Happy Earth Day! Today’s post is the second from Boris and Anna, two Airbnb-ers crossing the USA on an electric bike.

Traversing the country by bicycle means slowing down. It means zooming in on the sights you’re passing and having time to reflect on your surroundings. Slow travel makes memories and associations with places stronger.

Had we chosen to travel in traditional lodging facilities, our experience would be so much poorer. The neatly arranged beds, the centered flat-screen TV, and the cheaply-framed Monet hangings would eventually start to blend into a blur. The differences between a motel in Ohio and a motel in Wyoming would be minute. We’d easily forget the faces, and more so the places where we stay.

Our hope with choosing Airbnb instead was to embrace the opportunity to create unique memories. So far, we haven’t been disappointed!

Our first week, we arrived in Baltimore exhausted and starving. But our worn muscles seemed to magically regenerate when we stepped into the home of our host, Deb.

Unique artwork decorated the walls. The neat, elegant space exuded complete peace and coziness. Deb opened up her entire home to us, and even offered her jacuzzi!

She showed us to our room and we were amazed to find a personalized welcome letter waiting for us – as well as  an impressive display of cow-themed decorations. (“Oh those! I grew up on a farm, so I like cows,” said Deb with a cheery smile.)

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She grilled a delicious dinner for us.

We were in post-cycling heaven. We savored this moment that we knew no motel would ever be able to provide.

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Even when we can’t spend as much time exploring a city as we’d like to, we always look forward to staying with a host each night. It unfailingly provides us with an authentic, unique experience that sticks in our memory. We’ll never forget Deb’s cows or her contagious smile.

Our style of travel will allow us to walk (well, limp) away from 70 days on the road having met an array of gracious, affable hosts. In the end, the connections we forge and experience we savor will eclipse anything we could see by zipping from destination to destination.

Read Boris and Anna’s next post, Ultimate Hospitality.