I’ve just had my first experience of offering respite relief to someone who has been working really hard towards making XR work. I originally offered to host someone because I love where I live and it has been very healing for me living here. I also have spare space at the moment, so it makes sense to use it for something positive rather than leaving it empty.
I was afraid that a stranger coming, even someone from XR, might be difficult, so I started by being very clear about what was being offered. The offer was for self catering accommodation with a wood burner, gas cooker, mattress (but not necessarily bedding because we’re off grid except for mains water and we’re short of electricity at the moment) and some fresh vegetables (we have a market garden so it was easy to add an extra veg box to the list) and a few other basic food items. We have had a lot of Workawayers and WWOOFers over the years, so we realise how important it is to be clear at the outset what you are willing to offer and not to offer too much. The key thing for us was to emphasize that we would not be cooking for the guest and we would not necessarily be around for socializing – this was important to us as we tend to have a lot of people around and we need our space. Also, there was no expectation of them needing to do anything other than stay in the accommodation and rest.
What actually happened was that our guest was really thoughtful and interesting and I ended up spending a few hours working with her on the first day and talking A LOT, and then we invited her to eat with us each evening because she was so awesome! It was so much more rewarding than I expected and feels like we have made a new friend.