Using the GlobalFreeloaders and CouchSurfing websites to plan my overnights, I stopped in Walla Walla on Wednesday evening on my way to Moscow last week. I was invited to stay with a woman and her 20 year old daughter in Walla Walla. I didn’t really know what to expect given this was my first “couchsurfing” experience. I have to admit that my expectations were pretty low — I had never been to Walla Walla and didn’t know what to expect from this small town in Eastern Washington or from my host.
I couldn’t have been more delighted.
Arriving around dinner time, I was greeted by my host, Patricia, and a small contingent of Walla Walla residents who also have a hard time keeping their roots firmly planted. Over delicious soup(s) and Walla Walla wine, we shared travel stories, jokes about NJ (hey, I’m FROM there, so it’s allowed) and heard from Patricia’s daughter who is headed to Ecuador in November for a month of volunteer work.
My new Walla Walla friends
If it hadn’t been a “school night”, the evening could have gone on into the wee hours, I’m sure, as there was a lot to chat about.
I slept in a spare bedroom, had wireless access and was sent off the next morning with a bag of goodies including fruit and yogurt.
On Thursday, I headed off to Moscow and “checked in” to my next couchsurfing spot. I stayed at the home of a couple of university students, two young women who are both sophomores. Unfortunately, due to their schedules, I barely got to see them but slept well on their couch after a long day of driving and my speaking events.
Though it took me longer than I had expected, I drove all the way back to Seattle on Friday from Moscow (6.5 hours). It gave me a chance to reflect on the experience, marvel at how the internet has made these types of encounters possible and relish the next month as I continue my travels around the Northwest and West Coast.