Stranger Love

My temporary mission in life is to travel as much as I can. But because I don’t love traveling, or at least I don’t love being a tourist or taking vacations, I must have objectives, things to accomplish in different places. Moving makes the time pass, and going to new places allows me to grow my family of strangers – my next new friends.

A couple of weeks ago a nomad from New York passing through London on a European vacation came to dinner here. She rented a room for a few nights in what she thought was London, but was really about an hour and a half from here. So when it was time to leave our dinner, “Road Trip Diaries,” it was too late to go home. What a lucky encounter! Christina slept in our guest room so we got to spend the next morning talking. The outcome was strange but wonderful.

I did a couple of Nomad Chef dinners in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago while we were on the run from our house that was overtaken by construction. Beverly Hills because there is a lovely little apartment for rent behind the glamorous house I rented last spring to do a couple of Nomad Chef dinners AND because the owner, once a stranger, has become my friend. So I told Christina, my new friend and fellow nomad, that I’d love to do some dinners in New York (the construction here is nearly finished, but not quite, so more moving) she promptly offered up her parents’ home (well, with their permission, of course).  They live in New Jersey and have a bunch of friends who would be up for a Nomad Chef food and musical evening. Part 1 of new road tour organized!

I needed to do at least one more dinner, one in New York City, in order to feel like I’d really accomplished something. This was the hard part. I don’t really know many people in New York, least of all people in this expensive city with dining rooms that would fit 25 to 30 people. Hmm… well, that is what social networks are for. I went to one of the more exclusive social networks that I belong to and sent 10 emails to 10 complete strangers, the only criteria being that they had offered their couches up to members from other places coming through town. Aha, open friendly people. I offered to cook, hostess, clean up and have amazing music and all they had to do is be the king or queen of their roost. Not bad, eh? I got 4 responses and one of them was stunning!

My new friend, still only a virtual one, wrote back that his mom always did big dinner parties so he has grown up with them and loves them too. He loved the idea of the roving Nomad Chef and took it upon himself to find a friend with enough room for our magical evening this Thursday, October 27th. He found an amazing venue in Chelsea, perfect for Alex Berger and Chrissie Poland to perform, and plenty of room for the perfect mix of strangers. And now I have yet another new, generous friend – his friend who has opened her home for our pop-up to me, a complete stranger! But it didn’t stop there. The new friend invited his parents who have also become my new friends, by virtue of some lovely email exchanges. We seem to have a strange connection with jazz and Alaska. Part 2 of new road trip organized!

Tomorrow I am off to New York, never having had so much stranger love and looking forward to meeting my new friends. In this new strange world in which I have been living the last few years, strangers have been my best friends. So very pleased to meet you! Part 3… stay tuned…

2 thoughts on “Stranger Love

  1. Deborah Huisken

    Hey, Shelley –

    It’s amazing what we find when we go looking (and ask)…

    Fun to read your affirmation of that. As one of your more recent strangers-turned-friends, I say “you go, girl!”.



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