We’re out in the desert again at Gilbert Ray Campground near Saguaro National Park, which is about 20 minutes straight west of Tucson. This spot has basically become our weekend home. It’s $10 a night, with plumbed bathrooms and beautiful views of the mountains and fields of saguaros. No wifi, but honestly, it’s a welcome reset.
It’s eight am and Lisa remains curled up in the back of the van, the couch still in bed form, hot water for tea heating up on the stovetop. She’s bullet journaling, which is this crafty form of hyper organizing your life in a notebook. I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it soon enough.
This type of camping is freeing, at least until you need to take a shower.
Luckily, this week we were able to get clean at new friends’ places. New friend whom we met on couchsurfing.com, which is like Airbnb, but free. At the recommendation of another who’d had good experiences, we gave the site a try.
How have we not done this before?!
First off, yes, I said free. And no, we weren’t even on a couch. Both times, we had private rooms and our own bathrooms in houses owned by women who, if not already, will surely be saints someday.
The first was a young (our age) doctor in residence. She was sweet and chatty and generous, as was her cat. We shared a bunch of meals over the two days we stayed with her, and used her centrally located historic house as home base as we bounced from café to library to cafe. We left with a new friend, a reinvigorated sense of human goodness, and promises to get a drink together sometime soon.
Later in the week, riding the high of the first surfing experience, we checked into another. Our host this time was a 55-yearr-old social worker who has two extra bedrooms that she uses to restate her altruism again and again by hosting travelers like us. While we were there, three other groups of surfers came and went. She was kind and welcoming to them all, as she was to us.
The two hosts we had were different ladies, to be sure, but they shared a basic kindness that you don’t see every day. Goodness for goodness sake. That’s a rare quality, and one that we were lucky to be around for a few days. We’ll definitely be couchsurfing again, and hopefully sometime soon, have the chance to play the part of host.
Because people are good; I honestly believe that. And the desert is warm. Sometimes you’ve just got to open a door to let the warmth in.
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