Could you imagine living in a shared environment for the sake of saving money?
Would you be able to live in a hostel?
There are pros and cons to sharing such close quarters, but the reward of saving more of your paycheck might be worth the sacrifice if only for just a small period of time. I currently have taken the bullet as a last survival resort, and have found that there are most certainly downsides to living the "hostel life," but on the flip side, the "carefree" millennial Black girl warrior in me is making it work!
You Save Money in Rent and Utilities:
Living as a long term hostel tenant will save you coins! With real estate prices soaring through the roof in most major gentrified cities in the country, paying significantly less a month for a bed in a shared dormitory could be worth it! You get to save on utilities, as most hostels include basic amenities, including WIFI. Not even gonna lie - not receiving three bill statements from Con-ed, Optimum, and National Grid a month has been liberating!
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
You Meet all Kinds of New People:
When you live in a hostel, you get an opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Folks have fascinating stories and life experiences that are fun to learn about. Fostering new connections with people in a hostel has been a highlight of my experience thus far. You would be surprised how many similar life experiences bring people together in a hostel. The solidarity and potential for life-long friendships you gain with people in the same situation as you is very rewarding!
You Really Learn How to Be Considerate of Others:
When living in such close quarters, there are a lot of liberties that you would normally take in your own space that you would not be able to do in a communal environment. Hostel life will teach you quickly to be mindful of any behaviors and patterns that would cross the boundaries of your other roommates. There is humility in these lessons that can be taken with you wherever you go.
You Learn How to Adapt to Foreign Environments:
Living a totally different lifestyle to what you are used to is no small feat. Living in a communal environment catalyzes your natural Instincts of adapting to your surroundings. It gives you certain skills that you would have never attained so quickly otherwise. You would be surprised with what you are able to teach yourself when it comes to organization, time management, and eliminating excess.
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
No matter what your reasoning is for living in a hostel, I doubt that this life would be anyone's first choice. Humbling yourself to be able to downsize in this extreme way gives you a feeling of pride and respect for the extent you would go to better yourself in the long run. It teaches you gratitude for all that you do have. In my case, I have been able to take this initially unwanted situation and be inspired to write a TV pilot entitled, "Finding Fontaine: Hollywood Hostel," that I will one day pitch to Netflix. To me, this is the definition of "When life gives you Lemons, you make Lemonade."
Freedom to Travel:
If you can live in a hostel in one part of the world, you can live in one in another. Living in downsized communal housing allows you to be able to freely travel from place to place on a budget. Imagine living in a hostel in Thailand or Cairo for only $10 a night in a place where our currency is worth significantly more? You could explore different cultures and expand your horizons whilst you save your money investing in yourself.
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
When sharing a room with 3 to 10 bunk beds, you can kiss your privacy goodbye! People are constantly coming and going, alone time in the room is often very rare. If you ever had a bad day, and all you want to do is come home and relax in your bed alone, you will be constantly reminded that you are living in a room with 5 other strangers. I often have to find a spot that is quiet to do tarot readings for client and the constant presence of other people is problematic! If someone is a big snorer, heavy walker, or loud talker, you better grab some ear plugs!
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
Most hostels are co-ed, so expect to be sharing a room with the opposite sex. This means being subject to always having to be clothed and mindful that the big burly straight dude sleeping across from you might be checking out your goodies any chance he gets. I got lucky enough to get a smaller 3 bunk bed all-girls room, but others may not always be as lucky! If you're someone who likes to walk around your house butt ass naked, or are self-conscious around the opposite sex, this is something you'll have to get used to.
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
No Hanky Panky:
While living in a hostel, there is little chance for you to "get it in." You most likely wouldn't want to obviously, but there are times, naturally, when you will wish you had privacy for intimacy... even if it is with yourself. Your best bet is to take a temporary vow of celibacy, or find somewhere else to endulge in sexy time.
You Run on Hostel Time:
Every hostel has their own quiet hours, cleaning hours, and communal space hours. If you like to stay up late and watch Netflix, chances are there are people trying to sleep next to you. Don't get caught sleeping either when the kitchen closes…or you might find yourself taking a late night walk to the nearest 7-11. Are you a late sleeper? There are some long-term residents or tourists who will get up at the crack of dawn for work or to prepare for their day. If you are a light sleeper, prepare to be woken up.
Annoying Hostel Mates:
Living in a hostel comes with one, or two, bad apples! Let's just face it, there is bound to be an altercation at one point or another with someone you just can't stand, even if you tried. Every hostel has that one or two energy vampires that you learn to stand clear of by day two! Also, depending on where you stay, the hostel could be reminiscent of an episode of "Big Brother," or "The Bad Girl's Club" and equally as annoying! To combat this, stay to yourself!
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
Not every hostel will be the same when it comes to cleanliness. Depending on the price point of your stay, cleaning could be an ongoing problem. There are so many people using the common areas that it might be difficult for the hostel hosts to keep up with the cleaning in a timely fashion on top of not everyone having the same level of cleaning needs. If you are a germaphobe, this will be the hardest part of living in a hostel for you.
For me, this is worse than any con on this list. Living in a hostel is definitely risking being subject to bedbugs. There are so many people coming and going who are backpackers traveling from place to place. You will never know if someone is carrying a little sneaky bed bug in their luggage. It is often hard to prove that you've been bitten, unless you find an actual bed bug. Unfortunately, this potential risk comes with the territory. Make sure you read all the reviews to see if anyone has reported bed bugs. Also monitor and inquire about pest control.
Even though the cons outweigh the pros, I still have made the "hostel life" work for me. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and everything happens for you - not to you.
My best advice for someone looking to live the hostel life is to meditate often, cleanse and ground your energy, and get out as much as you can. I know that this is only temporary, and a new dawn for me will soon come. It's not perfect, but it's a roof over my head…
So with all that being said, could you live in a hostel?
Photo by Charles Lyles @lifebylyles
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Fontaine Felisha Foxworth is a writer and creative entrepreneur from Brooklyn New York. She is currently on the West Coast working on creating a TV Pilot called "Finding Fontaine", that details the nomadic journey of her life so far. Keep up with her shenanigans @famoustaine on IG.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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