Raise your ? if you’ve ever had a fling on a trip. Yes, that’s what we thought. It’s not the reason why we travel, but it’s always there at the back of our minds. Who can resist falling for a beautiful Swede on a summer night on a beach in Portugal? There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that ignites when we go off on an adventure. But it’s also scientifically proven. Dr. Jane Greer, Ph.D., marriage and sex therapist, explains:

“You widen your margins before you leave for a trip, knowing you are going to do things you don’t normally do. You give yourself the permission to experience different and possibly risky pleasures before even leaving, and romance is the biggest—and most dangerous—pleasure you can get.”

For some lucky ones, those flings become forever kind of things. Many of our staff are in happy relationships that came about from working or staying in a hostel. Here are three stories which will make you believe in love, the true kind of one!

Lisa + Erik : Never underestimate the power of a seal joke

Falling in love at HI-Banff

Lisa and Erik met at HI-Banff Alpine Centre. I asked them both to answer the same 10 questions. Lisa replied with beautiful and detailed answers that spanned over two pages while Erik returned brief one-liners for each question. I’d say they compliment each other very well 🙂

What were you doing at HI-Banff at the time?
L: When we first met I was working in the Café and Erik was volunteering in the Kitchen
E: I was a snowboard bum and I wanted to stay in the mountains

How old were you?
L: When we met I was 25 and Erik was 22.
When we became a couple I was 28 and Erik 25.
When we married I was 31 and Erik 28.
E: 22 I think, it’s all a bit hazy…

How did you two really meet?
L: The first night I met Erik, I was working as a cook in Cougar Pete’s restaurant and he had just started working as my volunteer dishwasher. I was cooking and serving alone and I asked him to just focus on the dishes and helping me when I asked and not to talk to me. As we were taking out the garbage at the end of the night he told me he had a great joke for me. “So this Seal walks into a club…..” What a horrible joke, I couldn’t help but laugh!

Fast forward a few months and I was now running the Storm Cellar Pub, while Erik was the night cleaner. We ended up spending a lot of time chatting at 3 AM nearly every shift. We became really great friends.

Fast forward a few more months and I left for a 15-month overseas trip. When I came back to Canada and was hired as the Assistant General Manager of HI-Banff, Erik was the regional night auditor. Of course, we reconnected right away…

E: She was a cook, I was volunteering in the kitchen. She wanted to fire me but I guess I grew on her. Years later I told her I wanted to love her for the rest of forever… I guess she bought it.

Lisa and Erik are now married and have two kids #hostelbabies #hifamily

Eleanor + Dan : Being in the right dorm at the right time

Falling in love in a hostel

Eleanor and Dan met at HI-Akureyri in Iceland. Eleanor was 22 and had just landed in Iceland. She had gone from her home country of Australia to study in England for 6 months.

“At the end of my semester, I had two months free to travel and Iceland was at the top of my list. I booked 5-day tours doing awesome stuff like ice-climbing, snorkelling and glacier hiking from Reykjavik, but at the end of it, I realised I hadn’t seen much of the country and wanted more. Iceland being on the complete opposite side of the world to Australia, I decided it needed to be done right then. So the next day I ditched my flight, rented a car by myself and just planned on driving east, all the way around the ring road loop of Iceland. Akureyri was my first stop after leaving Reykjavik.”

Eleanor checked into the hostel and guess who was the first roommate she met when she walked into her dorm?  A nice young man called Dan from Nova Scotia, Canada.

“I told Dan that I was planning on driving east, and he said he was hitchhiking east. He had slammed his pinky finger really badly in the door of a car the day beforehand and chose to stay in the hostel instead of dealing with camping that night. I offered him a ride the next day and we just kept driving and stopping off to see things and check into the next hostel. We never even discussed when he would be leaving or when I was dropping him off. We drove around the whole of Iceland over two weeks and became best friends very quickly.

When I went back to Australia we stayed in touch very regularly as really good friends over Facebook and Skype. I finished university in 2014 and because I didn’t want to go straight into further study or work, I decided to go on a working holiday to Canada. I actually kind of had this idea that I wanted to fall in love with a Canadian in Canada, and then I realised I already knew an amazing one!

After a month or two of travelling, I found a job in Banff for a while and Dan messaged me saying he was performing in Toronto soon. He very easily convinced me to drive all the way to meet up with him and continue on a road trip from Toronto to Halifax, his home town. It was so surreal seeing him again for the first time since Iceland over a year beforehand! After a few weeks on the road we arrived in Halifax and I found a place to hunker down for the eastern Canadian winter.  After all our travels and time apart and together, it became more and more obvious that we were perfect for each other. Our incredible friendship made it very easy to take the next step. I had one condition though, I told him I was planning on moving to Vancouver after the winter, so he said, “I’m coming with you”.”

Eleanor and Dan are still together and live in Vancouver. You can actually read more about their story in this illustrated article published on TERN Mag. You can also follow their adventures (or snippets of them!) on Eleanor’s Instagram @eleanorisdale #cutenessaward

Renée + Charles : long-distance relationship in the pre-Internet era!

Finding love in a Montreal hostel

Renée and Charles met at HI-Montréal in the… 70s! Back in 1978, long before the hostel had moved to its current location, Renée was working the front desk. One day, Charles, a Belgian traveller checked in with a French guy he had just met on the train. That night, Renée and her friend took them on a local tour of the city, as it was customary to do, and they ended the night at La Bodega, where they always went back then.

Renée and Charles kept in touch afterwards via snail mail and the occasional, expensive, long distance phone call. Then the trips began. Renée was asked to travel to Brussels for work. They saw each other often during those weeks. During that time, Renée knitted him an Irish-pattern sweater… that he still wear until this day! The following summer Charles travelled back to Montreal. In 1980, Renée embarked on a one year trip across Europe. At the beginning of her trip, Charles declared his lover for her. Renée says it was a total surprise! At the time, she wasn’t convinced about the whole thing and didn’t really believe in long-distance relationships. One night when she was in Islas Baleares, she remembers thinking about him and deciding she would give it a shot.

‘I didn’t know back then, but this was the best decision of my life! We then spent a full month in Greece and Italy. It was fantastic. We were in love and totally happy. Two years later, we got married.’

35 years later, they are still living happily together and fully in love!’ #lifegoals


We could have also told you the story of Nicolas and Fernanda, Shelbey and Stephen, Olivier and Alejandra, Cindy and John, Magalie and Kevin, and oh, so many more! Attention span being a constraint, we will stop here and wish you a happy Valentine’s day whether you’re single or in a happy relationship!

If you’ve got a cute fling or love story to share, please do so below! We love everything that makes us believe in fairy tales. 

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