I’ve talked about it in the past, but I thought I’d be more technical this time. Less fiction, more reality. Because it is becoming very real with the days rolling by.
So, what is CouchSurfing? It is an impressive network of people all around the globe, either hosting people coming to their town, or seeking somewhere to sleep. That is the base of CS (CouchSurfing). And it is free of any charge!
“Stanger meets stranger”, it could have been called. And it amazes me. In this cold cold world, where individuality has become a motto people hum around in the subway on their rushed way to work, plugged on their Iwhatever, it is surprising to read the profiles of CSers. So many people wanting to open their door to a complete stranger for the night. The message is almost always the same. “Bring your foreign ways to my house, and I’ll let you sleep on my couch if you share it with me!”
Not in these precise words, of course, but it is the vibe… People that traveled in the past and can’t right now and want the world to come to them. People who haven’t traveled, but want to exchange with other cultures. People who have been welcomed in the past and now want to give back.
I recognize it is not for all travelers. There is the obvious “living in a stranger’s house”. Chéri, for one, is not comfortable with that. And I can understand that. There is also the fact that you don’t necessarly get four stars comfort. Some hosts have a private room to lend, but sometimes they offer a couch or a matress on the floor, often in the living room, even, sometimes, in their own room. Of course, you know before you get there, but again, I understand how that can turn off some people.
I know, I know, you will tell me that there can be bad people amongst them? True. There are bad people everywhere. But for some reason, I beleive in the good means of CS. In times when terror crawls and hits randomly, wanting to weaken the good in people, CS seems to be a proof that human nature isn’t that rotten yet.
Wanting to see the true face of Denmark, instead of the usual tourist “clés en main” tour, it seemed natural to want to live my experience with Danes. For several reasons.
- Living with Danes will give me the chance to experience pure Danish culture. I will visit Danish homes, not generic hotel rooms, eat Danish common food, and interact with real people, not trained tour guides who throw the same speach to everybody.
- It will be less lonely. Spending alone time is part of my journey. But spending all my evenings and nights alone could have been a little hard. I like the idea to have someone to talk to and discuss my day’s experiences when I head back to my temporary home.
- I might make new friends, or at least establish contacts I might meet again someday. What are the odds that I could just fall on boring people?… Slim to none if you ask me.
- It is free. Need I say more?
So I buit up my profile. I tried to be thorough, to show that I was serious about my CS experience, and not just wanting to crash people’s homes for free. I took the list of cities I want to visit, and started sending messages to people who seemed interesting. I also wrote an open post on a Danish group to invite people to contact me if they wanted to host a Canadian girl on tour…
That was yesterday night. Today, I got 2 invitations already. Two women who thought I looked nice enough to host. Asking someone if I can sleep on his/her couch is already pretty amazing, but being invited is incredible!
Denmark is inviting me… How dejligt!
I am planin on having a parallel blog during my trip. I will do my best to report every night to write about my day’s experiences. I will make sure to let you know about my hosts and my CS experience. Feel free to ask questions if you are new to the concept… I am still a newbie myself, but that will soon be changing.
Have you experienced CS yourself? As a host or a guest? Please share your experience with me 🙂 In the meantime, here’s a song that’s been in my head today…