I'm hosting yet another great surfer tonight so I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you all about the wonderful world of Couchsurfing! For the last few years I've met friends from across the country, and around the world... had a home in every city I visited and a network of support in each new place I've moved. Couchsurfing can simply be a great way to travel on a budget, but for me it has become a lifestyle.
Couchsurfing is a website-based non-profit organization, more than a million strong, that connects surfers (travellers) with hosts in 230+ countries around the world. There's no payment involved, no real requirements other than safety, references and common courtesy, its not even a direct exchange volunteer=food/board kinda deal. That's the beauty of this concept - its an organic ebb and flow that can become whatever anyone needs from it (within reason - one thing Couchsurfing is not: a dating service). The Couchsurfing mission is to create inspiring experiences and hosting travellers from around the world has certainly given me cross-cultural encounters plus the travel fix I crave but can't have while I'm in school. Exploring my community time and time again as I connect and show new people around it illuminates the everyday, and the conversations and ideas people bring into my home on a regular basis are truly engaging. Opening your home to someone also creates an instant meaningful connection, although I've hosted far more than I've surfed, when I'm ready to travel I've got half a dozen countries on my list to visit people I've already met let alone discovering new ones!