One of the many, many quirks of hostel life is the volunteer component.

A sizeable portion of the staff of a hostel, especially in cheaper countries with established backpacking scenes, is made up of volunteers who trade part-time work for free room and board. These folks are usually younger solo travelers who are trying to see the world on a budget, so they bounce from hostel to hostel in different countries, working as they go. Most of them are a little odd (it takes a very specific type of person to choose the hostel volunteer style of life), but because they bring together so many different experiences and backgrounds, they’re also some of the most unique and interesting people I’ve ever met. 

Among the dozens of volunteers that I’ve met along my travels, some of my favorites were in Romania. Zeffy, Teagan, Issam, Ed, Ancil, Jess, Jorge, Jani, and Christian are all pictured here. They’re from New Zealand to Lithuania to El Salvador and everywhere in between, and they helped add color and variety to the tapestry of people that became my life in Romania.