So there’s this neat website called CouchSurfing.org, where you can register and request to stay on people’s couches pretty much anywhere on the planet, and then there’s the act of actually staying in someone else’s space. When I talk about “couchsurfing”, I generally mean the latter. And it doesn’t always have to mean a couch, either. Often I am offered beds, sometimes just floors, typically there is a horizontal surface of some type involved. I will say “CouchSurfing.org” if I mean the website, just to differentiate.
Why am I being picky? Because when I was in Perth and stayed in the spare bedroom of a friend of a friend’s headmaster from grammar school in India, I say I was couchsurfing. I certainly would not have made that connection through the CouchSurfing.org website! Almost all of my couchsurfing experience comes from word of mouth, and from other social networking, like facebook. Occassionally, it even comes from a casual comment from the stage while I’m performing.
I’m totally a fan of the website too, though. Even though I only rarely use it to find places to stay, it is a fantastic network to connect to while you are traveling. I highly recommend that you go set yourself up a profile right now, if you don’t have one yet. You can see a sample profile (mine!) at http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/onemouthband/.
Couchsurfing used to have a bad rap. It used to bring to mind images of some slacker mooching off of you for an indefinite period of time. I am thankful that this seems to be changing. Most couchsurfers I know give far more than they take, and would never be like that. I’m certainly not. After a few years at it, I often have people asking me first, and sometimes even competing for me to come couchsurf with them! Strange, but true.
I’ll definitely write more on the topic of couchsurfing, and how to make the most out of the CouchSurfing.org website/community. I just wanted to get the definitions straight upfront…