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Giving More Than You Get (and Why It’s Impossible)

If only it were this easy.

When traveling, the immediate urge is to either splurge because you are on vacation (especially when you only get 2 weeks per year) or save as much as possible, scrimping and saving to get the most out of your money. I have my own tactics for how money should be spent, but there is one thing I feel you should always do, and that’s supporting friends.

Couchsurfing is a great example of people being generous when they don’t need to be. I have couchsurfed across many countries, and I have always been amazed at how generous everyone was. I’ve arrived in a new city and had a home-cooked meal waiting that was cooked by a complete stranger. I’ve had people take off days to show me around their city, seeing hidden little areas that I never would have found or even been able to get into without their help. I’ve even shown up to entire parties thrown to welcome me.

Nothing cures jetlag quite as well as a large group of people celebrating you.

I realize how much acceptance it takes to let someone into your life, and how much effort it takes to really make someone happy. With the amount of good will I have received in this world, there is no way I could ever pay back all the karma I owe.

I try to treat people the same way when they visit my town. I’ve given visiting couchsurfers the keys to my home and cooked meals for them. I’ve shown them around the amazing parts of town, and watch their reactions to make the next person’s experience even better. It’s strange and disorienting being in a new place, and providing some good anchors for people to orient themselves is priceless.

If someone inspires me, I don’t hesitate to tell others about it. If someone allows me into their home, I try to bring a small gift, or at least share enough amazing stories and listen to theirs enough that they always remember me as “the hilarious guy I can’t wait to invite over again.”

I’m writing this blog (and upcoming book) because I want to make your life better. I hear horror stories about travel every day, and I hear about amazing experiences that change lives far less often than I would like. Travel is a dream for so many people, and there is a lot of unnecessary stress around it. I want to help you leave behind all the things that make travel difficult so you can focus on finding the next experience that you will tell friends about for years.

I’ve spent countless hours in airports, train stations, bad parts of foreign towns, questionable sleeping situations, and generally awkward situations. I’ve also spent a huge portion of time meeting amazing people with lives that humble and inspire me, all while stumbling across life-changing experiences that simultaneously make me want to shout with joy and collapse into the beauty of everything.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life traveling on various forms of transit, researching crazy new gadgets that promise to make your life better, and they often end up breaking or exploding all over myself and strangers. Because of this, I end up talking to incredible people that quickly become friends.

I hope my experiences and the words I write here can help you spend less time worrying about how everything will come together and be ready at a moment’s notice to walk out the door and explore the world you live in. Just don’t forget to share your experiences with the people that matter to you, and support the people that inspired you to get there. Tell your friends, buy the art people make, and let them know you care.

In the end, people are what really matter, and the only way to let them know is by showing them.

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