It’s amazing to me how my day, the day that I had planned, can change in the blink of an eye. When I awoke this morning, I had no idea I’d be writing about strangers I haven’t even met. To you. Readers and writers all, we’re open to new experiences. We have to be.
Travel and travelers are a rich and tasty source of stories and poetry, surprising delights in all the five senses. It’s always been that way, for travelers and writers everywhere. I know it certainly rocks my boat.
Today I bring to you an opportunity to meet someone new, to learn something new. Perhaps, gain a new perspective about my world. Perhaps about yourself.
I’ve been part of an international travelers organization for many years.
Because of this partnership, my life has changed in more ways than I ever imagined. In 2013, I spent a spring week, sleeping evenings in a small home outside Paris, thanks to the generosity of a couchsurfer I met online. A quaint place with windows overlooking a quiet little road, a brief and leisurely train ride from the City, a walk meandering through the Farmer’s Market and in and around several little shops along the road, through a public park full of children laughing, flowers blooming, trees of green and the aroma of French pastries on my tongue.
I spent a week in Morocco. We walked through the hot sun during the day, into the shaded and cool medina full of music, food and trained snakes at night. After which we traveled over the High Atlas Peak Mountains in a rickety bus to visit 3 days in the Berber desert in Mimoune’s family home. Mimoune’s family communicated with me through Mimoune, the one English speaking family member to translate for all of us. By the end of my visit, having savored fresh bread baked daily in a clay, fruit and vegetables that grow on their spring fed and irrigated land, they invited me to stay and be a special guest in Mimoune’s sister’s wedding. Sweet Moroccan tea lingers on my lips.
In Coventry, I learned all about Snooker and ‘Bowls’. I sipped tea each morning from dainty china cups and wandered along the countryside with my friend Tim who had visited Napa years before.
In the Yucatan, I net Carmen’s young daughter, stayed in their beautiful home, armed myself with travel tips for the best local places to visit, to eat and linger and I learned that folks who need care can go to the medical clinic in the evening, after work, any working day.
In Belgium, along the Meuse River, I was treated to Belgian waffles and thousand of beers in one place, not to mention new friends who have now come to visit me here in U.S. bringing with them even more of that delicious Belgium chocolate.
None of what I experience when I travel with couchsurfers can be found in a guide book.
I received a message this morning and am hoping someone out there might see an opportunity to help out a couple of folks from Mexico City. I don’t have a space to do so right now. Life for me is people, travel, writing, sharing, fun, helping. So I thought I’d pass this along. If you want to know more, please contact me.
From Rick Schmidt in Mexico City:
Here’s my situation: my wife will be studying at Dominican University for the month of December … she’s got room/board provided by the school. I will accompany her but need a room for a month. We tried airbnb and craigslist but no luck: either too expensive or too far away from San Rafael. I don’t need anything fancy, but need safe place to park car. I am quiet, clean and interesting conversationalist … having travelled to many parts of the world all my life, including the recent 12 years of attending conferences; my host would not regret having met me, I’m sure. If you have friends, acquaintances or just a suggestion, I would be very appreciative. We live in Mexico City and have enjoyed hosting CSers a few times in the past ten years. We have references and are homeowners ourselves so we know how to treat our environment. Thank you so much for any suggestion. Cheers….Rick Schmidt, Ana Cazares