One organization that added another dimension to our travels was an organization called Couchsurfing.org. It’s a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit. We have met several people along the way who have shown us amazing hospitality and who have given us local insights on food, politics, and culture.
When we returned from our trip, we thought it was our turn and decided to pay it forward by hosting Couchsurfers from Belgium. Nicolas and Wendy, along with their American friend Josh, were taking a classic American road trip from Atlanta to San Fransisco!! They stopped through Austin and got a little taste of Texas, and even left with cowboy hats and boots. 😉
It is cherry blossom (Sakura) season in Japan right now.Â Hanami, the custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, usually happens between March and May, and thousand of Japanese head to the parks to hold parties under the flowering trees until late into the night. Sakura blooms themselves only last about one week in one place, and from what I’ve read on my Couchsurfing.com Tokyo forum, there are some travelers who plan on “chasing” them for 6-7 weeks from south to north Japan to extend Hanami. HOW COOL IS THAT?
I was saddened by this, as we are in Texas at the moment, and not in Japan. But to my delight, our Redbuds are blooming right now in our own backyard! It almost seems that overnight, the hot pink blooms have doubled in quantity, on cue,Â just for me. So, although we aren’t able to officially join Hanami in Japan, I am going to have a little party by myself under my Redbud, right here in good ole Texas…