The Act of Hospitality

by Kara Kaloplastos

This week has seen me on the road like never before. I am in the throes of a cross country trip and have been photographing a lot of material for SuicideGirls, the site that I submit photography to.  I don’t have a lot of money to stay in a hotel every night, so I’ve been staying with people I know through the site, relying on the hospitality of acquaintances I know little about to get me across the country. In this case, I’ve been shooting as trade. How has my experience been so far? Well, the hospitality I’ve experienced from people I have stayed with is the reason which prompted me to reflect on it.

When I put the ad out this summer that I would shoot for trade for those who would let me and a friend stay for the night, I didn’t expect a lot. What happened, however, was that people around the country responded and welcomed me to their homes if I needed a place to stay. It flooded me with warmth to know that so many people were willing to be hospitable. It makes me consider the importance of networking, especially among your hobbies and those who share the same interests as yourself. It is so nice to know that people are willing to be so hospitable, even though they might have their own busy schedules to attend.

I have been welcomed into the homes of many lovely ladies I photograph for the site, and everyone has been so helpful — making us a bed, offering us some beers, making us French toast in the morning, throwing us some gas money, and the list goes on. This makes me consider the idea of karma, as well. It makes me want to become more hospitable in my own life, have more friends over from out of town, host more dinner parties. There’s nothing more important than meeting new people and also reconnecting with old acquaintances. It’s good for the soul and it opens you up to the ideas and goings on of other people’s lives. I highly advise it. Go out on a limb. Open your space. Give a little more. It will definitely come back around.