Couchsurfing…this isn’t your
The idea of couchsurfing is something many people hear and immediately think of every bad urban travel story they’ve ever heard. I think I’ve seen enough horror movies (Hostle 1&2, Tourista, Brokedown Palace) to know that travel can kill you…but usually only in the movies.
As a military brat I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of countries and all before I was 15. I’ve never once encountered a cannibalistic, ax-wielding, organ-harvesting host and I don’t believe I ever will. While traveling through countries as a minor I it was often with limited or little supervision and as I got older I never knew I was supposed to be afraid of traveling by myself.
I talk to people about my dream to travel around the world and I’m not afraid to do it solo, but it’s not that big of an issue. The thing that weighs on travelers is often the small bouts of loneliness that tend to happen when you find yourself somewhere new and don’t know a soul in the cityand this is where couchsurfing comes in.
Couchsurfing.org is a website devoted to helping strangers find each other. It is a unique way to travel and share experiences that could never happen otherwise and it offers a traveler a place to sleep. It can be an actual couch, a yert, or maybe even a boat, but it’s a roof over your head and an opportunity to see the cities and locations from the perspective of the locals.
Signing up is easy but finding people to host can sometimes be hit or miss. You should host a few travelers in your own home/apartment/abode and see what it is all about. Often the connections are brief and the idea is a cultural exchange that is beneficial to both the traveler and the host but sometimes it’s just a place to sleep while others go about their daily life.
There are stories of people having problems, but then again the world isn’t perfect. There are problems the moment you wake up in the morning, but to discredit the opportunity without serious investigation means you’re going to miss out on the chance to see the world in a way you may never have thought of.
There are many different videos available online to watch adventures in couchsurfing and there is even a documentary called One Couch at a Time where one woman- Alexandra Liss, and 3 strangers hook up to travel the world for 6 months and document the entire thing. They test the boundaries of sharing and living a nomadic experience. If you have a change to view it I highly recommend it, but you can also view similar types of adventures when you click through on some of the YouTube videos by people currently living the travel dream.
Spending the night on the couch of a stranger is something that many people have done in their life, it happens in our youth before we begin to lose the shine in our eyes. There are many more good people in the world than there are bad, and those that populate this little corner of the web at couchsurfing.org and people like Alexandra Liss are more than willing to share their experience.
Have you couchsurfed? Tell us about your experience.
For additional information on the One Couch at a Time Documentary <—- click the link if you’d like to know more about the creator then check out the link below from Thefourhourworkweek blog.
Alex had just returned from six months abroad, traveling through 21 countries for free while shooting her full-length documentary, One Couch at a Time. She was wrapping up the film and had requested an interview with me.