The holidays can be a lonely time. And they can be extra lonely if you’re travelling all on your own.
That’s what 21-year-old Bob Weavers was thinking, when he posted to the Vancouver Reddit web forum earlier this month.
Weavers, on a round-the-world backpacking trip, decided he would ask the city if anyone would take him in for the holidays.
“If anyone’s got a spare bed and can put me up for a few days I can help peel the vegetables and wash up after the Christmas dinner – just to hang out over Christmas and be somewhere nice… presents under the tree, and getting up early, and all that.”
But Weavers says he expected one or two messages, and had no idea his request would go viral. Before he knew it, he had more than 200 replies, with people inviting him into their homes.
“My phone was just downloading and buzzing and buzzing with them.”
He’s since chosen a family in Coquitlam where he’ll spend a few days – after picking up a few Christmas gifts to bring.
“There’s lots of people my age that have roots from England, and a couple of people who are from England. So it’s going to be a sort of hybrid English-Canadian Christmas.”
He says he’s blown away by the kindness, but says it’s all a part of travelling in the 20th century where websites like Reddit and Couchsurfing.com can help connect travelers with locals.
He says social media has helped him make friends in cities around the world, from Iceland to Montreal.
“People just meet up and show me around the city and give me a personal tour – and show me where the best places are to have a pint and have something to eat.”