When my roommate left for a trip a couple weeks ago, I determined I’d dive back into Couchsurfing again. I’d hosted 10-15 folks going back to my move to Asheville in February, but only one in the prior four months.
I stopped hosting for various reasons. My roommate and I had lots of friends visit this summer, so there were weekends we legitimately couldn’t take in another body. But for all the other weekends and, yes, weekdays, my excuses were plentiful.
I didn’t feel like it.
I was “too busy” writing a book that still hasn’t been completed or working 40 hours a week or going to bed before 10pm.
Basically, I didn’t feel like it.
In the last four months, I’ve noticed my emotional well-being dipping lower and lower, and while I can trace this descent to many factors (lack of community, work tedium, longing for the road again, etc.), a legitimate one stems from my lack of hosting.
I missed connecting with strangers in my home, opening the door to their smiling faces, showing them their daybed that I built for them, one now marked by over 30 signatures and counting, driving them around Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway and letting some of their world bleed into some of my own.
And so when my roommate left me for a couple weeks, I decided to open the floodgates again.
First, there was the 26-year-old from New Hampshire moving to Austin for a fresh start.
Then there was the 25-year-old from Charlotte who never responded to my own Couchsurfing request when I was passing through Charlotte on my 9-month road trip. He’d reached out to me months after the fact, apologizing for missing my request, and we actually stayed in touch online to learn that we’re both believers in Jesus and believers in the road. He passed through Asheville recently, and now he was the one requesting to stay with me. We talked for hours about traveling and writing and Jesus and long hair and beards.
Most recently there was a 22-year-old from New York, a songwriting major from NYU taking a little east coast journey before flying to LA in further pursuit of his dreams. We grabbed tacos at my favorite place in Asheville last night, and I repeated what I’ve said for every single surfer who’s entered my living room and slept on my daybed and signed my daybed, something I never grow tired of repeating:
I talked about my time on the road, my love for the road, and my appreciation for everyone I’ve met on the road.
The road continues to this day, I’m realizing. I may not be packing up a faithful Galant (rest her soul) every day and driving to mountains and beaches and cities and plains and parks, but my hosting on Couchsurfing brings the road to me.
I sit across from a stranger with a familiar sparkle in his eye and I ask for his story.
It sounds a lot like my own.
This is Day 4 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.