In case you’ve never heard of it, Warmshowers is a website to facilitate hosting of bike tourers around the world. It is similar to Couchsurfing in that it is a community of reciprocal hosters and hostees, but Warmshowers is only for cyclists. I’ve wanted to do a long bike tour ever since I got into biking, and once I got my first apartment I decided the best place to start would be by hosting some other cyclists!
When I made my profile, it asks what your max group size would be. Now, as you know, I am a dancer. The social dance community is very friendly and open. Throughout college I had been welcomed into the homes of dancers I didn’t know, and in return welcomed other dancers into my own home. As long as there was floorspace there was room for one more! So when I read that, I glanced around my living room and thought, I think 5 or 6 people could comfortably fit on my floor…maybe more if they’re small!
That led to my first hosting experience through Warmshowers. I received an email requesting a host for five cyclists. I was so excited! Unfortunately, they canceled the morning of because they got had some bike trouble and weren’t sure how long they would be stuck. The next morning though, I got another email! “We’re all fixed up, can you host tonight?” When I got home from work that night I cleaned up a little bit and made sure my place was all ready. They all showed up a little while later, and they had brought along a sixth! “Well we met her on the road and we figured if you were willing to host 5, you’d probably be ok with 6.” We had such a wonderful evening. We made a big dinner, shared stories, watched a movie. It was a really great experience that led to many more wonderful hosting experiences.
Today was another such experience. I am fortunate to now live in a much larger place, but my roommates insist on a Warmshowers or Couchsurfing guest limit of 3 at a time. I had two guests this evening, and we had a lovely time making dinner together, eating and chatting. Both of my guests tonight were vegetarians! Remember a few weeks ago when I was freaking out about backpacking primally? Well these two have been traveling for a long time and they’ve managed to eat primarily vegetables the whole way, so I know it can be done. We talked a lot about the fact that many people think cycle touring or just minimalist traveling is absurd. People told them they were crazy to not have planned further ahead than a few days, or would ask when they were going to go back home and get a real job. They said that the most supportive people tend to be older people who admire their adventure, and wish that they had done something similar. The most negativity came from middle aged people saying they needed to go back to the real world. But the thing is, they’re in the real world. They’re living their lives. And just because it doesn’t fit someone else’s mold, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
These two have only reinforced my motivation, and I’m so glad to have hosted them. I’m excited to finally jump into the other side of the Warmshowers community and start requesting hosts!