My couch receives its first surfer...
I signed up last year at Couchsurfing.com. Couchsurfers offer short-term accommodations to travelers and - obviously - allows them to search out free sofas in locales they plan to visit. Most couchsurfers are young people, I guess, but it seemed like a neat, very old-fashioned idea, so I joined.
(Old-fashioned - in the old, old days, before Motel 6, it was considered a social responsibility to take care of travelers and strangers.)
I had my first couch-surfing guest this weekend. He was about my age, from the Midwest. After a career of, he said, writing, directing, acting, and producing, he had decided he wasn't sure of his future course. He was taking a multi-week trip, especially across the south, to visit different places and see if any of them "spoke" to him as future homes.
Mine was his thirteenth couch on this trip; he described meeting a lot of kind, friendly people along the way. His host previous to me had taken him to her country club for dinner!
I was caught flat-footed by his visit, in the midst of a whirl of obligations, so I wasn't the kind of host I'd imagined being. There was no food in the house (other than milk and shredded wheat and some carrots and oranges) so I couldn't cook him a nice dinner. We did chat quite a bit, though.
He was pretty vague about what he was looking for, but he'd been looked for whatever-it-was in lots of places - including a two or three other continents. It occurred to me that maybe he was asking himself the wrong question - he was framing his search as "where do I want to live?" but I think maybe his question was actually "what will make my life, at this point, meaningful?"
When you ask yourself the wrong question it's hard to come up with an answer. But what do I know?
(My ex-husband, a clinical psychologist, said the main difference between an amateur and a professional in his business is that the amateurs feel free to give advice and the professionals don't.)
I'd been a little bit afraid he would turn out to be an ax-murderer and most of my friends and my kids thought I was nuts to invite a total stranger into my house. It worked out fine. Maybe Hannah and I will try some couch-surfing when we go to Bulgaria in August.