The Time I Found My Calling Backpacking Through Europe

Derick David
3 min readSep 14
AI-generated by Midjourney

According to, I’m 64% introverted. The idea of being surrounded by a crowd of people overwhelms me. The noise, social pressure, and visual stimulation of being in a crowd exhaust me.

Yet during my trip to Europe this summer, I experienced something totally eye-opening and quite unexpected in a crowd of people. All of a sudden, I went from 64% introverted to 64% extroverted.

The idea of meeting strangers from all over the planet, learning about their own cultures, and bringing them together made me feel alive.

This all happened because of one decision to stay in hostels instead of Airbnb on my European trip. I’m not really into hostels to begin with. In my entire life, I’ve only stayed in hostels two times before this year. And one of those was because a French friend of mine booked it for both of us.

Until one night a few weeks ago, I was browsing Reddit doing research on how to have the most fun when backpacking through Europe as part of my trip planning, specifically, in the cities of Prague, Zurich, and Paris.

I stumbled upon many threads about how staying in hostels can enhance your experience as a solo traveler. At first, I was hesitant because I was not really used to the idea since I’m more of an Airbnb guy.

But then I realized.

The majority of the time I visit a new place and I stay at an Airbnb, I barely meet anyone unless it’s a business travel. I actually felt alone. Sure, I had the privacy and room to myself and all, but I didn’t really maximize the experience.

I also thought that one of the key points of traveling solo is to get out of your comfort zone. So I made the decision. Next thing you know, I started booking my hostels in Prague, Zurich, and Paris.

It turns out that staying in hostels is a life-altering experience.

Not only to meet other travelers but to do activities together as a group. Sure it might be a tad uncomfortable when it comes to the sleeping situation, but the entire experience overcompensates all the cons by miles.

In Prague, I did a pub crawl with fellow international travelers who quickly turned into friends. We went to a…

Derick David

1M+ views. Ex-Forbes 10x Top Writer in Technology, Innovation, and Business.