Pay it forward


Doing something nice for others can really make you feel good. What seemed to me like only a mild inconvenience was a great help to my guests, and I received word yesterday from each of them that they had finally arrived or were en route to their intended destinations. I also received many emails and texts thanking me for my hospitality, but really I just felt like I was paying forward a debt I already owed. During the time I was traveling around the world, I was welcomed in by so many people and shown a level of hospitality that I found amazing. Time after time people opened up their homes and their lives to me. And it made me wonder why in the US we seemed so guarded and untrusting and less likely to do the same for strangers. I resolved upon my return to do my best to correct that, and to be a better host myself. If I had the space and could accommodate, I would. I am very fortunate to have a nice apartment in the city and a spare (blow up, anyway) bed. And I really love the concept of paying a debt forward, because it spreads these ideas to new people all the time. My hosts in all those countries never expected anything back from me, and maybe they never expected anything at all, but they instilled in me a great desire to follow their example.  Between friends and family and various strangers referred to me by someone, I have had about 11 visits by some 15 guests in the past 9 months since I moved in. And each one of these visits increases our connectedness to each other, whether by friend, family or stranger. As the old year draws to a close, I can be happy that at least one of my resolutions has been kept, and will continue to be. Like the saying goes, “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.”