August 16, 2015
(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)
I have been a member of Servas, an international peace organization, since 1979 and, more recently, Couch Surfing. People from all around the world stay with us—normally for two nights—for free. Why would David and I do this? We are not paid, we give up some privacy, we spend money for gas to pick up visitors and show them around, and we give them meals. The answer—building friendships with people enriches our lives. I used to look at the map and read the place names. Now, instead of place names, these are places where my friends live. We have both hosted and traveled through Servas and Couch Surfing. Sometimes in these travels, we have to step outside our comfort zone. Always we have to be flexible.
This weekend, Yuichi from Japan stayed with us. We met him more than two years ago through Couch Surfing. We showed him our area but also had good conversations. Because it was such a good connection, we told him we hoped he would return to stay with us again—and he did. Yuichi and other visitors we have had are most interested in experiencing life in its fullness, meeting people from other cultures and understanding cultures that are different from our own. Yuichi has been away from home for more than three years, traveling the globe. His most recent experience was 50 days in Cuba and today he shared photos from this trip. His photos of the Cuban people communicate that people are more alike than unlike. Tomorrow he heads toward Chicago, then Mumbai and then eventually back home in the fall.
If we can manage to forget the “them and us” perspective and rise to the “us” view, so many problems might dissolve. At least we’d be on the same side.
My gift today was spending time with Yuichi.
For interesting options in travel and life-enriching experiences, see these links.You can find links to my other posts on this project here: