Have you heard of couchsurfing ?
I hadn’t until a few days ago when I met my friend Melissa Adams, a fantastic travel writer, who moved from Newport Beach, California, to Amsterdam, Holland. She wrote a story about her biking safari in South Africa, and other Gutsy adventures, called “Follow Your Dreams and Find Yourself.”
Melissa explained how couchsurfing has been a wonderful experience for her and how she’s been able to make new friends from around the world, either by hosting them at her place in Amsterdam, or by staying on their couch/spare bed, in foreign cities for free.
I started thinking about how many options we have in life that we don’t take advantage of, due to lack of knowledge, fear, or some other reason.
I’m sure most of you are thinking, how safe is couchsurfing? I asked Melissa to explain this, and why anyone would consider couchsurfing.
“I learned about couchsurfing through my son, Blake, when he was studying art in Florence, IT. The concept fascinated me as a way to meet locals and experience destinations the way residents, not tourists, experience them. Since 2007, I’ve surfed couches in Vienna, Jerusalem and Paris. For the past year, I’ve hosted guests from around the world in Amsterdam, of all ages and all walks of life. I’ve never had a bad couchsurfing experience. Indeed, my visits to foreign cities have been enriched and deepened through the eyes of locals. And my guests have taught me so much! I learned how to make homemade mayo from Austrian world-traveler Angie and how to travel to the Galapagos on the cheap through Ecuadorians Juan and Leo. My friendships are now global and I’m confident any of my past guests would gladly host me in their cities.
Yes. CouchSurfing is committed to making it easier for all people to explore the world and share inspiring experiences. It will always be free to join CouchSurfing. Hosts should never charge their CouchSurfers; anyone who does will be removed from the site. Most CouchSurfers do like to thank their host with a small gift or an act of kindness (such as cleaning the house or cooking a meal), but this is not required and should not be requested by a host — the only thing that’s expected is an inspiring experience!
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- Is CouchSurfing safe?
- Where are CouchSurfing members located?
- Do I have to let everyone stay at my house?
- Do I have to host someone first in order to surf?
- How is the privacy of CouchSurfing members protected?
“Members choose which information they wish to share with the CouchSurfing community by selectively filling in their profiles, and by customizing their privacy settings. “
Melissa will be happy to answer your questions below. Please share with others.
I searched Orange County, California, and to my surprise found many couchsurfers in my city. Now if I need a free couch to sleep on around the world, I know where to go.
House-sitting is another option which Nikki Ah Wong, wrote about in her “My Gutsy Story.”
I’m a firm believer that there are always ways to see the world, make new friends and experience new adventures, for less money, if you are Gutsy like Melissa and Nikki.