The Place That Rhymes With Fun

Ben Collins relives what is yet another great example of why everybody should join CouchSurfing

- Day 9 -

If you have no expectations it is very difficult to become disappointed and as such I have come to learn in the past few months that things tend to go better if you expect little, if nothing at all...


...Demonstrating this new style of what I call "oblivious by choice" I arrived in to Regina knowing only that its name sounds an awful lot like female genetalia and whilst I know I could just say "vagina" I felt it all sounded smoother when worded this way.

Anyway, the point is I didn't arrive knowing very much and the same can be said for my host, for walking up to his front door all I knew was that he was called Jordan, he was 21, and he was a student.

So ringing the doorbell, everything was to play for and answering this door could be anyone from a crazed psychopath to the love of my life. Both I have to admit were unlikely but, I've said it before and I'll say it again... when nothing is clear, everything is possible.

So at the front door of a house that wouldn't look out of place on Wisteria Lane I stood there red faced, dripping in sweat and smelling like I had died some time last week. It wasn't by any means ideal but having hitchhiked 600km to get here it was what it was.

Eventually, opening the door was a young guy with what seemed like a pretty good attempt at growing a beard for someone his age.

"You must be Ben" he said with vigor.

I had seen Jordan's photo on his profile and the guy in front of me most certainly wasn't him - Jordan I remembered as being quite thin and perhaps almost a little lanky for his height.

Caught off guard I didn't know what to say.

"Jordan?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

He laughed and introduced himself as Jordan's younger brother, Alec.

Thankfully, before things got awkward I heard more approaching footsteps and walking I assumed off the set of Desperate Housewives, Carolin, sprung on in with Jordan close behind her.

Together, Alec, Carolin and Jordan were terrifyingly welcoming and made my first night in Regina nothing short of a dream. 

CouchSurfing, I expected a couch. Here though, I was welcomed in to a large double bedroom sporting a king sized bed that came with three towels, four pillows, and no less than a dozen colour coordinated cushions. It did seem a little excessive but last thing I was going to do was complain.

After a hot shower and change of clothes I made my way downstairs where I was greeted by Jordan handing me a beer and Carolin handing me dinner.

Eating out in the conservatory I had the opportunity to find out a little about my three hosts, though if I'm honest I remember only a little of what they said. Instead, it seems that rather than focusing in on what was said, I focused in on how it was delivered - their tone was uplifting, their smiles and laughs were infectious and their manners were impeccable. Nevertheless, and it is difficult to describe, but something wasn't right, for looking in to each of their eyes I didn't sense they truly felt the level of happiness they had out on display.

For now though, this sense would remain just that and after the dishes were cleared I was gladly taken to the pub by Jordan where over the course of a few rounds I got to hear about tales of his travels in Africa and Mozambique. I also discovered in the latter part of the evening what it was that was missing earlier on at the dinner table - his Dad. Making what I had noticed now make a lot of sense, Jordan told me how his Dad was diagnosed with cancer only a couple of years ago and passed away four months later. And whilst this was never going to be uplifting it was I could see helpful for Jordan to talk about it with somebody who had, like him, lost a parent around about the same time.

By the time we eventually got back home I was drunk, though nonetheless was still able in my notes to write:
What I love about my life now is never having a clue what to expect and today demonstrates that quite well. I can go from sitting on a bus, to hiding under a bridge, to riding in a truck, to staying in this magnificent house and sleeping in the most wonderful bed! It is great.

- Day 10 -

With Alec asleep and Jordan in lectures I took a walk with Carolin around Wascana Park where we spoke about the loss of her late husband. Having only had a few short months warning it was clearly a very sad episode though what I found most interesting was Carolin told me how the death had energised her to do more. Relating to this entirely, we shared how both our experiences of death in a close one had in fact made us realise how vulnerable life was and, most importantly, how we should be doing our utmost to live them to the fullest we can.

And in Regina I felt I lived my life pretty damn well.

Joined by Jordan and Alec for lunch I got to try what is now my favourite meat - bison - before during the afternoon being given a full city tour by Alec. Dinner was tenderloin steaks and later that night Jordan and I went out with a couple of his friends where together we all got merrily drunk.

- Day 11 - 

I awoke happy. Not only did I seem to avoid the hangover I went to sleep fearing but I could smell bacon. Whilst I lay there in the warmest and most comfortable bed I expected to sleep in for weeks, Carolin was downstairs preparing an almighty fairwell breakfast - crispy, melt in your mouth bacon, freshly baked homemade muffins, fruit salad, fresh coffee and mango juice. It was, combined with the company, simply the most wonderful breakfast of my life.

I arrived in Regina with no expectation, only potential, and whilst even the highest expectation would not have prepared me for the hospitality I received, the lack of it enabled it to be all the more sweeter.

This is truly one family I will never forget and will be forever grateful for the grace and kindness they gave me.

Stood alongside Jordan, Carolin and Alec on the morning I left destined for Medicine Hat
Reference provided on CouchSurfing by Jordan: 

Ben and I had an excellent time together. He was an absolute pleasure to host and we had a great time hanging out at various pubs around the city talking about anything you could imagine. Ben is a very go with the flow kind of person and we had many great conversations where he shared his reasons for doing his trip. He is an inspiring figure as he convinced me that hitchhiking is an excellent way to see a country. I wish you all the best with the rest of your adventure.