We’ve all been there. Settled into the daily work-home-eat-sleep routine, wanderlust begins to take over. Suddenly, the local flavor doesn’t satisfy you anymore. You feel your city has little more to offer you and a weekend trip to the neighboring state won’t be sufficient. You want to get far away but don’t have enough vacation time. In essence, the travel bug has hit and you don’t have any antibiotics.
Don’t forget, we live in a beautifully interconnected world, and with Horizon, you can bring the world to you! By hosting a traveler, you bring their language, culture, opinions, history, and tastes into your home. I was recently taught this valuable lesson when my wife and I hosted an acquaintance we had while teaching English in Taiwan.
Gary was one of the first people I met when I first stepped into my English school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He was friendly and showed me the ropes, but our contracts would only overlap for a few weeks as he returned to his home in Cape Town, South Africa shortly after my arrival. I didn’t hear from him for several years.
Fast forward three years and my wife and I are living in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. I am pleasantly surprised to get an email from Gary telling me he will be on a tour of the US and wants to stop in Colorado to see the Rocky Mountains. My wife and I decided to extend an offer for him to stay with us for his 3 day pit stop. It turned out to be a life changing decision.
Although we didn’t know him particularly well, we wanted to ensure his weekend was memorable. We wanted him to see Rocky Mountain National Park, watch a Denver Nuggets game, hit my favorite bars, eat Rocky Mountain Oysters (Bull Testicles… Yum!), and drink the finest craft beer. No guide book could provide Gary with the Colorado experience he was about to have.
Gary’s visit was an absolute blast. I relished in explaining the different types of beer to him, introducing him to our circle of friends, and remembering how truly beautiful the Rockies are. More importantly, Gary brought South Africa to us. He told us stories of his childhood during Apartheid, explained the intricacies of South African politics, taught us curse words in Afrikaans, and extended an open invitation to stay with him in Cape Town. It was a weekend we’ll never forget.
Hosting Gary altered my perspective. His stay reminded me of why I loved Colorado. His excitement rejuvenated my desire to travel and explore. I’m also now surprisingly well informed on South African current events!
Following his month vacation to the states, Gary told me Colorado was his favorite place, topping even NYC and Las Vegas. To make it even sweeter, we took Gary up on his offer and my wife and I stayed with him for a week in Cape Town and had an equally specialized local experience.
So there you have it. You don’t always have to leave home to travel. Hosting brings the world to you, and allows you to be the representative of your own culture, language, and customs. It generates relationships that build your global connectivity and you never know what can come from it! Traveling is a two-way street. You are either the host or the visitor, and with the Horizon community, you can travel all year round.