Hey Team,

The generosity and diversity of Couch Surfers NEVER ceases to amaze me. Last night I got to watch the “News to Me” Amtrekker story from the comfort and warmth of an amazing Bed and Breakfast in Eugene (C’est La Vie Inn) before retiring to the Honeymoon Suite for one of the best sleeps I’ve had in weeks.

C'est La Vie

Granted its immediate competition was a brick wall outside a bus station and the bus itself…

Seriously though, this place is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in such a swank pad (too much Tiki Bar TV I think) before. It’s a Queen Anne Victorian (the kind people always call doll houses when they’re painted bright colors) with some amazing decor. Not that I partook but my room had a Jacuzzi tub in the bedroom area and a small kitchen nook. Honestly, I’ve never even lived in a place as nice as this single room. (I don’t know why that surprises me…it’s not like I’ve lived in a lot of really nice places.)

Jacuzzi Tub

I don’t know why I’m gushing so much. I guess I’m still just busy being blown away that someone would open up this kind of home to a stranger. I wish more people realized how great people really are.

When I started this trip I was just as surprised as the next guy by how universally kind people can be, but now it kind of hurts every time people say, “Aren’t you scared?” or “Isn’t it tough meeting new people?”

People like to feel good about themselves and helping out a kind stranger is such an easy way to do that. Now that I’ve actually experienced it and put some thought into it I’m kind of embarrassed that I was ever one of those people that didn’t believe kindness could be found so freely.

Train Set

John Steinbeck says in Travels With Charley something along the lines of, “We’re all much more American than we are Southerners or Northerners, Black or White, Old or Young.” (Obviously I’m paraphrasing to the point that I might as well be quoting Dumas but my point is…)

You don’t have to go very far beneath the surface before we all start acting out from the same set of incentives. So just for a second think about how you would act in a situation. Maybe your neighbor that you barely know wants to borrow a drill. Would you really hesitate to hand it over? Maybe even help with whatever project they have going on?

If a stranger approaches you in the street and asks for directions do you snub them or do you do everything in your power to answer their questions? (This one can go too far…if you don’t know the answer just give up. It’s so hard to extricate yourself from people that just start grabbing at straws and making endless guesses about which direction you should head. This happen painfully regularly.)

So if this is how you’d react to a situation (and granted these are small examples but it applies to bigger stuff more often than you’d think), and if we are all working off of the same basic incentives…why would you ever logically consider that anyone else would react differently?!

Kindness isn’t the exception, people. It’s the rule. Keep it that way.

I’m done.


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