i tried couchsurfing and this is what happened.


On my recent road trip from Miami, FL to Cleveland, OH, I stopped last minute in Nashville and stayed with a Couchsurfing host.


I had been speaking with a friend in Atlanta who had recently used Couchsurfing to stay four months in China. In fact, he had used it for nearly the last two years while traveling.  When I mentioned the next stop on my trip was likely Nashville, but didn’t have a place to stay, he referred me to one of his past hosts.


It was my first ever CS experience and I immediately understood why people love it.


From her picture, my host, Judy, looked to be in her mid to late 50’s. After checking her extensive list of positive reviews, we confirmed that I would stay with her that night. She replied that dinner would be served at 7:00 and she enjoyed white wine.


I showed up with a bottle of Pinot Grigio in hand.


We had more in common than we could have imagined.  Judy is a published author, yoga teacher and aromatherapist. We talked late into the night, moving from the kitchen to the half open garage for fresh, cold air.


Hours passed as we shared our stories, lessons and trials.


Around one in the morning she exclaimed, “Oh shit! I have a yoga class to teach in the morning.”


Then she looked at me with a grin. “Actually, I challenge YOU to teach my students!"


Before beginning class

Before beginning class

The next morning I had the honor to teach the ladies that come to her home every week.


Her introduction went something like, “This is Jen, she's my Couchsurf guest, was a yoga teacher in Miami, and now she’s going to travel the world!” This being said to a group of retired women in Franklin, Tennessee. As you can imagine I had intrigued them.


After class we ate everything bagels, you know- the kind with ALL the toppings. (I had never eaten one prior but craved them for weeks after my trip and bought a package when I got home. I am sure this has more to do with reminiscing rather than the actual taste).


That night she invited me to karaoke with a few of her friends. We sang “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and were wonderfully off tune.


I stayed an extra night thanks to Judy, who by the end of my trip officially went by Mama Judes.


Truth be told I could have stayed a lot longer.


It wasn’t until I finished my trip and grounded temporarily in Ohio that I reached out to her again.


And low and behold, I had missed her email. it was a short story she had authored.


I miss you already. Love, Mama Judes.


Every once and a while life will introduce new characters, and while the encounter may be brief, it is nothing short of meaningful.


Stay open to these new, heartfelt encounters.


And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll find your very own version of Mama Judes.


Jen Cannon