Hosted my first Couch Surfer…Love this new world that has been opened up to me!
You’ve Got Mail….Internet connecting perfect strangers has come a long way since 1998, when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan portrayed business enemies that fall in love in cyber space. Meg’s character Kathleen types into space, “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.
Lately, I’ve seen Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter, portrayed as the new means for people attempting to validate their existence. I agree to a certain extent…However, I am deeply grateful to Twitter and Facebook for opening a new world to me!
No secret…I am passionate about traveling. You can image how excited I was when I began to follow travelers on twitter. Not long afterwards, I noticed travelers using CouchSurfing a network many use to save on accommodations and to meet like minded people. The Mission statement: “CouchSurfing seeks to internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance, and facilitate cultural understanding.” According to their statistics, there are 1,206,768 CouchSurfers across the globe with 232 unique countries involved. There are 284,295 CouchSurfers in the United States alone!
My response, “SIGN ME UP!”
At first I saw CouchSurfing as a way to afford my ultimate dream, traveling across the world on a budget. After exploring the website, I decided to sign up as a host as well, with the assumption that no one would be traveling to Urbana, Ohio. So, when I opened my Gmail account the other day I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had a couch request. That is an understatement: I WAS SO EXCITED! I “GOT MAIL!”
My new friend Jason arrived last night and left this morning. He is a young adventurer taking five months to walk across America before finishing his Masters Degree in Journalism. I think my husband was a little concerned. Not about the safety of offering our home to a perfect stranger, but about the wild hair I might get once I hear about his adventure. I confess I thought about it… an adventure by myself walking across this great country sounds appealing!?!? The reality is that this young man is attempting something physically exhausting and at times dangerous, not to mention at times BORING. I know myself too well…too much Tiff time makes me crazy! At any rate, Jason spoke so highly of his experiences with CouchSurfing. He really could not afford to stay in hotels every night and staying with a stranger is safer than sleeping in the woods.
Technology has come a long way in connecting people. When I spend time posting to Twitter, I may be attempting to validate my life as some have explained it. But the reality is I am also making some very cool friends along the way. I may live a small, but valuable life…and I AM brave enough to open my doors to an adventure, whether it be mine or a fellow traveler‘s. I love this new world that has been opened to me!