One of my fondest travel memories happened while I was cycling through southern France and northern Spain with a very good friend. We'd had a terribly hard day of riding, preceded by the worst night's sleep of the trip. As we came around a curve, a valley opened up on the right side of the rural road and we pulled over for a scenic break. While we were stopped, a pair of cyclists rolled up to us from the other direction, gazed out over the valley, and we started up a conversation. The pair were a father and daughter who lived in the next town, Mazamet, where we had planned to camp that evening. Instead, they invited us to their home--which turned out to be a gorgeous old chalet. We stayed there for three days with their big family, eating amazing food and hanging out. It turns out one of their sons had ridden his bike from Alaska to Uruguay (!) and had encountered just that kind of hospitality along his way, and they were returning the favor to the world.
I'm from Chicago, love hot springs and saunas, am an avid reader (comes with the territory as a PhD student), i work in philanthropy, and like hanging out with my partner and our pooch.