Recently, a friend told me to check this site called CouchSurfing
) which is a community of people around the world sharing hospitality with one another. In short, “couchsurfers” open up their homes to a fellow couchsurfer / traveller who is visiting their country. At the same time, when they visit a certain country, they can get in touch with a “couchsurfer” in that country willing to take them in their home.
From their site:
These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. “Surfers,” or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because “surfing” lowers the financial cost of exploration.
And what about Safety?
Through CouchSurfing, it’s more like meeting a friend of a friend. You have the chance to read all about other members’ experiences with that person, whether positive or negative. You have a full profile’s worth of information about their interests and perspectives. You can see who their friends are and how they know them. And you have the ability to correspond with them as much as you want before you meet them.
Do you really have to host your home?
Regarding your hosting availability, there’s an option when you register that if you select “Coffee or a drink”, this means that you can show someone around your city for the day or meet up for a quick drink, but not host.
What are the steps to join?
1. Register your name and address and other pertinent details.
2. Confirm your identity by donating via credit card. (Minimum verification amount for the Philippines based on the economic sliding scale is USD 11.47 ~ PHP 516.15)
3. A postcard will be sent to your home address to verify your location.
With CouchSurfing, you are not actually limited to travel with just a backpack. It just enables you travel in a budget without spending too much on hotels and accommodations. It is for the adventurous. It IS for those who want to meet people in that culture and make their travel experience richer and more memorable.
It’s always been my dream to do backpack traveling (before I get married?!) in perhaps at least 5 countries in Asia. And why not also Europe. I’ve always traveled with my suitcase or a big travel bag — but never a backpack. Hmm, CouchSurfing may be a way to finally have this dream.
As what I’ve told my friend, there’s GOT to be a purpose while we’re traveling to a certain place. It’s not just about seeing the exotic places, taking wonderful photos, eating local delicatessen, or maybe finding your true love or knowing your purpose in life. It could also be about touching other people’s lives, sharing about the love of God you’ve seen and experienced. :)
So, let’s go?