Over 3000 Hostels in 70 Countries: That’s a Wrap, 2013
With the publication of “1100 Hostels: Spain, Alps and South Europe Hyper-Guide (Backpackers & Flashpackers), Hypertravel Books completes the two-part set that began with its recently released companion edition “1000 Hostels: Britain and North Europe Hyper-Guide,” and the initial phase of the six-part (so far) series that began a year ago with the publication of “Backpackers & Flashpackers in Western Europe: 500 Hostels in 100 Cities in 25 Countries.”
Now I know that six titles in one year is no big deal for a publisher—even a small one—but for a single author it’s a sizable piece of work (I would be tired, but I already slept it off in Uzbekistan a couple months ago, highly recommended). It’s no great work of literature, of course, but I’ve convinced myself that it does have historical and sociological value, documenting a phenomenon that says as much about our age and our zeitgeist as does FaceBook. Just because Americans are slow to get on the bandwagon says more about America (the USA, that is) than it does about hosteling.
Bottom line: hostels—lodgings that offer shared rooms—are likely here to stay. FaceBook I’m not so sure about. Of course the ‘Backpackers and Flashpackers’ series is first and foremost a budget travel guide, getting gap-year 22-year-old juniors and 55-year-old seniors out there in the world where they belong, the former waxing their boards, the latter waxing philosophical. Let the middle-agers do the heavy lifting; that’s my motto, ha! Let us kids, both young and old, have our fun!
It’s not all fun, though—I don’t ‘frolic’—and there is another more serious side to it all beyond mere survival and the daily procurement of food and lodging. For one thing, the more that we Westerners—and now Easterners—are out there in the world acting intelligently and responsibly, the more that the walls between us and potentially hostile cultures can theoretically be reduced and peace can prevail. A hostel world is better than a hostile world, right?
For another thing, given the rapid changes that our beloved world of flora and fauna and cultural diversity is undergoing, we need to be out there documenting it. Future archeologists won’t be able to make heads or tails out of iPhones and laptops. They might just assume that the world of invention ceased at around the 2000, rather than going virtual. And even if they solve the riddle, they still won’t have the data that was the content in those formats.
We need to leave tracks and trails, words on paper, paintings on canvas, cuneiform in clay tablets, carvings on stone, the more the better. That’s why I’ll always print physical books, and spread them worldwide, even when e-books and blogs, live streaming and Google-glass readers, would seem to make the old technology superfluous. I might even bury them in time capsules. Future archeologists are gonna’ love me. I’ll be smiling from the other dimension.
So what does the future hold? 2014 likes like a busy year, with significant travel in my own schedule, including Central Asia and the sub-continent. That’s usually the source of my greatest inspirations, that and a few special people. And it looks like a busy year for Hypertravel Books, too, with Asian and South American editions in the works, and maybe even Africa and/or the Mideast, not to mention updates of the current editions. I said there were hostels all over the world, and I intend to prove—and document—just that. I’m a man of my word.
I have other ideas for non-hostel-oriented books, too, so don’t worry about us going stale any time soon. This is just the beginning. You know, the chances of a small start-up project like this actually succeeding are pretty small, almost zero. But you know what? I think we’re gonna’ do it, and I have those of you reading this to thank. Happy holidays to you all; may our dreams all come true in 2014!