Dale sitting with our new friends - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Sitting in our hosts front room eating the fresh vegetarian meal that we’d watched and learned how to make, neither of us could really believe how we came to be there, let alone accepted an offer to stay the night – all via Reddit.

It all began a few weeks beforehand after we’d spent some time searching on Couchsurfing so that we could not only meet with and learn about local life, but also so that we could learn something from their vegetarian or vegan cookbook that we could add to our own; an idea we came to so that we could not only replace all of those meat-based recipes from our own cook book since going vegetarian during our travels, but also so that each time we made it in the future, we’d remember our time spent together.

We’d had some good luck so far, met some locals in Switzerland who we loved and shared a great time with, but we felt like there still must be many great people out there that we had still yet to connect with. We’d tried using our Twitter account in the hope that we’d find someone, and of course we’d tried the same with our Facebook and Google+ page too but the results weren’t quite what we would of hoped for. So we thought to ourselves, “is there anywhere we haven’t thought of?“. There was.

One of the biggest online communities that collects together online, how had we not thought of that sooner?

Reddit.com – What Is It?

According to Wikipedia

Reddit […] is an entertainment, social networking service and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links.

With over 3 million registered members and over 114,540,040 visitors in June 2014, it’s a fantastic community where absolutely anything can be shared and discussed, and it’s where I personally find out about so much; such as music recommendations, world and local news, how my beloved world of football is ticking along, and of course; inspiring travel stories and photographs.

Dale surfing the internet - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Engaging The Community

Seeing as questions can be asked on pretty much every subject you can think of, we talked and decided that starting a discussion on the community pages for vegans and vegetarians to ask for recommendations and the possible chance to meet up and learn some recipes couldn’t do any harm, and as we later found out, we were right to think so.

Having given everyone a rough idea of where we’d be in France and Spain during January we soon struck up a conversation with one user who said that if we were heading towards Toulouse she’d love to share a meal with us, but also that if we had no luck in finding a Couchsurfing host or somewhere else to sleep then to keep them in mind, an opportunity that really had us thinking.

We’d not really considered Toulouse as a possible destination, but once this opportunity had presented itself we felt that the chance to meet with a local and spend some time learning a little about them and their vegetarian lifestyle in France was too good to miss.

Dale and our Reddit friend making vegetarian food - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Agreeing And Arriving In Toulouse

After discussing the chance to meet up, eat and stay, we made our preparations to travel on a cheaper than the train, car share; we arrived in Toulouse full of excitement for the day ahead. We’d not have long in the city as we knew we’d soon have to move on the day after towards Barcelona where we’d be staying with a friend, so once we met with the really friendly boyfriend of our new vegetarian friend (due to her having to work) we dropped our bags down, talked a little about life for vegetarians and vegans in France and our travels before we set off, explored and fell in love with Toulouse.

Panorama of a street in Toulouse - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Returning ‘Home’

After finally meeting with our Reddit friend in town along with her partner and having taken a drink or two in a fantastic alternative bar, we made our way back to their place to learn a little from their cookbook, documenting the process with photos and notes along the way so that we wouldn’t forget.

First of all we began by making a leek quiche with vegetarian soy cream that was ever so simple to put together, but something we hadn’t tasted since we had a kitchen of our own back before we started travelling in 2012. It was interesting to bring everything together whilst discussing why we all used soy alternatives to this product or that, what some of our favourite meals are and the benefits of following a vegetarian and vegan diet.

Pouring the eggs and soy cream mix on the quiche - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Whilst talking and laughing together as we made the quiche our host prepared some rice whilst I took care of the salad, but after those two brief jobs were taken care of we stopped, watched and learned how to make a chocolate and banana cake with all of the measurements made using a yogurt cup! Not so surprising to some of you, perhaps, but a first for me!

Emptying the yogurt into the bowl, we used it to add two cups of sugar, three of flour, half of its size of oil and a few eggs. For flavouring we also used some natural vanilla, a ripe banana and plenty of chocolate!

Dicing the chocolate for the cake - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local
Adding the chocolate to the mixture - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

With the quiche beginning to golden on top and the rice ready to serve, we took everything into the same room we’d be spending the night and began to lick our lips in anticipation. Taking it in turns to slice up and help ourselves to the steamingly hot and delicious quiche, and to spoon huge heaps of the rice and the salad onto our plates; we talked more about their lives and how they felt living in Toulouse and it made for the most engaging part of the night. It was really interesting to hear their perspective of the city, but also of how they feel about the same subjects we care about – travel especially – oh, and the food too. It wasn’t long before we all finished and proceeded to eat every last piece of the cake.

The finished Leek Quiche - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local
The finished chocolate and banana cake - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Staying The Night

With only a few hours in which to share and enjoy each others company, it wasn’t long before we felt the need to get to sleep before our early morning rise and departure to meet with and catch our car share to Barcelona, but we didn’t let either of our two fantastic hosts go to sleep without knowing how thankful we were for their having taken us in for the night and also for sharing not only their food and their home, but also their lives with us.

Of course, when the morning came we crept out of the house without wanting to wake them, though we would have poured our thanks on to them once again if they’d have been up that early.

Slicing up the food - How We Used Reddit To Meet, Eat & Stay With A Local

Thanks To Reddit

To think that our entire night, the experience and the chance to meet with these two great people came from Reddit, a community you might think people only converse via their usernames rather than in the flesh, made Franca and myself feel completely over the moon and so eager to do it again, and given the chance we’d love to. In fact, we’d love to read of more people meeting via Reddit such is the great mixture of people on there just waiting to be connected and met with. Why not join today?

We have high hopes that this won’t be the last time that we meet with someone via Reddit, we have even higher hopes that one day in the future we’ll have someone coming to meet, eat and stay with us when we finally put down some roots. And if you’re reading this right now, fantastic couple in Toulouse, thank you again so much from the both of us for the unforgettable experience!

Would you like to meet a local through Reddit?