Through our 11 months of traveling we have visited and parked the bus at eight different friends and family locations. After coordinating our stay we try to be mindful and show up prepared, we know it just makes our stay better. Are you thinking about going on a trip where you have the opportunity to do this? You should! Here are some tips on being an awesome guest who’s likely to get a “come on back anytime!”
Give your intentions while staying… from planning to departure.
(Guest) “We’re here!”
(Host) “Hey…you… (WTF)”
Guests are great, unexpected guests, not so much. If you’re a nomadic soul and find through your travels you have family, friends, acquantainships that are willing to open their home to you for a period of time, don’t misuse it. Whenever we put ourselves out into someone’s life, and with today’s technology of phones and GPS routes, there are no excuses to not communicate and announce your arrival to the quarter hour. Why? Because no one likes waiting for someone to arrive when they can be using their precious time and schedule to still accomplish their daily tasks! Even if traffic suddenly emerges due to unpredictability text, “Hey, traffic is horrible, looks like the Navigation App says I’ll arrive at (insert new time). Just wanted to let you know.”
Furthermore, let your host know how long you intend on staying, what you’re looking to do when you’re there, and when you’re planning on departing. Don’t be afraid to ask to contribute to their finances with the extra consumption of electricity, water, food, ‘rent’, etc… or pay it forward in acts of service. Mow the lawn, cut some trees for firewood, cook a meal, weed the garden, or other efforts that you know people usually don’t enjoy doing. It’s an excellent way to show appreciation and they most definitely will appreciate it. I know I did as a former homeowner!
Lastly, try to adapt to their lifestyle. Are their kids in school? What time do they leave/return from work? Cook dinner and go to bed? By understanding their routine you can make your schedule around theirs to make your impact less visible too. Also, wash your clothes when they’re not home, take a shower during the slower hours, and accommodate when able (i.e. don’t sit in their ‘favorite spot’) ha!
Bring your own resources and/or contribute to the resources
“Sorry, forgot my toothbrush, do you have a spare?”
Kinda low on the totem pole but might cause more of a second and third order effect that you’re not aware of. This could be the odd story of how everyone just got new toothbrushes so there are no extras and the stores are closed for the holiday hours… Again, very basic but could be easily avoided. So how do you avoid being the guest who just needs to borrow a bit too much during their stay?
Make a list, save it on your phone! As time passes and you take more trips the list can be modified with exceptions to the list and things you “oh crap!” with down the road. This makes things comfortable not only for a host, but that you have everything you need on your trip and don’t have to make any excursions and can focus on having fun.
If during our visit we know we will be using our “hosts” resources or communal space we try to double up on paper/plastic products, coffee and items that can contribute to the sudden increase in masses.
Make/Pay for a meal
Treating someone or a family to food is a great way to not only ground yourself, but sharing food is as carnal as familial relations exist. Instead of buying meat, and veggies for just yourself while you’re out at the farmers market, buy extra with the host in mind. Or make breakfast pancakes one morning. 4Do make sure to keep allergies or general tastes they might not quite enjoy, in mind. If you can, use your own tiny home to prepare the food, or even an outdoor fire if the area allows. Shiang-ling, specifically purchases cast iron cookware because they can be used on both the propane and open fires/grills.
Serve and ENJOY eating outside, because if there is a mess, meh. Use the paper/plastic dinnerware that you so thoughtfully already provided and boom — super easy to clean up. If you’re not able to use your place, you’ve also got cleanup… that’s just how it goes. The goal is to create an experience for the host that brings home our most natural acquatainships with people by sharing food, drink, laughs, a clean kitchen, and going to bed content. It’s good on the health and healthier for your life and relationships.
You are making this night about your friends/family/host,let them feel appreciated and thought of.
Help clean up
We all know what its like to fall behind on your to do lists. If your visit allows you time, giving your host just a little and offer to help weed the garden or finish the fence. If it is just a short visit, offer to just clean up at the end of the day
It’s easily detoured when the host says, “oh please, you’re a guest…”. Don’t cop out, be determined, “exactly, and I carry my weight”. Don’t be afraid to help with the aftermath. It makes things quicker so other activities can be pursued and shows your host that you carry your own weight and some while around. Afterwards, make some coffee, step outside (weather and bug dependent), and just talk. Catch up on their life, hear about their goals and dreams, invest in knowing the people you call friends.
Leave it better than you found it
When preparing to leave (anywhere), clean up after yourself. Make sure you have all your personal belongings and shower/hygiene products. Then when you move your Skoolie Conversion (as it is in our case), be sure to do a thorough once over of the area that you were parked. By that I mean look for trash, resurface tire/leveling areas if able, and make sure it looks like you would like it to look if someone just left. Fun things to leave behind are little souvenirs or a printed picture on their fridge that you may have taken while there and had processed at a CVS. It’s the final stamp of approval from you and gives your host a fun picture to stick on the fridge. Don’t forget to date it and put your names on the back! Best of luck out there!