11.20.12 – What do Couch Surfers, Bikes, and Mead Have in Common?

I can’t possibly explain how grateful and how happy I am to be a couch surfer.  I have been a proud member since January 27th, 2009.  Almost three years now!  The Couch Surfing community has significantly changed my life.  Not only do I have instant friends in any city I travel to, but I have learned to connect to the cities I find myself living in.  I was lost, but with Couch Surfing I am found.  I belong here.  It’s days like today that remind me I have a place in this world, that remind me how truly good people are, that remind me of the beauty that grows from the relationships we have with each other.

Enough of the sap.  Let’s get down to the good stuff.

I woke up slightly bitter that I wasn’t able to see my family for Thanksgiving, but I decided to make the most of my time off in Columbus, OH.  I found a bike shop called Handy Bikes on the North side of campus.  The owner agreed to loan me a bike until Friday morning for $40.  I hung up the phone amazed that I was able to find a bike so quickly and that I was actually going to have a bike for three days.  A bike!  It is one thing I was not able to fit into my backpack for this six month tour I am on.

I hopped on the bus, picked up my bike, and rode to the main Ohio State campus.  I wandered into some buildings looking for a huge lecture I could join, but I think it was too late in the day for those.  Plus, I had no idea in what building I could find such a thing.  Eventually I wandered into an Annie Leibovitz photography exhibition.  She has taken many recognizable and famous portraits. All of her work is stunning especially her photograph of William S. Burroughs.

William S Bourroughs

When I was finished starting at walls I met Bill, another couch surfer, at Northern Market for some delicious Indian food.  With full bellies we headed to the climbing gym to stare at some more walls.  I have never met Bill before, but after a test run on belay we decided we could trust each other.  If I fell I knew he would catch me.  What a wonderful feeling.  A stranger, now a friend.  That happens all the time in the Couch Surfing world!  After the climb, we met Gwen, yet another surfer, at Northstar Cafe.  I am in love with Gwen.  She is hilarious, energetic, and big hearted.  She wants to meet every single couch surfer that exists.  Is that too much to ask for?!  Next up, bar hop!

At the first bar I ordered a dark and stormy, my favorite drink as of lately.  It just looks so pretty in a highball glass.  Gwen turned in for the night and Bill and I wandered over to Brothers Drake the local meadery.  The bar was full of wonderful people, cute dudes with dreadlocks, and of course, mead.  As I sipped on my apple pie I became delighted that I still had a six mile bike ride ahead of me.  I also some how managed to receive two Thanksgiving invitations from people I don’t know in a city I have never been to.  I thought about how lucky I am to feel home anywhere I go.  My family spreads beyond conventional definitions.  It grows every time I meet some one new, every time a couch surfer walks into my life, any time I connect with another person.  I am thankful not only during the season but everyday of my life.

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