The Art of Couchsurfing.org

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I’m getting pretty excited. I’ve lived a few places that are not easily accessed by friends from home…if I’m lucky I get 1-2 visitors each year. This year, I’m pleased to announce that my friend, Art, is coming for a visit!! Next Thursday we are going to Japan for a few days. Then, of course I have to work and he will get to have all this fun, and then on the weekend, we can go explore somewhere else!!

Have I mentioned how I met Art? I met him through a wonderful networking website called Couchsurfing.org. Couchsurfing allows travelers to visit places and crash on someone’s couch! Sometimes you get a bed, sometimes you get the floor, more than likely you get some form a sofa or couch. Like-minded travelers open up their homes to you for a few nights so you can explore their city. Free of charge. Typically you do something in return, like buy them drinks or dinner. I normally give a massage or clean their house a bit. I also still buy dinner. I have been surfing couches since 2010…technically 2008 but the first person I was to stay with in Germany told my friend and I the day before that there’d be a 60$ charge for each of us per night… that’s not how it works. #asshole

Anyway, I have surfed couches in Austin, Maldives, Hong Kong, Chicago, and Colorado. If you’re not comfortable staying with someone, or they aren’t comfortable staying with you, you can still meet up and have a dandy time.
That’s how I met my friend Brett. I met another couchsurfer and we were headed to Barton Springs in Austin. As we sat on the grass enjoying the sun and sights, I heard this melodic voice accompanying a guitar. I looked back and saw this dark guy with long hair playing the guitar…”Hippies” i thought. But he sang so beautifully. I looked around for this Brett guy who I was supposed to meet up with. I checked my messages and didn’t see any responses. Suddenly the music stopped and the guy started walking over to us. He sat down next to us … it was him. Brett was that angelic sounding hippie. The other CSer left eventually, but Brett and I chatted for hours. We walked through a park along Barton Springs. We made up poems and songs together. It was incredible. This was back in 2010. I’m happy to say we’re still friends and I follow his music career online. Look up Brett Randell.. he’s amazing.
I also surfed the couch of a guy named Matt in Hong Kong. He was from Texas and also had an artistic ability. He was fashionable and appreciated art like no other. He had his own shoe line too. He showed me some great places in Hong Kong. Places I wouldn’t know to go to. I also got to crash a PR event on the roof of the Ritz overlooking the city. We went on a junkboat for a day and saw the skyline light up as the sun fell ((which is my favorite part of cities)). It was so great, that I went back and surfed again for New Years Eve 2013. He has been on a crazy travel adventure and I have followed his journeys via online.
This past summer was a friend’s wedding.. she was like my big sister. There was a chance i wouldn’t make it to her wedding… so I wasn’t going to miss her Bachelorette party for the world. Of course it was in Chicago. I had a great weekend there but wanted to stay an extra day. I had contacted Art via Couchsurfing and was guaranteed a place to crash. I spent the day at the Taste of Chicago, met with two childhood friends for a couple of beers, and Art appeared. He stayed for a beer also and drove me back to his apartment. We chatted and instantly bonded over travel stories. His love for Tokyo was like my love for Hong Kong. I told him there was a possibility I would be in Korea for the next year and he asked if he could come visit if he had the chance. “Of course!” He took me to an unknown breakfast place called Stax and we had the most incredible bacon-chocolate chip pancakes. Yes.. they exist..and yes..they are the greatest pancakes ever. Then he took me to see a view of the chicago skyline from a private residence that he had access to (sneaky!). We drove around Chicago and I got to see famous sites that would have taken me days to find otherwise. We went to a sweet neighborhood where there were strange thrift stores and boutiques. We walked around and joked all day with all the items we found in stores. He was by-far one of the most generous people I have met in my travels.
He messaged me a few months ago and said he had a few weeks off and wanted to come visit. Originally we were going to Taiwan but the tickets ended up costing way more than we expected, so we agreed to visit Japan. He loves Tokyo enough that he could go again without being phased. So, he will be here next week for about 2 weeks. We will go to Tokyo, maybe Seoul, and he will hopefully get to see a bunch of Korea that I couldn’t. I’m really excited to host him. … speaking of which.. I need to clean my apartment.
Have a great weekend, world!

 

PS – if you’re traveling on a budget, or just want to meet cool people, sign up with couchsurfing.org

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