Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What is Couchsurfing.org really all about?

Couchsurfing can be all you want it to be. You might have heard about it as an online platform to find free accommodation. From my point of view, after over 3 years of experience, the free accommodation is only a positive side-effect but not the main object of participating.

The concept of Couchsurfing is fairly easy. It is a site online where you can create a profile and surf or offer a couch. To surf a couch means to stay over at somebodies home. To offer a couch means you let a traveller come and stay over at your home and be your guest. If your living situation does not permit taking in people or if you are just too busy to take in travellers, you can just meet up with people form anywhere in the world. You can adjust your profile according to your needs and also decline incoming couchrequests. You are in full control of whom you are going to take in/meet.

Whenever I tell people about it, I say: “It´s a tool for cultural exchange.” I think it describes it best. With Couchsurfing you don´t only get a chance to experience how people live in any country of the world, but it will greatly affect your travel and maybe also your lifestyle. Couchsurfing opens the door to cultural exchange: You will find friends from all over the world, you will find friends in your own town, you can learn new things about just any topic from just about anybody you are meeting through Couchsurfing. In some cities the groups are so lively and people so actively participating, that you can even find new room mates or a new bike or borrow things, find friends, cooking groups, hiking grooups, etc... You might want to start a cooking/photography/sports group to gather people that are interested in the same thing than you. After you have known these people for a while, it won´t matter anymore how you met them in the first place. You know you are friends. Well, some couples I know have even met through Couchsurfing. It is like an own universe full of openminded people, travel, language nerds, knowledge and good times. Participate!

To conclude, it´s a way to explore life´s beauty and meaning. A way to share who you are and what you have to give. It´s a way to make the world a better place.

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