Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Little House On The Prairie In Downtown Cincinnati

     I called my friend Mike in Cincinnati and asked about staying with him as we had only talked about it briefly before I had left. He was real tied up with a lot and said he did not have much time but would like to see me. We arranged to talk once I got into town. I sent out a few Couchsurfing requests before I left New York in case my friend was not able to host me.

     When I arrived in Pittsburgh I checked my email and saw I had two couch offers from hosts in Cincinnati. Both were named Ryan and both I found out later were mechanics who work in shops right near each other. Ryan C works on Volkswagen's and Audi's and Ryan H on BMW's and they had actually seen each other through the industry but never had met on Couchsurfing.

     I stayed with Ryan C and his girlfriend Krystal in their way cool cottage! This cottage is located on old farm land inside the city limits. The cottage was a gem in the midst of the city. It had a very homey feel to it. Ryan and Krystal are brand new to Couchsurfing and were planning a cross country trip themselves. They were glad to host me and get some experience under there belts. They were wonderful hosts! They were very generous and accommodating.

     We shared a lot of similar interests such as eating healthy, organic and as natural as possible. We also shared philosophies and life experiences that enriched our time together. Ryan talked about Zen philosophy and practices and invited me to a Zen meditation group. The Zen practice was peaceful and enjoyable but they did chanting which I did not care for to much. I did like the quite meditation although it was hard for me to sit still the whole time as I am not used to sitting that long in what would be for me an awkward position. The one conducting the practice was very helpful and tried to help me be as comfortable as possible. Overall it was a enjoyable experience.

     Ryan and Krystal both liked the idea of my journey and the philosophies I talk about on this blog. We  had great discussions on many subjects. They told me about the trip they were taking cross country and their route was very similar to the route a friend and I had taken cross country. I shared some of my experiences with them of some the places they were going to be seeing. They were first heading straight to Denver to see a friend for a day and then proceed straight to California where most of the sights they had planned to see were at.  Denver was exactly where I was going next and they invited me to go with them.

     We all went out for the night to Sitwells in Clifton for some eats and entertainment with Ryan's father who I enjoyed having discussions with on Religion and spirituality. He is a Methodist minister who was retiring soon. I found him not to be to dogmatic but very open to spiritual ideas and concepts. The band that night was The Frenchmen, a talented 1920's music scene extraordinaire. All the members were lively and performed solos of great expression. The food was very good and I had a great time!

     Denver was going to be a straight through drive of about 16 hours only stopping to go the bathroom and stretch the legs for a bit. Unfortunately we ran into quite a snow storm half way through the drive with white out conditions which slowed us down to 20-40 miles per hour at times. It was a bit stressful but we made it through when many others did not. We must had seen at least ten tractor trailers jack knifed or completely off the road. One truck on the other side of the highway was blocking the whole interstate. Later on I found out that some people even died from that nasty storm! I praise Ryan and his skillful driving! He must have been exhausted when we finally got to Denver from our long 20 hour drive!

     Saturday night when I was staying in Cincinnati I stayed with the Ryan H. I had been staying with Ryan C and Krystal for about a week and they ask me if I could stay one night with another host so they could have a night alone together before they left on their trip to get ready for it. Ryan C gave me a ride over to Ryan H's house and they met each other and discovered they already knew each other from the shops they work at which are close to each other.

     Ryan H is very into the local Couchsurfing scene and meets with a group weekly for pot lucks and other activities.  He invited Ryan C to become part of the group that meets weekly. I went out with some of the group the next day for breakfast and an exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center and had a great time. My friend Mike had called and wanted to get together. He picked me up at the museum with his daughter and Mother. I knew his Mother and had not see or talked with her in a while. We went to this nice park in Cincinnati down by the river called Sawyer Point. I talked with Mike and his Mother catching up on things and talking about old times while his daughter was playing in the park.

    When in Cincinnati I discovered that the prepaid credit card I ordered was sent to the wrong address. It was going to take sometime to sent out another one so my wife sent me a money order priority in hopes that I would get it before I left Cincinnati. Unfortunately it did not come and the people who were house sitting for Ryan and Krystal while they were gone were going to forward it for me to my next destination in Denver. Although I did not have any money from the time I left New York until I got to Denver I was cared and provided for by my gracious hosts which in turn I am greatly appreciative of their support of me and my journey.

     I loved the movie Pay It Forward and believe in the principal that if you give to others you will receive in abundance back more than what you gave but not necessarily from the person with whom you
gave. Couchsurfing reflects this type of giving. I hosted several people when I lived in Sedona and enjoyed sharing meals and showing people around the beautiful sites of Sedona.  I never felt my giving was in vain but that someday when I wanted to travel people would host me and perhaps provide me with a meal in the same way I did with my surfers I hosted. I have received so much on this trip it has been an overwhelmingly joyful experience and I will be paying it forward!

     Thank you all so much!

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