether fiercer, Robert Schirrmann was hard at work on a parallel effort to domesticate Germany’s youthful upswelling of outdoor vitalism and Teutonic myth-making. While deployed near Vosges, separated from the French only by a narrow No-Man’s Land, Schirrmann had witnessed the Christmas truce of 1915, where French and German combatants laid down their arms and exchanged gifts. The event left a deep impression, inspiring a dream of hostelling as a vector for peace. According to his biographer, Schirrmann wanted to create places where “thoughtful young people of all countries” could “get to know each other”, hopefully helping to forestall future conflict.

Between the wars, Schirrmann’s hostels rapidly spread across Europe, but they took some time to find a receptive audience in Britain. When Schirrmann wrote to the Anglo-German Academic Board in 1928, to enquire whether a European party of schoolchildren would find hostels in England, the Board replied: “It is not customary for young people to go on tours… English young people normally go out into the country in groups and stay at one fixed point in a camp, using their own or hired tents.”

But in 1930, a group of English young people returned from touring hostels in Germany determined to replicate them in Britain. Pennant Hall was opened and, by the end of 1931, there were 75 hostels, charging a shilling a night (about £3 in today’s money). They swiftly became popular and, in 1932, the YHA was granted royal approval.

Over the same period, the Wandervögel fragmented further, taking on wildly divergent political colouration from proto-hippies to proto-fascists and, in some impoverished cases after the Great Depression, outlaws and vagabonds. Many were eventually absorbed into the Hitler Youth, as were Schirrmann’s youth hostels from 1936 to 1945. But other Wandervögel groups held out, with some even going underground.

And Schirrmann never abandoned his vision. After the war, he was the first German civilian to enter the British Isles, when a friend flew him to a hostelling conference in Scotland by private plane in 1946. Peak youth-hostelling came not long after, in tandem with peak post-war collectivism. The YHA reached an all-time high of 303 hostels in 1950, and even published its own songbook in 1952. “Many a common room sing-song has been marred because few of the hostellers know more than the first verses of the songs,” explained the introduction, “and all too frequently the item that begins as a rousing chorus ends as a faltering solo.” Speaking to a level of common heritage that’s unimaginable now, the book included only lyrics and no sheet music, as it assumed someone would be bound to know the tune.

A great deal has changed since then. If hostelling represented a strain of Romantic wanderlust for Germany, English hostels were powered by an egalitarian post-war desire to make the nation’s most beautiful places accessible to all. And, for a while, it worked. In the normal course of my average Home Counties adolescence, without hostels, I’d never have met, let alone spent five days travelling with, a working-class teenage guy from the industrial North-East.

We weren’t dating, and he never hit on me. We enjoyed one another’s company for a five-day ride, and then, when our tour ended, he and I parted ways in Newcastle as companionably as we’d started. I never saw him again. If he did join the Army, I hope he survived Iraq. But I also wonder whether, in 2023, when young men of Bill’s background are routinely treated as deplorable from an early age, how many lads like him would contemplate undertaking a platonic five-day bike tour with a female near-stranger.

In any case, I suspect that many more of today’s Bills are indoors, perhaps playing Call of Duty or posting behind an anonymous avatar. As for more physical pursuits, should some charismatic modern-day figure ever advocate a programme at all resembling Jansen and Blücher’s Hellenistic and virulently antisemitic masculinist agenda, its adherents probably wouldn’t travel with a female companion. Regardless, it seems implausible somehow that the activity of choice for any resulting Männerbunde would be touring national parks with the YHA.

Meanwhile, the movement that sought to direct pre-war Germany’s youthful, roving, energy to internationalist ends — the youth hostels themselves — continues to falter, in Britain at least. According to John Harris in The Guardian, YHA “insiders” report that Brexit has also hit hostelling, as many European school parties have stopped coming. Less materially, too, Brexit was a symbolic defeat for Schirrmann-style internationalism, and there’s little certainty even now as to what political order will follow it in the British Isles.

And there is little more certainty as to the future of British youth hostels. In a curious echo of Jansen and Blüher’s subculture, Pennant Hall ended up as a specialist hotel and bathhouse for gay and bisexual men, before being redeveloped as luxury flats in 2019. Some variant of the same fate perhaps awaits the YHA’s unwanted properties, should they fail to find a buyer willing to run them as they are.

Apart from one noted blip between 1933 and 1945, a century of efforts by Schirrmann and others to institutionalise and internationalise the roving, Romantic, masculinist impulse proved fairly effective overall. Today, though, the Männerbünde are ever less well-served by such respectable, egalitarian, and now-fading institutions as the YHA. Indeed, in all but the internet’s less-trodden wildernesses they are now largely homeless. But marginalisation never prevented such fraternities from forming before. I suspect we’ll see the outlawed Männerbünde at large again, and as undomesticated as ever.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago

My family and I stay in YHA’s a few times a year. Except for the foreign school groups, the other guests are much like us: middle class, middle aged or older, decked out by Decathlon, many other weekend and midweek get aways booked, and checked in to a 3-6 person YHA room with close friends or family or just themselves. The YHA is now just one of many choices we have for our weekends.

The willingness to share a communal bedroom has disappeared with rising average material prosperity. That leaves the YHA with lots of properties that don’t meet modern preferences. At the price point of the market the YHA operates in, it isn’t economic to convert these properties to single occupancy rooms.

Meanwhile, as the article mentions, accomodation for travelling was once hard to find, whereas now Premier Inns and Airbnbs are everywhere. This has taken away a large amount of the YHA’s former market, depressing occupancy rates midweek.

Let’s also not overlook the terrible senior management of the YHA. Well meaning Guardian readers do not maketh mangers of properly advertised competitive hospitality. Life members want the place run for their benefit. It has revenue hot spots in cities that it refuses to capitalise because it doesn’t want to become a hotelier. It has those 3-6 person rooms out in the sticks sitting empty mid week as it refuses to actively advertise the single occupancy deal because it is still wedded to the dorm ethos and doesn’t understand marginal revenue.

I’m saddened to read the Guardian’s fevered Brexit derangement still has found no cure. They are partly right: there are fewer foreign school trips. There are also fewer UK school trips within the UK. It clearly isn’t Brexit. If they bothered to investigate, they’d find yet another story demonstrating the awful folly of the lockdowns and school closures they loudly championed. The consequent economic and social catastrophe that many seem reluctant to acknowledge has meant the school trip has never recovered. Teachers have been relieved of the former expectation of organising them, kids have stopped leaving the house, and parents are unwilling or unable to pay.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Often it is that teachers are prepared to give up their spare time to organise and escort trips. It is schools that are unable or unwilling to pay for the cover of these teachers, as the trips are in school term time and lessons back at school are continuing.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Yes, I agree. Both my elder sons, now in their 20’s, had many school trip opportunities. My 16 year old, as he is acutely aware, has had none.

Another example, albeit relatively trivial, of the catastrophic consequences of lockdowns. The Guardianistas are, of course, wilfully blind to this, seeing all negative consequences through the prism of Brexit.

Eddie Swales
Eddie Swales
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

You still see plenty of foreign school groups in UK cities, so I suspect that The Guardian are talking out of their arse as usual.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Youth hostels long ceased to be be for young people. I’m late 50s and single and I’ve been a regular hosteller for the past 15 years or so. Generally most of the other visitors are older!
But the YHA has lost the plot. Nearly all hostels are now group booking only. So they have given up on the solo traveller. This might have been understandable post-pandemic in 2020-21, but is unacceptable now. I can only find one hostel taking solo bookings in the north of England!
I suspect this is more about staffing than foreign school parties. There may be some EU nationals no longer working in hostels, but from experience it’s always been young British people looking for an unpaid working holiday. Maybe they aren’t prepared to do this anymore?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Comment deleted.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No idea what you said but I will defend to the death your right to delete it

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No idea what you said but I will defend to the death your right to delete it

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Often it is that teachers are prepared to give up their spare time to organise and escort trips. It is schools that are unable or unwilling to pay for the cover of these teachers, as the trips are in school term time and lessons back at school are continuing.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Yes, I agree. Both my elder sons, now in their 20’s, had many school trip opportunities. My 16 year old, as he is acutely aware, has had none.

Another example, albeit relatively trivial, of the catastrophic consequences of lockdowns. The Guardianistas are, of course, wilfully blind to this, seeing all negative consequences through the prism of Brexit.

Eddie Swales
Eddie Swales
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

You still see plenty of foreign school groups in UK cities, so I suspect that The Guardian are talking out of their arse as usual.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Youth hostels long ceased to be be for young people. I’m late 50s and single and I’ve been a regular hosteller for the past 15 years or so. Generally most of the other visitors are older!
But the YHA has lost the plot. Nearly all hostels are now group booking only. So they have given up on the solo traveller. This might have been understandable post-pandemic in 2020-21, but is unacceptable now. I can only find one hostel taking solo bookings in the north of England!
I suspect this is more about staffing than foreign school parties. There may be some EU nationals no longer working in hostels, but from experience it’s always been young British people looking for an unpaid working holiday. Maybe they aren’t prepared to do this anymore?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Comment deleted.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago

My family and I stay in YHA’s a few times a year. Except for the foreign school groups, the other guests are much like us: middle class, middle aged or older, decked out by Decathlon, many other weekend and midweek get aways booked, and checked in to a 3-6 person YHA room with close friends or family or just themselves. The YHA is now just one of many choices we have for our weekends.

The willingness to share a communal bedroom has disappeared with rising average material prosperity. That leaves the YHA with lots of properties that don’t meet modern preferences. At the price point of the market the YHA operates in, it isn’t economic to convert these properties to single occupancy rooms.

Meanwhile, as the article mentions, accomodation for travelling was once hard to find, whereas now Premier Inns and Airbnbs are everywhere. This has taken away a large amount of the YHA’s former market, depressing occupancy rates midweek.

Let’s also not overlook the terrible senior management of the YHA. Well meaning Guardian readers do not maketh mangers of properly advertised competitive hospitality. Life members want the place run for their benefit. It has revenue hot spots in cities that it refuses to capitalise because it doesn’t want to become a hotelier. It has those 3-6 person rooms out in the sticks sitting empty mid week as it refuses to actively advertise the single occupancy deal because it is still wedded to the dorm ethos and doesn’t understand marginal revenue.

I’m saddened to read the Guardian’s fevered Brexit derangement still has found no cure. They are partly right: there are fewer foreign school trips. There are also fewer UK school trips within the UK. It clearly isn’t Brexit. If they bothered to investigate, they’d find yet another story demonstrating the awful folly of the lockdowns and school closures they loudly championed. The consequent economic and social catastrophe that many seem reluctant to acknowledge has meant the school trip has never recovered. Teachers have been relieved of the former expectation of organising them, kids have stopped leaving the house, and parents are unwilling or unable to pay.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

A left-field but interesting piece by MH. I wonder if “Bill” might read it and add his take on their bike-ride to Comments (no fakes, please!)

I only went youth hostelling once, to the Lake District for a few days with a mixed-sex end of school year party accompanied by a few teachers. After a mainly soggy day’s tramping over fells and through bogs, the teachers headed for the local village pub leaving us to our own devices. Since us midteen lads had spent most of the time surveying the girls (and vice versa) rather than the misty scenery, we utilised the evenings to good (although fairly innocent) effect. On the last night, i managed to procure a couple of bottles of cider from an offie, which made our snogging sessions a bit more robust, only interrupted by the half-drunk teachers returning before things progressed too far.

Happy days!

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I went youth hostelling twice in my mid teens with two friends. Our mothers made us promise we wouldn’t hitchhike but of course …. we sometimes hitchhiked. Whenever I remember that period of my life in 1969-71, I wonder whether parents today would allow their teenage daughters to wander the countryside by themselves (no mobile phones, no laptops, just postcards and occasional calls to mums from telephone boxes). The whole process – no adult involved – was an exercise in growing up. The route planning using hard copy ordnance survey maps (manual, no google remember), the booking of hostels, the independence from parents for a week. All this by girls now categorised as ‘children’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Judy Englander
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I first went in 1972. Aged 13, initially with a friend but he got homesick so I carried on on my own. 17 days all told.

At the time I think 13 was the youngest you could stay at a youth hostel without an adult.

There were moments of intense loneliness, the result of which is I have never really feared loneliness since.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That was a quick fix!

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The whole thing was completely formative. I can identify geographical locations in the Lake District where I had particular emotional experiences which were entirely new to me or new in their intensity. The loneliness I felt was certainly intense, but I’m hard pressed to think of times I have felt lonely since.

Obviously my age had a lot to do with it. It’s interesting that this is around the age that rites of passage take place in many traditional societies. Perhaps I unwittingly arranged my own rite of passage.

There was also a tremendous sense of independence, and a realisation of how easy it is to be happy – how little it actually takes – which has informed the rest of my life.

I would say the only comparable experience was that of having children.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Well put. I get you.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Well put. I get you.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The whole thing was completely formative. I can identify geographical locations in the Lake District where I had particular emotional experiences which were entirely new to me or new in their intensity. The loneliness I felt was certainly intense, but I’m hard pressed to think of times I have felt lonely since.

Obviously my age had a lot to do with it. It’s interesting that this is around the age that rites of passage take place in many traditional societies. Perhaps I unwittingly arranged my own rite of passage.

There was also a tremendous sense of independence, and a realisation of how easy it is to be happy – how little it actually takes – which has informed the rest of my life.

I would say the only comparable experience was that of having children.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That sound like a quick fix

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That was a quick fix!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That sound like a quick fix

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

My 17 year old daughter and her friends went backpacking by themselves in the Canadian wilderness out of cell range. They planned and organized the entire thing. So we aren’t all helicopter parents. But I will admit that I am not sure I would be open to a hitch hiking trip for her.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I first went in 1972. Aged 13, initially with a friend but he got homesick so I carried on on my own. 17 days all told.

At the time I think 13 was the youngest you could stay at a youth hostel without an adult.

There were moments of intense loneliness, the result of which is I have never really feared loneliness since.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

My 17 year old daughter and her friends went backpacking by themselves in the Canadian wilderness out of cell range. They planned and organized the entire thing. So we aren’t all helicopter parents. But I will admit that I am not sure I would be open to a hitch hiking trip for her.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Sweet.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Cute!!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I went youth hostelling twice in my mid teens with two friends. Our mothers made us promise we wouldn’t hitchhike but of course …. we sometimes hitchhiked. Whenever I remember that period of my life in 1969-71, I wonder whether parents today would allow their teenage daughters to wander the countryside by themselves (no mobile phones, no laptops, just postcards and occasional calls to mums from telephone boxes). The whole process – no adult involved – was an exercise in growing up. The route planning using hard copy ordnance survey maps (manual, no google remember), the booking of hostels, the independence from parents for a week. All this by girls now categorised as ‘children’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Judy Englander
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Sweet.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Cute!!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

A left-field but interesting piece by MH. I wonder if “Bill” might read it and add his take on their bike-ride to Comments (no fakes, please!)

I only went youth hostelling once, to the Lake District for a few days with a mixed-sex end of school year party accompanied by a few teachers. After a mainly soggy day’s tramping over fells and through bogs, the teachers headed for the local village pub leaving us to our own devices. Since us midteen lads had spent most of the time surveying the girls (and vice versa) rather than the misty scenery, we utilised the evenings to good (although fairly innocent) effect. On the last night, i managed to procure a couple of bottles of cider from an offie, which made our snogging sessions a bit more robust, only interrupted by the half-drunk teachers returning before things progressed too far.

Happy days!

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
11 months ago

I stopped going to YHAs when I was no longer young enough to put up with nights of interrupted sleep. But before that I had noticed that the me culture had all but destroyed any pretence of communality. They used to say that you’d meet lots of interesting people in YHAs but since nobody talks to strangers anymore and spend all their time on their phones you could spend a week hostelling nowadays and never get a word of conversation from anybody. What solipsistic desperate lives we lead.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Downing
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Of course you put your finger right on one reason for our low birthrate crisis and our “bowling alone” lives and our couch-potatoing; the simple pleasure of talking to strangers is very unappealing to many people now, especially younger ones.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

” …but since nobody talks to strangers anymore and spend all their time on their phones you could spend a week hostelling nowadays and never get a word of conversation from anybody.”
I am very happy to report that this has not been our experience of hostelling in the UK over the last 18 months.
In brief – 5 hostels both YHA and Independent options (https://independenthostels.co.uk/ there are 323 of these currently) all over the UK. A great deal cheaper than Air BnB’s in their companion areas. Much more interesting company than you would find in a Premier Inn or a Travel Lodge. Comfy rooms en suite if you so desire. Decent food + alcohol. Lots of families during school holidays. The conversations occur in the communal kitchens, in the main. Glamping available if you don’t want to be in a dorm or your own room.
And most importantly, if you want to book an ensuite room in the high season anywhere you need to do it at leat 3 months in advance. That’s not to say that the YHA as an organisation don’t have serious management / strategic vision problems but I wouldn’t kiss offf the hostelling scene in the UK just yet.
Great value for money especially in these straightened times.

Last edited 11 months ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Of course you put your finger right on one reason for our low birthrate crisis and our “bowling alone” lives and our couch-potatoing; the simple pleasure of talking to strangers is very unappealing to many people now, especially younger ones.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

” …but since nobody talks to strangers anymore and spend all their time on their phones you could spend a week hostelling nowadays and never get a word of conversation from anybody.”
I am very happy to report that this has not been our experience of hostelling in the UK over the last 18 months.
In brief – 5 hostels both YHA and Independent options (https://independenthostels.co.uk/ there are 323 of these currently) all over the UK. A great deal cheaper than Air BnB’s in their companion areas. Much more interesting company than you would find in a Premier Inn or a Travel Lodge. Comfy rooms en suite if you so desire. Decent food + alcohol. Lots of families during school holidays. The conversations occur in the communal kitchens, in the main. Glamping available if you don’t want to be in a dorm or your own room.
And most importantly, if you want to book an ensuite room in the high season anywhere you need to do it at leat 3 months in advance. That’s not to say that the YHA as an organisation don’t have serious management / strategic vision problems but I wouldn’t kiss offf the hostelling scene in the UK just yet.
Great value for money especially in these straightened times.

Last edited 11 months ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
11 months ago

I stopped going to YHAs when I was no longer young enough to put up with nights of interrupted sleep. But before that I had noticed that the me culture had all but destroyed any pretence of communality. They used to say that you’d meet lots of interesting people in YHAs but since nobody talks to strangers anymore and spend all their time on their phones you could spend a week hostelling nowadays and never get a word of conversation from anybody. What solipsistic desperate lives we lead.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Downing
Simon Neale
Simon Neale
11 months ago

According to John Harris in The Guardian, YHA “insiders” report that Brexit has also hit hostelling

Of course. Along with bee-keeping, truthfulness, sunny weather, species diversity, the NHS, civility, craft beers, good parenting, decent shoelaces, motherhood, and apple pie.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The Guardian is certainly tedious in that way, and others. Lets not use that to try hide that Brexit is turning out to be a great act of delf-harm, as overwhelmingly predicted by those terrible people, experts, elites Brexit has failed, even Farage says so, and many are justifiably furious.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I thought the argument was that insofar as Brexit has failed (not sure it has), the failure is in large part the result of the foot-dragging and undermining done by those very same elites who never wanted it to begin with. It’s all so very ‘Yes Minister’ – electorate be damned.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I thought the argument was that insofar as Brexit has failed (not sure it has), the failure is in large part the result of the foot-dragging and undermining done by those very same elites who never wanted it to begin with. It’s all so very ‘Yes Minister’ – electorate be damned.

Dominic A
Dominic A
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

The Guardian is certainly tedious in that way, and others. Lets not use that to try hide that Brexit is turning out to be a great act of delf-harm, as overwhelmingly predicted by those terrible people, experts, elites Brexit has failed, even Farage says so, and many are justifiably furious.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
11 months ago

According to John Harris in The Guardian, YHA “insiders” report that Brexit has also hit hostelling

Of course. Along with bee-keeping, truthfulness, sunny weather, species diversity, the NHS, civility, craft beers, good parenting, decent shoelaces, motherhood, and apple pie.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago

I enjoyed this, thank you. I’m not sure what conclusion I’ll take away but that’s not important, the article very interesting and written in an engaging way.
Mary Harrington often has ideas I’m not sure I agree with but she’s always worth reading.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago

I enjoyed this, thank you. I’m not sure what conclusion I’ll take away but that’s not important, the article very interesting and written in an engaging way.
Mary Harrington often has ideas I’m not sure I agree with but she’s always worth reading.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago

I don’t know what it’s like for women, but I’ve always had a very deep need to escape into the ‘wild’ when civilisation starts getting a bit too restrictive and I start feeling like a pig in a cage, and I think many men are the same.
I guess it helps that here in England the wildest animal you are likely to encounter is a badger, but all the same even now at 51 I get deep satisfaction from disappearing for a few days on the bike out of South London and into the lanes and fields and woods- a tonic for the soul.
My generation was perhaps the last generation that spent the majority of its time outdoors – whether that was a camping trip or playing Sunday football in an ice storm in February – and it tends to stick in your character I think.
Biking or hiking is also a wonderful way to see Britain, which, despite all the industrialisation and urbanisation, is still staggeringly beautiful in many places.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I’m with you on that, at age 52 and across the Atlantic: I do think that wanderlust or a nature-retreat impulse skews male by nature, with our long human pattern of women close to the hearth and men venturing out for one reason or another. Still, I think plenty of women break this general mold, and that many more would if they felt they didn’t need to travel with a strong(ish) man or in groups of women to be safe enough in the wild. And not being alone half erases the escape factor. I know a woman, now in her 70s, who lives in NYC but fearlessly retreats to remote or solitary natural places whenever she feels that aptly-termed “deep need to escape”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Indeed it is. It’s hard to beat the English countryside for beauty. There’s nothing like a bluebell wood.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

As even Bill Bryson discovered.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

As even Bill Bryson discovered.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I’m with you on that, at age 52 and across the Atlantic: I do think that wanderlust or a nature-retreat impulse skews male by nature, with our long human pattern of women close to the hearth and men venturing out for one reason or another. Still, I think plenty of women break this general mold, and that many more would if they felt they didn’t need to travel with a strong(ish) man or in groups of women to be safe enough in the wild. And not being alone half erases the escape factor. I know a woman, now in her 70s, who lives in NYC but fearlessly retreats to remote or solitary natural places whenever she feels that aptly-termed “deep need to escape”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Indeed it is. It’s hard to beat the English countryside for beauty. There’s nothing like a bluebell wood.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago

I don’t know what it’s like for women, but I’ve always had a very deep need to escape into the ‘wild’ when civilisation starts getting a bit too restrictive and I start feeling like a pig in a cage, and I think many men are the same.
I guess it helps that here in England the wildest animal you are likely to encounter is a badger, but all the same even now at 51 I get deep satisfaction from disappearing for a few days on the bike out of South London and into the lanes and fields and woods- a tonic for the soul.
My generation was perhaps the last generation that spent the majority of its time outdoors – whether that was a camping trip or playing Sunday football in an ice storm in February – and it tends to stick in your character I think.
Biking or hiking is also a wonderful way to see Britain, which, despite all the industrialisation and urbanisation, is still staggeringly beautiful in many places.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
11 months ago

 “According to John Harris in The Guardian, YHA “insiders” report that Brexit has also hit hostelling, as many European school parties have stopped coming”. I’ll take that with a pinch of salt from the source where Brexit is probably also liable for the soggy summer. But assuming a degree of accuracy, what bitterness to stop school trips because of a vote to leave the EU. Clearly there’s no practical problems with maintaining the trips, indeed you might say it makes the UK a more interesting place to see as a place with a different culture to the largely pro-EU continent. In fact the teachers think it better not to expose their darlings to the danger of a land where people think slightly differently. Shame on them.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jake Prior
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Indeed, most, if not all Europeans have very short memories, and have conveniently forgotten who*, at enormous cost, saved them from the depravity of the Nazi beast.

Given their** hysterical behaviour to the recent COVID scam I am not surprised by their churlish behaviour, but off course I am ‘institutionally biased’ and believe as Kipling did, that in short, they are “lesser breeds”.

(*Massively assisted and crucially paid for by the USA it must be said.)

(** With the notable exception of Sweden and even Belarus, if that counts.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

Indeed, most, if not all Europeans have very short memories, and have conveniently forgotten who*, at enormous cost, saved them from the depravity of the Nazi beast.

Given their** hysterical behaviour to the recent COVID scam I am not surprised by their churlish behaviour, but off course I am ‘institutionally biased’ and believe as Kipling did, that in short, they are “lesser breeds”.

(*Massively assisted and crucially paid for by the USA it must be said.)

(** With the notable exception of Sweden and even Belarus, if that counts.)

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
11 months ago

 “According to John Harris in The Guardian, YHA “insiders” report that Brexit has also hit hostelling, as many European school parties have stopped coming”. I’ll take that with a pinch of salt from the source where Brexit is probably also liable for the soggy summer. But assuming a degree of accuracy, what bitterness to stop school trips because of a vote to leave the EU. Clearly there’s no practical problems with maintaining the trips, indeed you might say it makes the UK a more interesting place to see as a place with a different culture to the largely pro-EU continent. In fact the teachers think it better not to expose their darlings to the danger of a land where people think slightly differently. Shame on them.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jake Prior
Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

Bikes, tents and hostels and, of course, no mobile phone umbilical cord. But an interesting background history and while the Germans were creating hostels, Britain had its scouts around the same time.
By contrast, I was forced to watch one of the trashy modern coming-of-age American films and realised that they are so cacooned that there is no struggle and nothing interesting in their lives, so the story is just a bland does-he-like-me and the worst thing that happens is you do/don’t make the school team for some sport or other and some drama about what to wear at the end of school prom. But I’m torn – should we celebrate that children are cossetted and cotton-woolled, or do we need that bit of grit in the system to create the pearls?

Saul D
Saul D
11 months ago

Bikes, tents and hostels and, of course, no mobile phone umbilical cord. But an interesting background history and while the Germans were creating hostels, Britain had its scouts around the same time.
By contrast, I was forced to watch one of the trashy modern coming-of-age American films and realised that they are so cacooned that there is no struggle and nothing interesting in their lives, so the story is just a bland does-he-like-me and the worst thing that happens is you do/don’t make the school team for some sport or other and some drama about what to wear at the end of school prom. But I’m torn – should we celebrate that children are cossetted and cotton-woolled, or do we need that bit of grit in the system to create the pearls?

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago

I live near the only youth hostel in Suffolk, now closing and on the market. BC (before Covid) parties of wide-eyed Asian school children from the west midlands were a common sight, but no more. There were never parties of continental schoolkids, they only went to London and the main cathedral cities. The Guardian likes to blame any unfortunate event on Brexit, but I don’t think it’s relevant here. It’s more to do with a plethora of comfortable and affordable alternatives (without shared bathrooms) plus the fact that, as Mary alludes, the traditional youth hostel market now prefers to stay indoors staring at the phone. Perhaps a Jordan Peterson disciple should set up a new version of the mannerbunde?

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew D
Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I am several decades too old to do that, as well as too unskilled in the ways of the outdoors, but it sounds like a great idea. Maybe my son should take it up!

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I am several decades too old to do that, as well as too unskilled in the ways of the outdoors, but it sounds like a great idea. Maybe my son should take it up!

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago

I live near the only youth hostel in Suffolk, now closing and on the market. BC (before Covid) parties of wide-eyed Asian school children from the west midlands were a common sight, but no more. There were never parties of continental schoolkids, they only went to London and the main cathedral cities. The Guardian likes to blame any unfortunate event on Brexit, but I don’t think it’s relevant here. It’s more to do with a plethora of comfortable and affordable alternatives (without shared bathrooms) plus the fact that, as Mary alludes, the traditional youth hostel market now prefers to stay indoors staring at the phone. Perhaps a Jordan Peterson disciple should set up a new version of the mannerbunde?

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew D
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

An interesting if rather sad essay, as it seems to suggest that our obese youth(or yooof) have become moribund.

Of course MH you had it rather “easy”. In the 1950’s and probably the 60’s you were NOT supposed to cycle between Hostels but rather walk or even hitch-hike.
I recall being almost denied entry by a particularly officious ‘Sturmbannführer’ when he spotted my ill- concealed bike.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

An interesting if rather sad essay, as it seems to suggest that our obese youth(or yooof) have become moribund.

Of course MH you had it rather “easy”. In the 1950’s and probably the 60’s you were NOT supposed to cycle between Hostels but rather walk or even hitch-hike.
I recall being almost denied entry by a particularly officious ‘Sturmbannführer’ when he spotted my ill- concealed bike.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

French “refuges” still seem to be thriving and have a similar atmosphere. Great conversation and a good social mix.

And the people are way more interesting than those you will find sitting round the infinity pool drinking g&ts at a so called luxury hotel (but really aimed at secretaries and middle managers who want to feel they are special and like being waited on).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Ha! Great observation.

anthony henderson
anthony henderson
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And the alburgues on the Spanish caminos can be great.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Ha! Great observation.

anthony henderson
anthony henderson
11 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And the alburgues on the Spanish caminos can be great.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago

French “refuges” still seem to be thriving and have a similar atmosphere. Great conversation and a good social mix.

And the people are way more interesting than those you will find sitting round the infinity pool drinking g&ts at a so called luxury hotel (but really aimed at secretaries and middle managers who want to feel they are special and like being waited on).

NIck Brown
NIck Brown
11 months ago

“We weren’t dating and he never hit on me.” Why use Americanisms in such a quintessentially English story?

NIck Brown
NIck Brown
11 months ago

“We weren’t dating and he never hit on me.” Why use Americanisms in such a quintessentially English story?

Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
11 months ago

Top of the range article. I recall youth hostelling and hitchhiking in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and on the continent all through the 1960s. I even hitched a lift on a plane from Bristol to Newcastle, my first flight aged 16. The German hostels were a shock because of their modernity and comfort. The organised cleaning in the morning was another shock. Amazing that parents might only expect a weekly postcard from a teenager abroad.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
Jeff Dudgeon
11 months ago

Top of the range article. I recall youth hostelling and hitchhiking in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and on the continent all through the 1960s. I even hitched a lift on a plane from Bristol to Newcastle, my first flight aged 16. The German hostels were a shock because of their modernity and comfort. The organised cleaning in the morning was another shock. Amazing that parents might only expect a weekly postcard from a teenager abroad.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jeff Dudgeon
Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson
11 months ago

A great nostalgia piece for me, an American, recalling my months-long hosteling trip through Ireland, Scotland and most of Europe in the early 90s. All the random and interesting conversations I had with other kids doing the same, hitching up with someone to travel with for a few days or weeks (of either sex), having a fantastic time, and amiably parting when the time came. Never got back in touch, but I remember them all very fondly. Sad to think that kind of experience is probably never going to be available for young people again.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Bryan Wilson

Partly because it may not be safe these days.

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Is it really less safe now than it was in the past? Or is it just our perception that it is less safe?

David Morley
David Morley
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Is it really less safe now than it was in the past? Or is it just our perception that it is less safe?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Bryan Wilson

Partly because it may not be safe these days.

Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson
11 months ago

A great nostalgia piece for me, an American, recalling my months-long hosteling trip through Ireland, Scotland and most of Europe in the early 90s. All the random and interesting conversations I had with other kids doing the same, hitching up with someone to travel with for a few days or weeks (of either sex), having a fantastic time, and amiably parting when the time came. Never got back in touch, but I remember them all very fondly. Sad to think that kind of experience is probably never going to be available for young people again.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
11 months ago

Most enjoyable piece and one of the reasons I subscribe. Good writing on a topic I’d not heard of, well thought that much about. Thanks Mary. There was an association (if that is the right word) called Club 18-30 from memory which was aimed at young people but it was based at various single sites. The one and only I attended was in the Brecon Beacons and had Germans (lots of Germans actually) and a sprinkling of other nationalities. It was good fun though. Cheers all.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Are you sure about Club 18-30 in Brecon Beacons? Club 18-30 sold itself on sea, sun and sex, obviously not suited as a description for the venue for extreme military training in the Welsh mountains.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Are you sure about Club 18-30 in Brecon Beacons? Club 18-30 sold itself on sea, sun and sex, obviously not suited as a description for the venue for extreme military training in the Welsh mountains.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
11 months ago

Most enjoyable piece and one of the reasons I subscribe. Good writing on a topic I’d not heard of, well thought that much about. Thanks Mary. There was an association (if that is the right word) called Club 18-30 from memory which was aimed at young people but it was based at various single sites. The one and only I attended was in the Brecon Beacons and had Germans (lots of Germans actually) and a sprinkling of other nationalities. It was good fun though. Cheers all.

ralph bell
ralph bell
11 months ago

I’ve stayed in many UK hostels as a teen and adult and also stayed in many hostels abroad, the latter of which are thriving in my experience.
I used to think it was because people didn’t like the basic nature or the chore requirement and especially being communal. But, form observation abroad, I think there are still plenty of people of all ages who love communal living, basic but well managed hostels and more than willing to sleep in multiple occupied dorms.
There are many people camping and campervanning/caravanning in the UK so I think its the failure of the YHA properties to see the European model and lean from it including the booking and APP systems.
Some of the hostels are amazing, e.g St Brivals Castle, Derwentwater adn Widdlerhope Manor.

Gerard A
Gerard A
11 months ago
Reply to  ralph bell

I stayed three years ago with a group of friends all in our 60s in a hostel in the Yorkshire Dales. We found, as some others have alluded to, that we were if anything younger than the average visitor.
One of the conclusions we came to for this was the hostel was actually very expensive for the standard of accomodation offered.Possibly pricing out younger people and certainly putting us off ever going back

Gerard A
Gerard A
11 months ago
Reply to  ralph bell

I stayed three years ago with a group of friends all in our 60s in a hostel in the Yorkshire Dales. We found, as some others have alluded to, that we were if anything younger than the average visitor.
One of the conclusions we came to for this was the hostel was actually very expensive for the standard of accomodation offered.Possibly pricing out younger people and certainly putting us off ever going back

ralph bell
ralph bell
11 months ago

I’ve stayed in many UK hostels as a teen and adult and also stayed in many hostels abroad, the latter of which are thriving in my experience.
I used to think it was because people didn’t like the basic nature or the chore requirement and especially being communal. But, form observation abroad, I think there are still plenty of people of all ages who love communal living, basic but well managed hostels and more than willing to sleep in multiple occupied dorms.
There are many people camping and campervanning/caravanning in the UK so I think its the failure of the YHA properties to see the European model and lean from it including the booking and APP systems.
Some of the hostels are amazing, e.g St Brivals Castle, Derwentwater adn Widdlerhope Manor.

James Jenkin
James Jenkin
11 months ago

I think Harrington’s point might be that in a hundred years our current dogmatism regarding sex and gender will look just as silly

James Jenkin
James Jenkin
11 months ago

I think Harrington’s point might be that in a hundred years our current dogmatism regarding sex and gender will look just as silly

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
11 months ago

As well as taking a hit from the covid lockdowns, a lot of Youth Hostels were sold off following the total shutdown of the countryside due to foot and mouth in 2001. Thankfully we all have Prof Ferguson and his modellers to thank for saving us on both occasions.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
11 months ago

As well as taking a hit from the covid lockdowns, a lot of Youth Hostels were sold off following the total shutdown of the countryside due to foot and mouth in 2001. Thankfully we all have Prof Ferguson and his modellers to thank for saving us on both occasions.

David Forrester
David Forrester
11 months ago

I came across Kibbo Kift sometime ago, I have no knowledge of it at all was it an attempt to set up something like these German groups in the UK ?

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago

An anti-militaristic alternative to the scouts, I think

Andy White
Andy White
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Woodcraft Folk, who are still around today being a kind of anti-authoritarian and anti-militarist version of the scouts, were originally formed by dissident Kibbo Kift members, so the movement still exists, albeit in altered form.

I once heard someone whose parents met through the Kibbo Kift reminisce about going on reunion camps for the Kindred in the 1970s. It sounded very strange but also at times rather inspiring to experience all that high idealism and the Tolkeinesque costumes and mythology.

Andy White
Andy White
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Woodcraft Folk, who are still around today being a kind of anti-authoritarian and anti-militarist version of the scouts, were originally formed by dissident Kibbo Kift members, so the movement still exists, albeit in altered form.

I once heard someone whose parents met through the Kibbo Kift reminisce about going on reunion camps for the Kindred in the 1970s. It sounded very strange but also at times rather inspiring to experience all that high idealism and the Tolkeinesque costumes and mythology.

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago

An anti-militaristic alternative to the scouts, I think

David Forrester
David Forrester
11 months ago

I came across Kibbo Kift sometime ago, I have no knowledge of it at all was it an attempt to set up something like these German groups in the UK ?

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
11 months ago

What will happen to the sold off youth hostels?
Are they perhaps destined to house illegal migrants or refugees?

Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
11 months ago

What will happen to the sold off youth hostels?
Are they perhaps destined to house illegal migrants or refugees?

O F
O F
11 months ago

This is the most enjoyable article I have read all week. An added bonus is that the mere mention of The Guardian has triggered the rabid Brexit readership. Top work!

O F
O F
11 months ago

This is the most enjoyable article I have read all week. An added bonus is that the mere mention of The Guardian has triggered the rabid Brexit readership. Top work!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago

Comment deleted.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Leslie Sudock
Leslie Sudock
9 months ago

I spent a wonderful academic year “abroad” in 1976-77, studying philosophy and logic at the University of Edinburgh, singing early music, attempting to learn to play the cello, and hosteling. My favorite hostel memory is a few days in the very north of Scotland, in what seemed to a young American student very much a castle but was most likely a stately home. My assigned chore was to dust the statues in the gallery. To reach the local pub I took a short-cut along a train trestle (risky business), and I saw the Northern Lights. It was a magical week’s holiday between terms. I loved traveling on my own.
My husband (of more than forty years) was a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout. He treasures his memories of scout masters from town who mentored him (he was fatherless), long hikes along the Appalachian Trail, and leading younger boys through weekend camping adventures. To my knowledge he never hosteled as I did in Europe, and I’m not sure he would describe his experience in the scouts as “romantic”, but they were deeply formative.

Last edited 9 months ago by Leslie Sudock
Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

This seems like ripe pickings for incels.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
11 months ago

This seems like ripe pickings for incels.