At some point, almost all of us have had to ask (or perhaps beg) a family member or a friend to open their homes and allow us to crash on their sofa for a night or two. Maybe we’re coming into town for a wedding or a sporting event or just to visit some old pals, and we don’t really want to dish out big bucks for a hotel room. All we need is a bit of space where we can lay our heads and so we simply turn to those we know.
Given the nature of my nomadic lifestyle, I’ve been forced to ask for such favors quite often, especially during my yearly trips home to the USA. I don’t exactly have my own house or apartment in this country and as a result, my comfort level during every night I spend here depends solely on the hospitality of others.
And no more has this been evident than during the past three weeks that I’ve spent visiting family and friends. After finding flights to New York, I spent 21 days in that city, as well as in Boston, where I’ve slept in 9 different places, and I’m not talking about 9 different bedrooms or even 9 different beds. When I use the word ‘places’, I refer to any spot where someone has kindly allowed me to sleep, and on this trip, those spots have included the following:
- Rock hard, queen-size bed
- Child-sized trundle bed
- Giant chair that Bruce Willis once used
- Top bed of a child’s bunk bed
- Several blankets piled up on a hardwood floor
- Twenty-year-old, dead bee-infested, pull-out sofa bed
- Extra long, foul-smelling couch
- Super short, foul-smelling couch
- Floor space on a semi-enclosed front porch
Every few days during this stretch, I packed my backpack and moved on to the next location, from bed to sofa, chair to floor and closet to bathtub. Ok, I didn’t really sleep in a bathtub, but if that was my only option, I would have gladly taken it.
In fact, no matter where I end up sleeping, you’ll never hear me complaining. Quite the opposite, I’m truly thankful for everyone who continues, year after year, to offer me a place to crash whenever I’m passing through. I know it’s not easy to have someone show up with their backpack, spread their belongings all over the place and turn a normally spotless hallway into a messy closet.
And that’s why I take no offense when some of you, over the years, have only been able to offer me a corner of your kitchen floor (I did appreciate the thorough mopping before I arrived by the way) or a faulty inflatable mattress that I had to blow up twelve times during the night. I’m not even mad at my friend who handed me two old towels and told me I could use those as blankets while sleeping under the dining room table. And to the friend who once gave me a sleeping bag and instructed me to sleep on the grass in his backyard, I hold no grudge, even after you accidentally locked me out of the house that night while I proceeded to get drenched during a rain shower.
I have no right to be upset. After all, I’m the one asking for charity.
So, to all of you who, especially over the past three weeks, have allowed me to invade your lives, who have allowed me to eat your cereal (even if you limited me to 1.5 cups of Honey Bunches & Oats and a half cup of milk per day) and who have allowed me to occasionally bathe, I thank you with all of my heart. Without your hospitality, I might have found myself sleeping on a small strip of grass behind a dumpster overflowing with trash, which is exactly what happened when a last minute miscommunication with a friend in Honolulu once left me stranded with nowhere else to go.
Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for opening your doors, sharing your shampoo and fluffing your pillows, all so that I could enjoy a decent night’s sleep!
How about you? Are you used to sleeping on other people’s sofas, beds or floors when you’re traveling around?