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The 14 days of Valentine tribute to the love of couchsurfing comes to an end.  Thanks for your patience and Happy Valentine’s Day!

DAY 14 – ROSNY-SOUS-BOIS, FRANCE

HE: Recently returned from travelling – looking for a job

When we left Ireland, we returned to France and spent one night in a cottage in the middle of nowhere.  One of our least favourite places where the dominatrix refused to give us sheets and chewed me out for not cleaning the bathroom (i.e. washing the sink, toilet, shower with Vim) before we left.  Not that we had paid her $100 to stay there or anything.

Anyhoo, the place we arrived at next couldn’t have been more of a contrast.  We had briefly met this couchsurfing host when we dropped off all our possessions before we went to Ireland.  It was kind of surreal to pull up to his house, quickly introduce ourselves and then work together to haul all our junk into his basement before hopping back in the car and driving off.

Of all the couchsurfers we stayed with, I am least sure about where the next two years will find Recentlyreturned.  This young man had just come back several weeks before.  Where had he been?  He had been travelling, non-stop, for four years!  He had worked for a year in Australia and had used that money to travel all over Asia in year 2.  Year 3 was spent back in Australia saving pennies and I’m sure you’ve already guessed that year 4 was spent in Asia.  Now that he was back, I could tell that he was pretty depressed, particularly with the narrow-minded, superiority complex of the French.  His sentiments, not mine, but I knew what he meant.

no red labs2

Weird sticker I recently saw in Sugarloaf, Maine.

Weird sticker I recently saw in Sugarloaf, Maine.

We asked him where he would recommend us to go in Asia.  He asked us detailed questions to get a sense of our likes and tolerance levels before proclaiming Mongolia the perfect spot for us.

We invited him out to an Indian restaurant to mark the final night of our trip.  He was back living in his parents house but they spend half the year in Portugal and plan to sell their Paris (Rosny-Sous-Bois) house and move to the south of France to be near their other children and grandchildren.

The Recentlyreturned hat is a thin 100% wool beanie knit in sock yarn on teeny tiny 2.75mm needles.  We brought thin wool hats like these as well as thin wool mittens with us because we knew Northern Vietnam would be freezing cold in February.  In the end, we used our hats and mitts all throughout our trip even into the summer when we found ourselves at the top of snowy mountains in Europe.

I suspect it won’t be too long before Recentlyreturned hits the road again and I hope his hat will be of use to him and will remind him of a grateful Canadian family who benefitted from his generosity.  Did I mention that he got up at 5:30 am to drive us 30 minutes (one way) to Charles de Gaulle airport?

A thin wool beanie - the perfect travel companion

A thin wool beanie – the perfect travel companion

However, I have no idea if the hat will ever make its way into his hands.  His parents were planning to sell the house and I have no idea where he would move to next.  Part of me hopes he receives it and knows how thankful we are.  But there is another part of me that hopes that he’s already moved on and that my hat is undeliverable and ends up somewhere that I can’t even fathom.  There would be a poetic beauty in the final hat, the February 14 Couchsurfing Love Hat, being launched into the unknown.  Que sera sera, n’est ce pas?  And that is why this is the one hat that won’t be packed with a return address…