When I left the library, I decided to call my couchsurfing host, Anita. I had sent her a text earlier that morning (later realizing it was her landline that received my text message).
I wondered why she had not returned it?
Rather than jumping to conclusions, I nervously called.
Technically, it was around noon, so I thought it was not too early to invade her home.
That is one concern about couchsurfing: you never know what time is too early or too late.
Spanish moss along a nature trail
located near Anita's home.
Needless to say, my worries were allayed when I heard the warmth in her voice. She insisted I head over immediately and offered directions.
I arrived without any hitches. Did I mention the overcast skies had disappeared, too?
As I was turning a corner, I could see Anita waving me into her place. Following a brief introduction to her neighbor, she showed me her spacious, artsy, uncluttered villa. It was wonderful to be in a stationary place and comforting to know that a stranger was looking forward to spending time with me.
She showed me where my room and bathroom were located while simultaneously preparing her jasmine rice and crock-potting some beef and broccoli.
We began with her life story. She shared many memories from her 75-years. Children, grandchildren, husbands, careers, travel experiences, and just life in general. Little by little, I shared mine.
Interesting isn't it?
How much one can go on and on with a complete stranger.
Despite having very different backgrounds, despite being raised in different generations, we had quite a bit in common. Like me, she is one of four daughters; like me, she loves adventuring; like me, she enjoys discussing politics.
I guess that's why they call it the human experience.
The more you share; the more you learn how alike you really are.
While I could go on and on about Auntie Anita (she'll pick up on that reference), I would much rather keep the experience I had with her to myself.
She should remain a mystery. Not just to you, but to me, too.
Sort of like those beautiful flowers you see on the left.
I have no clue what sort of classification these blossoms are, nor do I wish to copy and paste the photo into Google to find out.
Let these flowers remain a mystery to me.
Obviously, they were stunning enough for a photo-op.
Do they, too, need a back-story?
The more telling part of my experience with Anita was how important it was to share -- not just with people one's own age -- but with people across generations.
Sharing is one reason why she opened up her home on couchsurfing. Sure, she could make a lot of money on airbnb. Her proximity to Tampa is reason enough. However, she chose to offer it free of charge for people like me.
A complete stranger open to sharing.
Until we meet again, my friend.
[Thank you to the Coastal Region Library in Crystal River (and more specifically to Aaron) for giving me extended Internet time to create this blog post.]