Couchsurfing, a great way to bring people together

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What is Couchsurfing?

When somebody’s ready to transform their dreams into actions, they start their pre-journey process by accepting what are the impediments they are going to deal with. They do their research and realize that the essential thing in their process is –how to find people?

Knowing the English language is really important nowadays, as it’s the basic international language all travelers speak. You have to speak English to be able to ask for guidance, to be able to find a job in a multicultural environment, and grow as part of it.

Even if you know that this process will be hard in the beginning and by days passing, it will become a new lifestyle. The questions that most of us are asking is…

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How should I start communication with others?

How do I meet people who are willing to communicate with me and share similar interests?

I realized that if the challenges of multiculturalism had such a significant impact on me, the greatest thing I could do would be to get more pieces of information about it.

The first thing that people should do it to start traveling! Little by little, to get to know what they are going to deal with, to accommodate.


What is traveling all about?

To travel means to make a journey- and we come back to the last chapter where we explained what a journey is all about.

People often confuse the meaning of traveling with the meaning of a holiday. If we just take out the word holiday and replace it with the word travel, we can observe a more deep, intense sense.

If the holiday term and its meaning have become a mediatized factor which lets people enjoy their free time by spending tons of money they have saved while working on a 9 to 5 job, travel, is indeed a marathon.

It allows you to expand all your horizons, to try new stuff, to let yourself go explore the wild. In short, it teaches you to do things that you would not dare to try if you are in an expensive resort during your expensive holiday trying a mimosa at the bar, breathing in the calm atmosphere.

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Travel is for all the people who want to discover what they are made of!

It’s for everyone who has a deep feeling inside of moving and exploring. Traveling is about finding yourself, to get to know your soul better and also, to find your hidden purpose.

You will get out of your comfort zone, you will have to deal with all your fears, you will often want to stop and go back to where you have come from.

A Spanish friend once said to me: “You have not gone this far, just to be this far”. I believe that everyone should read this sentence at least two times before giving up on themselves in the process of finding their purpose.

When we talk about bringing people together, we tend to think just about small gatherings, conferences, movements, and so on, but the essence of the saying “to bring people together” has much more meaning when we refer to bringing people from different cultural backgrounds together.

It is tough nowadays to be able to accept each other as having the same rights and the same respect because society puts us into different columns defined by the culture we are part of.

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Because of the world’s differences, people forget how to accept others, how to understand them, and they are scared of creating bonds or relationships.

We are scared of new, we are scared of different, and we are scared of change. But, when the moment of change is knocking on our door, what do we do? Usually, the first thing our instinct provokes us to do is to panic. That is why we are sometimes overreacting and being terrified about the results.

How to make connections among other cultures from around the world?

And how to do it despite the 100 barriers that are put into our way, like culture shock phase, stereotypes, racism, prejudice? How to establish a veritable intercultural communication?

We can often see, that many of us aren’t open to this. Aren’t open to meet new people and of course, to accept them, unfortunately. But there are more and more who do!

We established that English is the very first tool that helps with this process of moving abroad, traveling, nomadic lifestyle, because it gives us the freedom to express ourselves, to get a job, to ask for water, and maybe to find a familiar environment abroad that feels like home.

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Couchsurfing

It is a word which that, if its split in two, means that desires and curiosity are sending people from couch to couch in order to explore the different environments, zones around the world.

What to explore?


The world through the people

How can we explore the world through people? By becoming part of their life, routine, tasks, hangouts, and so much more. By helping them with chores, by watching their happiness when waking up and watching their garden blooming. By hearing them playing the guitar on a beach or hearing their life stories.

The CouchSurfing community and motivations for traveling with a hospitality exchange network

CouchSurfing is currently the most popular hospitality exchange network among travelers. As an online/offline community, it presents a curious development in people’s engagement on the Internet and in “real life.”

As people have become more open and flexible in a globalized world, the impact of new technologies on our lives can be felt now more than ever!

Especially people who like to travel long term, seem to have many more options to choose how they want to travel, what they want to do, and whom they want to meet during their stays.

The advent of social networks gave people the possibility to gather around a specific interest and form communities that are both virtual and physical. In the case of CouchSurfing, this led to a worldwide phenomenon of hosts and surfers who are willing to open their doors to strangers, meet new people and share their lives with them.

 “The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown, to bear witness to the consequences, tragic or comic, of people possessed by the narcissism of minor differences.”

Paul Theroux, The Tao of Travel

If you love to meet new people, save some pennies, and you are looking for an experience, you will never forget, CouchSurfing may be the adventure you have been waiting for.

Don’t get tricked into thinking CouchSurfers are all poor twenty-somethings who have spent all their cash on beer. There are retirees and grandparents who have couch surfed around the world and hosted travelers in their own homes too!

Getting started

Register and set up a great profile. Include photos, interests, and even references to selling yourself to prospective hosts.

Enter your destination and narrow the results by gender, age, languages are spoken, and so on, to start searching for your ideal place to stay.

Be sure to confirm whether it is a couch, bed, or even a sleeping bag that you will be crashing on and just how private the room is.

Obviously, carefully verify the references and reviews of a host before you contact them to register your interest! It goes without saying that rocking up to a stranger’s home to sleep on their couch has the potential to turn out badly.

CouchSurfing relies on a combination of references, heavily detailed profiles, and other CouchSurfers vouching for hosts to create as safe a CouchSurfing environment as possible.

That said, go with your gut, and if something seems not quite right, do not stick around. Also, always hand your host’s details to a friend or a family member, to always be safe.

CouchSurfer members can catch up with other like-minded travelers via CouchSurfing Activities. Any member can set up an activity, whether it is drunk in an old pub in Dublin or a road trip in a campervan through Sicily.

The advantages:

  • It is free! So, it is no wonder many of the world’s most expensive cities for accommodation, including New York, Paris, and London, are some of the most popular destinations for CouchSurfers.
  • It only takes a quick glance through the profiles of members to see that CouchSurfing really is changing lives. Whether it is sharing stories with new friends on the other side of the world or visiting places you never otherwise would have dreamt of. Pretty much anything is possible.
  • There are CouchSurfers all over the world, so there really is no limit on what you can do and where you can go. Heck, you can even CouchSurf in a cave in Jordan!

I would describe Couchsurfing as a gate!

The reason I’m calling it a gate is because it’s giving you the possibility to get out in the world, even if you couldn’t afford it, or you didn’t have anybody to do it with, and you want to make those new connections worldwide.

Couchsurfing is an online community that takes cultural exchange to a whole new level. It is a website that facilitates the hospitality exchange between global travelers and local hosts.

From being just an alternative accommodation for budget travelers by the first times after initiations, now Couchsurfing has been admitted as an ultra-modern way of travel. This brings new forms of experiences and scenarios for each traveler.

Members from all around the world sign up, aiming to be part of something that had become a global social phenomenon.

What is a social phenomenon?

A social phenomenon can be described as something that exists and grows significantly through the actions and involvements of groups of humans.

How did Couchsurfing earn this label?

Members from all around the globe slowly started to coordinate travel accommodations between themselves and adding new possibilities and ideas to gather people that think the same, in the same environment.

This was how online and group gatherings that take place weekly, we are slowly blooming among the travelers who wanted to meet other fellows. As the routine has established and it becomes something more regular, the increased attendance at the gatherings had a positive impact on the feeling of belonging somewhere. To a community. Even if all the people were travelers or ex-pats, and the term community was something hard to be really felt again.

Couchsurfing is all about trust!

We usually cannot see ourselves talking with a new person on social media and accept a request for hosting. We do not even do this with closer acquaintances so, how can people be so risky and accept a request which can put their life into danger? They take the risk.



Author: The post was written by Rox, a passionate traveler, CouchSurfer, a photographer who loves the skies, portraits, and travel photos. She’s now finishing college as a Modern Languages major, and she’s really open to learn, discover, and experience new things along the traveling journey.

Edited by Helga Dosa.

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