Lillie and I have been on the road for over 3 months now. In the process, through the car issues, lack of accommodations, and so on.....we've managed to be blessed with people. People we've never met, chance meetings, planned meet ups, and family we've never known. When you're on the road and you have technology, anything goes!!
While camping, I met some fascinating people with similar goals (ie. travel), as well as folks just getting away for the weekend just around the corner from their homes. The latter fascinated me!! WHY would you spend $50 to pitch a tent around the corner from your home??? Answer? They have kids!!! That's a pretty cheap getaway! Also camping, I met young people doing what I'm doing now....one of many things I should have done in my 20's! I also met mother and child spending quality time together biking, camping, and telling campfire stories. Older couples, getting out of their comfort zone and learning just how much they love each other in any and all situations!
I watch people. So does Lillie...just a little more distrustfully! Lillie didn't like the reckless boy on the bike at all!! She didn't initially trust the man with the completely complacent dog but he grew on her....as did his helpful sons. I learned about John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charlie" one day when I was half out of my tent, tying on my hiking boots. The woman with the son said she was thinking of me. She asked if I had heard of the book, which I had not. "It's about John traveling around the US with his dog!", she said. I bought the book in Portland at the famous Powell's Bookstore. I haven't read it yet but am excited about it! Since the trip began though, Lillie has allowed many children (or aliens, as she sees them!) pet her. It's been amazing to watch!
Couchsurfing, people have given up the comfort of their home to sleep in a tent so that I could have their bed. They've locked their cats away so Lillie could be comfortable and I could be anxiety free (Lillie and cats don't mix well). They've taken me on motorcycle rides up mountains, taken me out on the town, gave tours of their city, fed me, entertained me, over fed Lillie with treats, and just plain accepted Lillie and me into their lives.
I've met up with or enjoyed the homes of friends I haven't seen in over 35 years, family I never knew because I was too young, Facebook friends who were alumni in Italy as I was, and strangers who I came to know as friends of the road. I've also had the occasion of having my meal paid for by a dog fan who had stopped to give Lillie some loving. After hearing about our travels, she felt we were her "good deed of the day" people so paid our tab!!
Lillie has been way out of her comfort zone where strangers are concerned! She only trusts me! She's met countless people and their pets along this journey and has emerged "the sweetest dog in the world"! Okay...I added "the world"...but they all loved her! I can't count the number of strangers homes she's been in, the pets who have intrigued her, the cats who have teased and antagonized her, the campgrounds that have bewildered her, or the patience she's had when I couldn't find a place to stay! Lillie is a "one true love" dog but she's grown to accept that people aren't all out to harm her "true love" so she's relaxed a little bit.
Our lifestyle has been couchsurfing, camping, house sitting, and staying with friends and family. How could life be any sweeter than the generosity of these wonderful people along the way. God bless every one of them!! I'm beyond blessed in God's humor and his empathy!! ;) On we go!