Warm Accommodations: Host Housing
19″ We are looking forward to your visit! We’ll take everyone. If I get to eavesdrop on a conversation …on the day’s racing in the evening I am more than happy. Now I have a team to root for when I watch the race.” Michael Foley, Recreational Cyclist, Host Housing extraordinaire
In nine countries in twice as many years, I stayed in hundreds of homes at various training or racing venues. In all that time, I only had one really sketchy bed – the one where two large outside dogs slept and it was rainy season; and one bad experience – with a feuding couple just prior to their divorce. The smell and feel of wet flea-bitten dog sheets and inadvertent conflict for two nights was well worth the risk to become acquainted with all the other hosts. I owe a huge debt and will probably have company in my house as payment for the remainder of my life.
Benefits to home away from home include: visiting a place from a native perspective; instant fans; insight on routes; more control over meals or accommodating special diets; at times, but not expected, logistical support. In some host situations, I was able to give back and have a positive effect, even remedially influencing troubled relationships or watching kids grow up while reacquainting them to an active, healthy lifestyle year after year. But even that is no guarantee. There was one raucous night when the race organization put our team at an inn above the cantina – the party beneath us didn’t end until dawn. Needless to say, we started that day’s stage a bit bleary-eyed.
Host housing isn’t always the way to go, sometimes you want to return from a race and be alone to recover in solitude or with a choice of teammates who are restful. In that case, to make yourself at home in a hotel is an artform and there are certain tricks – like setting it up as you’d have it at home for ease and comfort. The best hosts know that hospitality means not entertaining you but making you feel at home.
Prayer for Hosts
“Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder…be inventive in hospitality.” 20Romans 12:11
We are grateful for welcome receptions. We confess we can never repay all the hospitality we’ve received from others in this community. We ask to be polite and housebroken guests and blessings on willing hosts.
Ponder Do I leave a place as clean as I arrived? Affirm I can groove into a household while setting up my needs. Watch how big your connections grow when housing is exchanged.
19Conversations with Mike Foley and family from an anonymous location. Let’s just say his area is host to an important race in America.
20The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.