My Life as an International Socialite (Why I Love Hosting Trippers)

Hosting Trippers rocks my world. In my world of addictions there's discovering new restaurants, food trucks and forms of chocolate, traveling, hiking - and hosting Trippers. Here's why...   It's Fun. You get to go to all the places that make you love living where you do. Those of us who live in cities like San Francisco with lots of tourists usually do our best to stay away from tourist hot spots. But they're popular for a reason, right? So we're secretly happy to take the occasional trip with a traveler to say Fisherman's Wharf or the California Academy of Sciences. [caption id="attachment_3673" align="alignright" width="640" caption="California Academy of Sciences"][/caption] Even just hanging out at home with Trippers is fun. I love seeing their photos and hearing their travel stories. Some of them have had such hilarious adventures that when I hear their tales I laugh so hard I can't breathe. One of my favorite memories of hosting Trippers is just sitting in our living room on a regular weekday night, eating pizza and chocolate and watching corny movies from the 80s. It reminded me of a really fun sleepover from my school days - only with no parents enforcing a curfew or limiting the sweets I ingested. It's Easy. Pre-Tripping, if you had said to me "Would you be able to have a guest over next week?" my mind would have begun racing. Had I steam cleaned the living room carpet? Did I have the fancy soaps for the guest bath well-stocked? Were the pair of candles I had in the living room the same color? What I have come to realize hosting Trippers, is that they are really easy-going. I have a clean apartment, but I don't stress trying to make sure the pillowcases, sheets and comforters match and are the appropriate color and pattern for the season. Trippers fit seamlessly into our lives. Sometimes they join us for dinner or breakfast. If they stay with us on a weekend, my husband loves to make pancakes and fresh jam. It reminds me of weekends during my childhood, when we would all sit around the table, passing dishes around and chatting and laughing. If we're hosting Trippers on weekdays, they usually head off on their own during the day and then join us for dinner - either out to our favorite local places or at our home. Hosting gives me the opportunity to make someone's travel dreams possible. Okay, I should say "the opportunity to help make... dreams possible." How cool is it that just by opening my home I get to make an otherwise impossible trip a reality? We hosted 3 Austrian Trippers, for example, who had criss-crossed the U.S. on their way to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Dubai. Imagine the cost of that trip without local hosts. [caption id="attachment_3679" align="alignright" width="640" caption="Austrian Trippers we hosted"][/caption] And even if it's not an epic adventure - if the traveler you are hosting is simply visiting your area for the first time, there is still that sense of wonder. It gives you a new appreciation for everything around you. In my case, Chinatown, which I travel through in a huge rush every morning, transforms into a magical place when I'm accompanying someone who is marveling at the sights, pointing out things I had completely missed but are really fascinating. It's a great way to practice languages. If you are like me and studied a few languages in university only to let them languish for lack of practice, hosting Trippers that speak that language (in my case French and German and Italian) is a great way to revive it. Or maybe you're like my parents and are retired and finally have the chance to learn Portuguese. What better way to practice than to host a Portuguese-speaking Tripper? Even the dog likes it. Our little dog is an attention sponge. He's the kind of dog that goes out for a walk and frequently random strangers will exclaim, "What an adorable little dog!" - and he will turn and look right at them, just soaking up the attention. When we have Trippers staying over, he is in heaven. I hope the Trippers I've hosted don't read this and realize I am a selfish little person and in fact by hosting them live the life of an international socialite. Actually I take that back. To them I say: thank you for including me in your journeys, and I hope to see you again soon - either as a host or a Tripper! ;)   - Anis