My travels took me no further than out of my armchair and across the room, this weekend. It was quite the fabulous trip!
When I am not hoisting myself out of that chair and running hither and yon, I offer accommodation in my home – it is what can be called a B & B. Well, really it should actually be called a B & C; you get a bedroom and coffee, but no breakfast. I really enjoy hosting because it is a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to welcome in my home a bike team from West Virginia. Four pals from Switzerland attending baseball games across the U.S. A group sponsored by their company, attending the Harley Davidson 110th Anniversary event. There hasn’t been a single person I haven’t enjoy chatting with.
This past Friday evening I had an incredibly amazing guest, however.
Angelika wrote to me early in the week and explained, “I am a German Travel Blogger departing to the US tomorrow on a three week Road Trip from East to West. I will be in Milwaukee for one day and a short night and was wondering if you would have a room for me. I am driving with a RV but I need good wifi for working in the evening. So if you offer wifi and if there is space to park my RV near by I would be grateful to hear from you. :-)”
I said yes to all of the above. After reading her bio on-line, I knew she loved good food. Since I was making a Balinese dinner Friday night, I invited her to join me, and she responded with a resounding YES!
The Bumbu was diced and ready to be sautéed. The Japanese eggplant was cut into slices, the tempeh was chopped, and the red Jasmine rice was simmering on the stove. Angelika texted and said she had arrived. I stepped out on the sidewalk to greet her as she pulled up in her large RV. She climbed down the steps from her perch behind the wheel, and it was friendship at first sight. She was wearing green boots; I had on my green Toms. There was a camera slung over her shoulder, mine sat on my desk. She was a passionate traveler and writer, as am I. Over the course of the evening, we looked at each other in amazement and laughed heartily over our many similarities.
Angelika stirred while I finished the dinner prep. We talked about our love of adventure and traveling off the beaten path. We spoke of our need for lone travel in order to immerse ourselves in a culture, and to meet people. The trip she was currently enjoying was planned around special people doing small, wonderful things in the United States. Although Americans don’t have a great reputation in Europe, she knew there were good folks living here! One of her planned stops was to meet the guy who uses paint to transform garbage carts into works of art in Des Moines, Iowa. In Milwaukee, she visited Harley Davidson to learn about their support of The Nature Conservancy’s reforestation efforts in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, through the Plant a Billion Trees campaign. Harley-Davidson kicked off its initiative by supporting the planting of 110,000 trees in celebration of the company’s 110th anniversary. Locally, the HD employees planted 110 trees in the Menomonee River Valley as well. Of course a couple hours riding around Milwaukee on a borrowed Harley was in order for Angelika as well.
While cleaning up after dinner, the course of conversation turned to books. Angelika guiltily admitted that she enjoyed the occasional crime story, with which I heartily concurred with no shame at all. Then she asked me if I had ever read any books by Sara Paretsky? Of course I had – she is one of my favorite authors, and her character V. I. Warshawshi, living in Chicago, is one of my heroes! My mouth dropped when she informed me she’d had lunch with Sara the day before, to talk about the author’s fundraiser for Sisters4Science, a Chicago non-profit that supports science education for girls all over the Windy City. Meeting Paretsky was a dream come true for Angelika, as it would have been for me!
We made a quick trip to Colectivo Humboldt Café for a cappuccino, and Angelika purchased a t-shirt with the company’s logo. I gave her a pound of fresh beans, and she gave me a tin of my favorite tea. Our discussion continued as if we had known each other for years.
At home again, it was almost midnight when Angelika said, “Let me give you my card so you have may email address.” She ran upstairs and came down with card in hand. I looked at it and said, “hold on a minute.” I ran upstairs and came back down with my card to exchange with her. We both laughed.
Angelika was on her way south and west at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. I am sure we will meet again.