Two weeks before I left on my journey, a friend told me about www.warmshowers.org. I had never participated in couch surfing or any other informal exchange of meals or lodging, but after my first warmshowers experience in Portland, ME I became a champion of this incredible network of long distance cyclists and hosts. To date, I have stayed with 29 different hosts, and acted as host myself one night for another cyclist, in my motel in Dickinson, ND.
My warmshowers experience is universally terrific: hosts are generous, interesting people who represent a fascinating cross-section of our country. They are useful guides to local communities, insightful cultural observers, and astute commentators about ‘How we will live tomorrow.’
Lou Melini is a member of warmshowers Board of Directors. When people ask me, “Why ask a question about something we cannot control?” I respond, “We cannot control the future, but we will never achieve a future better than the one we envision.” Lou lives that idea. He has a vision for the future and is working toward making it real.
How will we live tomorrow?
“John Kenneth Galbraith, a former professor of economics at Harvard and Ambassador to India during the Kennedy administration once said; “Economic forecasting makes astrology look respectful”. Predicting how will we live tomorrow can be equally challenging. I would like to see bike trails, perhaps similar to some of the trails in Europe, established here in the U.S. It would be great to have those trails considered “parks” and cared for like any city park, with amenities such as cafes, campgrounds, motels, picnic areas, etc, along the trail. These trails would run for hundreds of miles. On the trails would be countless numbers of people traveling on pannier laden bikes to various places of lodging (including Warmshowers), seeing the towns and beautiful scenery and visiting with the great people that we have in the United States. That is my forecast for ‘How we will live tomorrow’. My forecasting is but a dream as most people are more interested in the creature comforts and conveniences of the auto.
“Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying; “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. With the future so uncertain, one needs to make their future, as an individual and as part of our society. I have, for over 40 years, made cycling a large part of my life: my hobby, my passion, my lifestyle; and that has fitted well with my professional career that I recently retired from. As a member of various boards I hope to be able to make the changes I wish to see in the world as described above. Being on the Board of Directors of Warmshowers is one of several cycling positions I have or have had to initiate change. Fortunately there are others that have done much more than I who are deserving of a lot of credit to make bicycling better for all of us.
“As a bicycle traveler, I have traveled in a manner that only a small percentage of people can appreciate. I have plans for more trips both by bike and on foot that should keep my wife and I busy for the next decade. As a Warmshowers host, I have been able to make the travels of others a bit more pleasant, perhaps a lot more pleasant. For now that is how I will live tomorrow and the next day.”