Today, for the first time, I biked without any arranged accommodation and asked strangers if I could camp in their backyard. Yep, I’m sitting on someone’s couch writing this post now 🙂 It feels so liberating! I finally understood why some seasoned travelers love doing this.
About two weeks ago I started feeling stagnant with Couchsurfing. While staying with someone I have never met before offers a sense of adventure, reading their profile and arranging accommodation beforehand really limits the growth of spontaneity in my life. The sense of stagnation and excessive comfort peaked a few days ago. As a result, I camped for three nights straight.
Today, I was going to camp for another night, but upon arrival in Lompoc, I found the campsite to be very unpleasant and ridiculously expensive ($15 for tent-only with no water or shower). I realized that the opportunity had finally come for me to embrace more uncertainty! I continued biking for another 26 miles and found myself in a town called Orcutt. Exhausted, sunburned, and craving for a hot shower, I started looking around for houses. I knocked on a dozen doors, most of the houses were empty. One girl told me her mom is too sick to have anyone in their space. Two people said their backyard is messy, which sounds like the “I’ll be out of town” type of excuse on Couchsurfing. Another lady had potential buyers checking out her house. I was a bit bummed but reminded myself that knocking on strangers’ doors also takes practice just like anything else. If I try enough times, the probability of being rejected by everyone is statistically small. Seriously, if the chance of rejection is 90% per home, and if I knock 20 doors, the probability of being rejected by all is only 12%. So I kept on.
Eventually, I arrived at a lovely home with a sculpture of a smiling fish at the door. After hearing my request, the mom told me I could camp in their front yard. Two hours after I set up the tent, I was having dinner with this family of 6 on the patio in the sunset.
It happens to be the welcoming dinner for their eldest daughter who returned home for the first time after moving away across the country. The mom is a Ford-engineer-turned artist who also followed her heart to pursue her dream 30 years ago. All her kids seem happy, healthy and colorful. Their neighbor is an avid cyclist web designer who designed the websites for many major bike shops around the country. My bike knowledge was expanded three folds after talking to him and watching him tuning up my bike for just an hour.
Right when I was going back to the tent to sleep, the mom came outside and asked if I would like to sleep on the couch inside. So here I am, writing this post on this comfy couch. Now it’s time to sleep. From today on, I will embrace more and more spontaneity into my life!