Staff in the Wild is a Couchsurfing program that seeks to connect the staff at HQ with the community at large. We’re hosting travelers, organizing events and will be out surfing every week of the year. Request a staff member in your city!
Name: Alex Woolf
Role: Senior iOS Engineer
Where to? Kingman, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada
Couchsurfing makes a me a better… father
My eldest son, Chance, is a big fan of the Pixar movie Cars (set in a fictional town near Kingman) and I’m a huge fan of the Southwest landscape. More importantly though, I wanted to get off the beaten path and Kingman is one of our smallest Couchsurfing communities.
The People You Meet Along the Way
Our hosts in Kingman, Nick and Anie, are the sweetest couple. They welcomed Chance with a picture of his favorite movie character and when we first arrived, Anie sat on the floor and helped him build a puzzle. It was so touching to see her hold his hand to cross the street and help him into his car seat during our time there.
Nick and Anie were also brimming with interesting travel stories. In their guest room they’ve splayed out dozens of tourist attraction flyers, travel magazines and other fun reading material.
Our next host, Shanya, has an amazing farm in Northwestern Las Vegas. As soon as we arrived, we were part of the family. I now think everyone should spend time on a farm and witness an emu’s combination of speed and awkwardness!
Before arriving at Shanya’s, Chance had picked out candy in the shape of Lego and refused to eat it because he loves building things so much. Since there were animals around, I told Chance he couldn’t play with his candy in the house. Hearing this, Shanya surprised us with her older son’s giant box of Legos.
Her son had just recently moved out and after seeing pictures of Chance playing with his toys, he made an extremely generous offer to sell them to us. He decided to let go of a piece of his childhood in order to fulfill Chance’s. It makes me tear up again just writing this. Shanya even loaned us luggage to carry all the pieces home. I am floored and Chance is in heaven.
Couchsurfing means so many things to me, but the most fascinating is watching it mold my sons. Last year Chance was in a large, loud daycare. He was a chatterbox at home but almost silent at daycare. Now that he is becoming a Couchsurfer (and we fixed the daycare situation), he’s learning how fun and easy it can be to make new connections. He is becoming a more confident boy, opening up to new people and having a lot more fun in the process.
At Nick and Anie’s we took a trip Route 66 to the town of Oatman, an old gold minding town populated with burros and kitschy shops. In one of the stores Chance found a tacky (and very shiny) hair clip. He whispered to me asking if we could buy it for Anie. It was $6 and hideous. I almost said no but then it dawned on me what was happening. It melted my heart to see Chance returning the generosity Anie and Nick have shown to us.
Back at their home, Chance presented the hair clip to Anie. It could not be more beautiful, and I could not be more proud.