Late afternoon on Day 3 we left the canyon and headed to Flagstaff, for our 1st couchsurf. Couchsurfing.com is a beautiful, old idea - hospitality - updated for the 21st century. Travellers and hosts meet online in a network, sort of like myspace. You have a profile and can view other profiles and search for hosts by location. There is a vouching system so you have a modicum of reassurance that the stranger you are about to let sleep in your home (or visit for the night) is not an axe murderer. But there is definitely an element of risk. You have to trust your instincts as well as have faith in the concept.
I love the simple, off-the-grid, no-money-exchanged aspect of it, as well as the opportunity to practice the ancient art of hospitality.
In Flagstaff we met Dallas Scott, a 21 year old student of Nutritional Anthropology (who knew there was such a thing!). She embodies the Couchsurfing idea - it's not about impressing anyone with your matching towels - it's about curiousity, warmth, sharing of food and ideas.
Dallas was a gracious host despite the fact that 2 sets of surfers arrived on the doorstep of her little apartment AND she was in the middle of moving. She made us a lovely dinner and we had great conversations about travelling in India, organic farming and gluten free recipes. She is the kind of earnest and idealistic young person that gives me hope for the future. Here's a blurry picture of us there.