This morning coming in to set-up breakfast at 7 AM after taking our wild child doodle, “The Boss Lady” for a quick walk, I came in to find a lovely postcard of the Canadian Rockies on our front reception.
It is moments like this, in the middle of the mayhem of starting a new business, that you know you are doing something right. Thank you IB, from Istanbul… you are definitely a beautiful kind soul.
I realized this morning as the collection of cards and notes start to grow a new art project is in the making. A collage of sorts on our upper alcove in the lounge is a must. Our guests are too meaningful to us to not have a daily reminder of them.
Recently a lovely couple from St. Thomas stayed with us while they were visiting family in Thunder Bay. A unique situation considering they lived here before but chose to have their own space here at The Haven thanks to a recommendation from our fellow gear head and friend – Terry Kosolowski.
We became friends over their week stay with early morning coffees together and discussing our lives of where we have been and are going. They laughed with me when they gifted a beautiful bottle of wine and I said, “How nice! I usually stay around the $12 dollar a bottle range”, and they shook their head, and sarcastically giggled, “Well, that is NOT a $12 dollar bottle of wine!”. When we make these connections with our guests we realize that we are doing exactly what we dreamed of doing.
What is that dream exactly? Simply put, being an avid traveler with a knack to latch on to conversation with old souls and people with experience, I have always been inspired by those behind the desk and knew I wanted to follow suit. Always asking a million questions, falling into a conversation that makes my eyes wide, hearing of some adventure that has me packing my bag in my mind and furiously writing down notes in my journal. Talking to someone who has been a few places and knows their stomping grounds well and all the little holes in the wall. Meeting dozens of those inspiring people over the last decade I think it just felt natural to make the shift hoping to inspire someone or give someone that feeling I had many times over.
Traveling has come to a halt for all of us currently due to the obvious task at hand. However, we are paving the road to travel the world again and renew our stories for you in the future.
These experiences have allowed us to change the views of what a hostel is to many of our guests that have never stayed in one before. We have turned many first impressions a 180 after settling in.
There have been a few times some tired and frustrated guests have shown up due to something going wrong on the road such as a flat tire, bad breaks, oil problems, inclement weather etc., and we knew we had to do something to raise their spirits. Often times there is plenty of food around from the guests and staff so naturally strangers end up coming together to break bread inviting those who may not be prepared and have had a less fortunate day and ultimately becoming friends, if even for the moment.
Other times, our guests have helped us while trying to help them! These great adventurists you see below, Frank and Coco from the Netherlands and France, had some car problems and ended up staying with us longer than anticipated. I decided to take them camping on a very cold day where we still had a fire ban (i know…), to take a break from the hostel and get outside. I too had an unfortunate event happen to me where my car window was obliterated and apparently the temporary fix was not good for highway driving. Thanks to the boys for reinforcing it time and time again so we could get to Rainbow Falls without freezing and still being able to hear one another.
More recently we had the guests of a beautiful traditional wedding stay with us, all 30 of them. Full house on Blues Fest Weekend!
Some of the guests came the night before, and I think they were a bit shocked to walk into a communal environment. Although we slotted them into our private Queen Rooms, you could tell the idea of sharing a kitchen and lounging with us may have been a bit out of their comfort zone.
It took about one engaging hour of conversation explaining the ideology behind the hostel and how it manifested to start understanding how we function. Sooner than later Paul was getting meditation and breathing techniques from one the guests who was an amazing instructor of all things yoga and calm. As the night went on we continued to laugh and enjoy eachother’s company and the surrounding environment.
From solo travelers to large groups, we are stoked to cater to all and are realizing more and more that the dream is becoming a reality. We are becoming the most diverse versions of ourselves paying attention to the mannerisms, emotions, and lifestyles of our guests. Becoming amoeba’s to shape our guests experience in a way that we think that would appeal to them. We are all of a sudden human analysts stealthly paying attention and constantly devising a plan to make your stay better.
We have a long ways to go and years to develop but we appreciate everyone along for the ride, your laughs, and your patience!