Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taking in the traveling homeless

Our little artsy fartsy, weirdo love nest has become a popular stopping point for many weary travelers since we set up shop here in Jasper. Our living room floor has been home to people we know, people we met that night, and people who are friends of friends of friends. It seems our door is always open and the sheets are always clean. And with every visit, no matter how short, it's always an experience. There's drinking, eating, laughing and the sharing of tales.

Monday night was no exception. As I left work, I received a text from my old boss. He said his friend would be arriving in Jasper around 10 p.m. and needed a place to lay his head for the night.

"Is he a sketch-bag?" I asked in response, knowing full-well my buddy would never send a creeper to my house. "He's a respectable dude. He's a teacher," I received in return. (I guess my smirk didn't really come across in my text message. Too bad, so sad.)

Then, before I knew it, Andrew the music teacher was here sharing beers and tales of the Edmonton Folk Festival.

I absolutely love that my friends know they can call me up at any hour and they'll have a place to crash, or a place for their friend to crash. Although my house sometimes feels like a hostel or a bed and breakfast, I'm always so happy to see old pals and to make new ones... which has me thinking that Ian and I should sign up for Couch Surfers.

What do you guys think? Are you on it? Have you ever had a stranger on your couch? Was it awesome or sketchy? Help a sister out and share your success and horror stories, won't you?


  1. You sound amazing! I'm so socially anxious that I couldn't do this.

    You must hear so many great stories and have such fantastic experiences!


  2. I'd like to know that someone would put me up for the night if i needed it!

    we have a spare room, with no bed, but i'd be happy to offer the space to friends, not sure about strangers though!!

    chloe x

  3. I couldn't do it!! One of my friends did LOTS of couch surfing though... I could never couch surf, or give strangers my couch. Too much stress!

  4. Well if I didn't have two kids (and the hubs) in tow.. I'd drop everything, fling out my thumb.. and head your way! That's some load of excellent hospitality you're dishing out there lady.. amazing. I think most people that are still 'free spirited' enough to travel that way are usually pretty fun folk to provide shelter to. Obviously, its key that BOTH you and your man are around just for safety sake I figure.
    Life is full of risks/gambles.. and this seems like one of those decisions where I would rather 'err on the side of grace' than shutting the door and turning the locks. Sure, you may get the nut case who steals your undies from the laundry someday... but you also get to meet new souls and share in their stories... always an incredible blessing!
    So yah, you rock. still.
    Mel ;o)
    needle and nest design

  5. I have often thought about signing up for couch surfing, but something always holds me back. I think it would be an awesome way to meet fun people... your post has definitely made me think about it again!

  6. We travel by airbnb and couch surfing. we tend to be the couch users. haha. i'd love to open up our couches and guest bedroom to the wandering hearts, but the husband has reservations. alas, we tend to have acquaintances and friends-of-friends occupying them on a semi-regular basis. that will have to sustain me for now

    xo bhrett

  7. You are a greater person than I... I've had some pretty rough experiences with that kind of thing, so I have some extreme hesitation and discomfort! I managed to get myself stuck living in a "punk house" in a sketchy part of Oakland, CA about 3 or 4 years ago with an awful ex-boyfriend. There would be a constant influx of stinky, drunk, loud travelling dudes in punk bands who would crash in our living room seemingly without warning.

    If there *was* warning, it was given only to my boyfriend, who was of course okay with it and never passed that information on to me, because a) I would have objected, and b) I was apparently not a human being, much less one who mattered.

    ... So yeah, it was shitty. I cleaned up a lot of beer and lost a lot of sleep during those years. I realize a lot of that was circumstantial, but nowadays unless I know someone personally they do NOT get free reign on my home.

    Again, you are a better person than I am in that regard, and I'm so glad you've had nothing but positive experiences with it! It's also nice to know that there are people out there who are travelling who AREN'T complete assholes.

  8. I've signed up for couchsurfing but I've never actually tried it. I will probably try it next summer when I make a trip with my boyfriend or alone. I am a little scared though, but that will probably pass once I've done it. And for signing up my house, well, I would be very happy to do so but unfortunately my parents are not up for it :) Also, you don't have to accept anyone, you can read reviews and a profile etc so, I would do it.

  9. the last time i had someone crash at my place, someone i sorta kinda knew, but not really. i was living in Boston with my best friend. One of my friends called me from back home said this guy was coming out- needed a place to crash for a week. It was a little weird, being two girls playing host to some guy we barely knew - but hey we were in our early 20's and didn't think twice.

    the first week was ok- he came and went as he pleased. we obviously didnt give him a key so he had to be there when one of us was.. but he started keeping really CRAZY hours..then one week led to two weeks. my roommate was not thrilled. her and i had gone to comm ave and saw him high and crazy like so crazy. (im not talking high from pot either) so we told him it was time for him to pack his bags.

    i had left for work- my roommate was still at the apt when he was supposed to be leaving. she called me when she got to school and said he was gone and we both breathed a sigh of relief...until....

    i get a call a few hours later from her sobbing telling me i had to come home immediately. our apt was robbed! i got home - the window in the room he had been staying in had been left propped open - everything was gone. computers, tvs, dvd players, money, everything.

    we still have no clue if it was pure coincidence or if it was him..we'll never know..but i'm also never having anyone i don't know ever stay with me again!

  10. You should definitely join couch surfers! I was a part of it for a bit, but as a traveler, and didn't use it. I need to rejoin sometime, since we just bought our first house, and I actually have a place for people to stay! I think it'd be awesome to take a trip sometime and just hop from couch to couch, meeting new people!

  11. I don't think anyone would want to stay on my couch. Although, I do own the comfiest couch known to man...

    And yes. I would love to come sleep on your couch sometime. Maybe you could make some use out of my "comfiest couch known to man" as well! You would have to be okay with sleeping next to a million pieces of Lego...just sayin'