Couchsurfing was quite an unexpected experience to me. Beforehand, I thought it was just a way to save money for accommodation and a good way to get to know more local friends. I thought it would be like using a couch/mattress/bed for several nights and being a quiet guest, trying not to disturb my host. But instead, all of my hosts treated me as family or friend. They took me into their lives and made me feel at home. What was more, my horizon was widened from seeing different ways of life.
This article is a tribute to all of my three CS hosts. I want to let you know how good they were!
My first and only male host. Initially, he had invited me to go to the Christmas market together. But I asked if I could surf his couch as well since I couldn’t find any other host at that time. Apparently, you won’t get responses from CS hosts on requests either sent out too early or too late.
So he was the first person and CS host I met on my trip, and he had set a baseline for the rest of CS experiences I had later. He was a good guy, allowing me to put my luggage in his car when I arrived in Munich, so I didn’t have to carry it all walking around.
During the days I stayed at his place. He practically shared everything he loves with me. Food triggering tears of joy upon tasting it, favourite movies/videos, all kinds of music that he appreciates, the game he’s into, and things he loves to do the most.
On top of that, his words, despite of being irritating at first, really stimulated me in many ways, and made me realize that I was too careless when listening to others, and about my life in general. That changed my attitude for the rest of my trip, allowing me to feel everything in a profounder way.
He is the kind of “living every day as if it was your last" person. And coincidentally, I had been listening to “If Today Was Your Last Day" by Nickelback. So we had many discussions or arguments about how we would live our last day. We are so different. He is full of passion, and I’m full of passivity. He is the one who will still pursue his dream at the end of the world, and I’m the one sitting there doing usual things and waiting for my time to come. The gap between us made me reconsider my life and how I was living it.
I’m glad that I’ve met him and made him my first CS host in many senses. 🙂
Briggite is a TRUE couch surfer and couch surfing host herself. She had been to many countries surfing different couches, and had hosted at least 10 guests. So she truly knows how to host and how to surf. I had learned a lot from her.
Her couch was comfortable; I had the whole living room as my own, free access to food and everything, and she had even trusted me enough to leave me the keys because she needed to leave for work early.
She taught me the basic manners to be a good couch surfer, showed me around some attractions (her place was near the famous Schloss Schoenbrunn, which I intended to drop originally since I thought it was too far), and took me to a Nepal restaurant she loves for lunch.
Although we didn’t have chance to talk much for the following days, we had had meaningful conversations when we were together. She is an open-minded and insightful woman, who showed me how you can choose your life, the way you live, and change (literally, she had her flat a total make-over) your living environment.
Because of her and her flat, I realized that I was lack of personality…at least I didn’t show it in my room. None of my rooms had shown my taste, personality or me…they were just places to stay, rooms to sleep, spaces to put stuff, rather than my own secret world.
I appreciated that I met such an experienced, both in CS field or in other fields, woman in my trip 🙂
Sibel is a sweet girl, still struggling in study, but she’d made her best to host me, and I’d had a wonderful time staying with her.
She is warm, kind and hospitable. The evening I arrived in Prague, she and her friend took me to a local restaurant for dinner; I was glad that I could taste real Czech food the moment I got to Prague. And in the second evening, she invited me to go to a special Tango event with her. Although I couldn’t dance because I didn’t have proper shoes, it was an amazing experience seeing those people in 19th century costumes dancing and posing. I felt as if I had walked into a movie scene. I had taken many pictures there; it was not the scene you can see everyday after all.
Maybe it was because we are both girls, and she is slightly younger than me, we interacted just like friends naturally. She would share her worries about the study with me, and show interest in my trip and I’d show her the pictures I’d taken; the communication between us was casual and easygoing, and I loved that.
We ate breakfast and dinner together everyday (I really very appreciated that she had prepared for food and shared it with me; I wish I could be such a good host like her someday), and she would watch the TV series she loves with me. We’re both into The Big Bang Theory and New Girl; it was really nice to watch these TV shows with a friend.
I was lucky to stay with her in the last days of my trip, because it was like staying with a friend, and I could be relaxed, start to make a summary of my 2-week-trip, and adjust my mood for coming back to the UK, the reality.
I like her a lot, and I’ll definitely be friends with her after this couch surfing experience. Hope we will meet in another country one day 🙂
I had never thought the couch surfing experiences could bring me so much insight and stimulation. Staying with them made me see these cities in a whole different light, and hence opened my eyes to what lay beneath this trip. To me, they are not just warm and generous CS hosts, but more mentors; I’ve learned a lot from them. Thanks!
And with this experience, I really want to do something in return. I want to be a good CS host someday when I have my own place. I’ll share with them, listen to them, hope to give them an entirely unique experience.
From this trip I have learned that it doesn’t matter where you go, but what people you meet. I was lucky to meet these wonderful CS hosts. Hopefully someday I will make someone’s trip a better one too. 🙂