So I recently signed up for Couchsurfing, have already hosted twice…and I love it!
For those of you who don’t know, Couchsurfing is a way you can find accommodation whilst travelling, for FREE. The idea is that, instead of exchanging money, you have a cultural exchange. For example you could show your guest around your town, teach them something about your country, or teach a skill, and vice versa.
From the Couchsurfing website…
“We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.”
I have met four very special people since beginning as a host.
My first experience was with Laurie and Mari-Perle from French Canada. They needed somewhere to stay, fast, because they had the wrong dates for departing to Magnetic Island; the island just off the coast of Townsville. I offered them my home and I am so glad I did. I think initially they may have been just as nervous as I was because they did not have much experience with couchsurfing either! Thankfully neither party was a serial killer and we got along extremely well. I showed them around my beautiful home, taught them some Aussie slang, and cooked them some delicious Aussie food. I also introduced them to fish ‘n chips! They taught me a little French Canadian (although I have forgotten already), taught me how to use a GoPro (yes, I have never used one before), and treated my beautiful cousin and dogs like their own (even though the little one peed on one of their bags :|). It felt like they were a part of the family after only two nights with them! I am so thankful to have met these beautiful souls and cannot wait to see them again!
My second experience with Couchsurfing was just as amazing.. Two incredible girls Kaitlin (English) and Lindsay (American) on a mission to show the world that it is not what the media perceives it to be. Lindsay’s project, The Small World Project, was something I have ended up so passionate about. Watch her video:
I showed them my home, and taught them Australian ways, but what Kaitlin and Lindsay did for me is more than anyone could ever ask for. They gave me the final push I needed to get myself back. When Kaitlin and Lindsay stayed with us I was coming to the final stages of recovering from depression. I had worked through my past, my anger, my insomnia, even through my grievances with my physical health, but I was still coming back to one thing, and that was social anxiety. I have been so afraid, terrified even, to leave my house; for safety reasons, for paranoia, for fear of judgement, and just because I am comfortable at home. The first night these girls got here, looking jetlagged from their overnight bus, we went out. I honestly did not want to go out. I did not want to leave the comfort and safety of my house. I don’t think the girls realised how much of a big deal it was for me..but I went. I took them out. And I had an absolute ball. I had so much fun. We stayed up all night at Karaoke, singing and dancing. Talking to people with terrible accents. Laughing. Drinking (people who know me know that is something different). I felt happy for the first time in so long. I have these girls to thank, from the bottom of my heart, for rescuing me.
Last week my psychologist told me that I was now functioning normally, mentally. It’s been 3 years since I have had such an amazing time. I owe you girls my sanity, and my life.
Couchsurfing is about more than just a free place to stay. It’s about experience, life, and friendship. It teaches you things about yourself and about the world. My hope is that one day I will be couchsurfing around the world, hopefully with some of the amazing people I have met, and I will be able to impact someone as much as I have been impacted.
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