Do you know what #CouchSurfing is?
I am a #Couchsurfer and I love it to be a member. Of course you can check my profile there. 😉 Just click the picture.
As technology advances at rapid rates in our modern world, trends in travel seem to advance right along with it. Nowadays, there are thousands of apps to help you plan your train itineraries, to text your friends back home for free, and to check into your flights and hotels on the way. Among these technological travel trends, my favorite and most cherished one is the online community called couchsurfing.
This online community is comprised of thousands of fellow travelers who wish to meet adventurers from all over the world. In order to do this, CS “hosts” allow backpackers or travelers to crash on their couches at no cost. The exchange of enlightened dialogue and storytelling is enough compensation for these hosts. In return, the couch “surfers” experience the city they’ve visited like a local and often, gain a free tour guide who knows about the random beauties of their hometown.
On German TV I saw a reporter and he was visiting Israel and it was so interesting that I decided also to visit the page from #Couchsurfing. He was traveling via #Couchsurfing. In an effort to save a little bit of money and feel more at home than at a hostel or hotel. A hotel is ok, but to feel more like home is more interesting. Also you can see places see where tourist cannot going or they don’t know all insider tips. I decided to give this a try. I made a profile on www.couchsurfing.org, and filled out the extensive personality profile, which ranged from why I wanted to join CS to my most adventurous memory. From this profile, CS hosts can see if I would be a good match as well as if we have common similarities. Also, when requesting to stay at a certain CS host’s place, I was required to explain what I wish to accomplish when visiting the city – party, museum hop, walk around aimlessly, etc. That way, the CS host can determine if he or she would be the right match for me.
When it comes down to it, I know many of you are thinking, “Steph, this all sounds great in theory, but how is this even remotely safe?” The answer: You’ll never really know until you try it. Ok my first CS experience wasn’t good. My grandma died and I was thinking to take a small break in Sweden. I was sleeping in a dangerous area of Malmo. He was from Brazil and he was thinking that sex is helping…… Really it wasn’t a good idea to visit in a bad situation strange people. The good thing is it was just this negative situation. The good thing is that I met Klaus Menzel. I was waiting for the Stena Line ferry. He is from Germany, but he was living in Australia. He crossed many countries with his bike. The picture is the not the best quality, because I wasn’t not in the best situation. That’s not important. He gave me wise tips and spoke about his stories from the travelling adventure and his life. By the way you find him also on YouTube. I will never forget him this is sure. I should print the picture from the ferry. You are an angel Klaus. Will never forget you and I follow you on Google+. 😉
Then I started to host people around the world. “I love to host because you meet so many cool people from all over the world, and they all bring great travel stories and experiences and sometimes gifts. Most of the people are fun and very friendly. Also, you try a lot of new drinks and food, which is really cool. Couchsurfing hosts are most often outgoing, adventurous and kind people, who just have a passion for travel and really try to help you experience the most of their culture and their hometown.” I met also Nafis he is famos photographer. He took pictures in my home for his project and this is really a friendship forever. Nafis is awesome. He was cooking and it was tasty.
What’s great about hosting is that you get in touch with other cultures, even when you don’t have the opportunity to travel, I love that most of the time the ‘surfers’ are the kind of people you get along with so easily. Sometimes, even two or three days can be enough to make you feel like you’re not hosting guests, but you’re having friends over. That’s why I always try host people who seem like they’re open-minded and have stories to tell. But on CS, that’s pretty much everyone. I had the chance to meet adventurous travelers from all over the world, who would now and then find shelter in my museum-like flat in downtown Hamburg and recall exciting stories from their past or recent journey. We exchange philosophical ideas, travel suggestions and music and reaffirm our commitment to conquer the world on foot. This strengthened my belief that CS is tailored for our times. For those who still hesitate to use it, well, there’s always a small risk things will go wrong. But chances are, there’s plenty to gain. As with any aspect of traveling, there is always a risk with this community. Luckily with this community, you are able to report “creepers,” and make sure that no one else falls victim. All in all, my entire CS past, present and soon to be future has been excellent. I still keep in contact regularly with my old hosts. You get to experience cities like a true local, and learn so much more about the culture. I couldn’t have traveled through these cities any other way. If you’re up for the adventure, I definitely recommend creating a CS profile and reaching out to strangers across the world. Who knows, they may turn into lifetime friends!