It’s Official: Hypertravel Hostel Says Goodbye—for now…

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Socializing at Hypertravel Hostel

Well, score one for divine intervention. The last thing I expected a short two months ago, when the sale of my historic house/hostel/dream-crib in Tucson, AZ fell through after six months of ‘due diligence’ on the part of a certain buyer, who was dedicated to the proposition that homeless people need lunch…

…was that an entirely new sale would be complete by now. The first sale was cancelled not due to city rules and regs, BTW, rather due to the actions of disgruntled neighbors who’d rather shut down the neighborhood than help the hapless homeless—did I mention that the affected group was specifically homeless women? Tucson has a mean streak; it’s true…

So it’s been a long hard road (actually not so long and not so hard, either), the better part of two years, but all good things must come to an end, and if there’s a happy ending, then the story must be a good one. Even though I thought I wanted a flagship hostel as the template for many others, what I really needed was a ‘starter hostel’ to test the feasibility of an essentially European institution in Mainstream Amerika, and the results are…

IMG_0336…pending, results not yet in. For one thing: Air BnB has stolen the thunder from the hostel movement as the next best thing for alternative lodging, pending multiple court actions. And for another thing, Amerikans just may not be temperamentally suited to shared accommodations, which Air Bnb and VRBO are emphatically NOT. Those are vanity accoms, pretending that someone else’s house is your home, with all the perks and none of the responsibilities, and the list of abuses is long…

My own experience was something less than 100%, but more than 50%, so still a good experience, if not perfect, and the lack of a stream of truly independent travelers traversing the continent, as almost ubiquitous elsewhere, is worth noting.  I mean: does Inverness, Scotland, or Mendoza, Argentina, really have more to offer than Tucson or Albuquerque or Denver? No shortage of backpackers there. Nevertheless, I persevere…

IMG_0319I think the word has just not gotten out to backpackers that you don’t have to buy a car in Florida and sell it in California, in order to see Amerika. Amtrak works; it really does. And Amerikan city centers are much improved over their auto-abandoned versions of the 1980’s. ‘Millennials’ don’t like ‘burbs, ain’t ya’ heard? What’s the word? Pittsburgh…

Nevertheless, there ARE major administrative obstacles to opening a hostel in the USA, not the least of which is simply that that are NOT provided for in the uniform standard building codes, which almost all cities in the USA subscribe to, albeit tweaked to their own necessities. In short: Hardie’s Hostel is subject to the same rules and regs as JW Marriott—ouch!

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Hypertravel Hostel

To be specific, your typical dorm room is simply not allowed for short term (less than 30 days) use, UNLESS THE (i.e. YOUR CITY’S) ‘BUILDING OFFICIAL’ ALLOWS IT. Note: B & B rules and regs are much more flexible, if very limiting in size and scale, with little or no uniformity around the country, every city different (subject to new Air BnB laws), so that’s what I did. Got it? Get it–the book, that is.

To open a full-fledge hostel in Any City, USA, can be a nightmare, which I can attest to (but it doesn’t have to be). This is the skinny, which I wish someone had told me B4 I bought in. Yes, you generally have to buy in. Care to know more? Then wait for the book. Did I mention that the Uniform Building Codes can be changed? Talk to me. I’m available—after my gap-year of living philosophically, no more ‘dangerously’. Goodbye, Hypertravel Hostel, now you’re just somebody that I used to know…

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