Learning about Hospitality

Throughout our travels we have meant some unbelievably kind and welcoming people. Wes and I have been welcomed into people’s homes over and over again. People that we have just met have treated us like family or old friends. Each time someone new opens their doors and makes us feel special I am astonished all over again. I am learning so much about what it means to hospitable.

Wes and I love to entertain. We love to have people in our home, we love to cook, share drinks and spend time with people. We actually frequently had friends at our house in Oklahoma City, whether it was to celebrate a birthday, BBQ in the summer, watch a Thunder game or just to get together with our neighbors…we loved every minute of it! Looking back on it now I think I was pretty decent at being a host for my family and friends. I have watched my mom cook and entertain my whole life and I feel it comes pretty naturally for me. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to host holiday celebrations, girl’s nights and family get togethers (friend get togethers since we don’t have family in OKC) just like my mom! Although it’s natural for me to host family and friends, I think before we started to travel I knew very little about being a host for complete strangers. We always welcomed anyone and everyone into our home, but I don’t know if I was as good a host as I could of been to those people I didn’t know so well.

But I’m learning. I know now what it feels like to be a stranger in a foreign country all the time. I know what it feels like to vulnerable all the time. I know now what it feels like to need help with simple tasks, like figuring out how the heck to use the washer machine or where the nearest market is. I know now what it feels like when someone welcomes you into their home, offers to do your laundry, then pours you a glass of wine, gives you fresh figs from their garden, and then allows you to use their kitchen to cook a meal that reminds you of home. Lets just say that person was an angel for me on a very hot August afternoon in Spain. I also know now how it feels to be taken care of and welcomed by an entire family (three brothers in three different French cities and their most wonderful parents…each was more accommodating than the next). We stayed in Paris, Antibes and Toulouse with a different family member in each city. They cooked for us, took us to a museum in Paris, a rugby game in Toulouse, on a scenic drive to amazing little towns in Provence and gave us a comfortable bed to sleep in for numerous nights while in France. They were the most incredible hosts, I am still baffled by their generosity and kindness.

Each of the people we have encountered along our travels has opened my eyes and taught me something. We have met kind, loving, helpful people in every country that we have visited. I want to be more like these people, I think we should all be more like these people. I am endlessly grateful for all the help we have received from the numerous strangers along our way, whether it be just pointing us in the right direction, helping us find an Albergue on the Camino, picking us up from the bus station or letting us stay an extra night in their home because the entire town was flooded and we couldn’t leave.

I know I can’t repay all the people who have taken care of us along the way, but I think I can take what I have learned and be a host that truly loves people and genuinely welcomes them with open arms in my home.