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Okay, grand, I’ve got your attention. Works every time. That’s good because this is important. Pop quiz time.

What’s better than FREE BEER when traveling?
C. A bap
D. All of the above.
E. None of the above

If you guessed, A. You’re wrong. Musicians need to get paid, that’s right, they don’t play free music for tourists-seven nights a week, for nothing. At best you buy them a pint.

B. CRAIC, that’s always free. Ask Ned.

C. A bap. C’mon man, does Subway hand out free sandwiches? I don’t think so.

If you guessed E. None of the above, you’re right. Well done!

What’s better than FREE BEER? Gracious guests, of course. Remember when you’re traveling, you’re not at home. Get it? You’re somewhere else: visiting, touring, or just passing through. It’s important to leave a good lasting impression. You want to come back, right?

In my pack, I’ve got a secret zipper bag, with a stash. A stash of beer coasters, seeds, and postcards from home. I give these as token gifts to people I meet along the way, mainly the people we stay with. This stash of gifts are inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to pack.

I like to share my hometown, Portland, with a postcard. I’ll write a little Thank You note on the back and leave it on the nightstand when we leave. People you meet like to see the town you are from, besides Portland is so photogenic.

Beer coasters from your local pubs make great gifts. Steven, from Dingle Brewing, asked if we used them as trading cards. I chuckled, “You mean like baseball cards? No, just a gift for you. Maybe you can pin them up like a postcard.” I handed him a handful of Northwest beer coasters, he traded me a pint- there you have it, FREE BEER!

On our backpacking trip through Europe we brought flower seeds- California poppies. Probably couldn’t get away with that today. Along with a Thank You postcard, we would set on top a package of these seeds. I remember the guest house in Austria, her garden beds, her flowers. She’s probably has borders of poppies now, from California. What a wonderful souvenir. As a matter of fact, our Dutch friend, Arnout, recently said that his Dad looks forward to the bloomin’ poppies every spring, aboard his houseboat on the canal.

Now we travel with the little cardboard seed arrangements that are put in a pot, watered, and before you know it, an instant bouquet.

Sowing the seeds of love with our gracious hosts.

About Woody

The travel bug is contagious. I caught it in 1985 while traveling with Hali on a three month backpacking trip through Western Europe. Having a passion for geography, local history & culture, and with a journal in my back pocket, I hope to share our experiences through this blog – whether traveling the well worn rail, or off the beaten trail.

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