Buzzing World

I want to let everyone in on something amazing… | February 12, 2009

What would you do in a situation where you find yourself in a city without a booking in a hotel, hostel, motel, or no camp ground to unroll your sleeping bag, an no local acquiantance? What’s your last option for the night if you don’t feel comfertable finding a far-away spot in a park?

What it is
If you are an adventurer looking for new experiences with some amazing people, then your option is called “couchsurfing.” It’s a global community of people linked by the common thread of lending their couch for the night to strangers traveling in their area. (Read the couchsurfing mission statement) If you really are stuck in a city with no accomodation, hopefully you’ll at least have the internet since you can’t access couchsurfing any other way.

Good news for those traveling, CS is ready to expand their members to the 1 million mark. That means that are 1 million like-minded travelers out in the world, and 690,367 couches available for you to snooze on! (There are only 690 thousand of those million couches available because not all couches are available at one time, many hosts are travelers themselves and are away, or simply cannot host at this time because of work, school, etc.)

Personal Experience
I’ve hosted and I’ve surfed, and I find hosting just as fun, if not more, as doing the traveling. I took my couchsurfer to Capitol Hill, Old Town, Clare’s Lansing Station, and to some bars around EL. Don’t worry, you’re not devoted to spending every minute with your CSer. He took the time himself to wander through campus and EL. Overall, we both had great experiences. If you’d like to do the same, consider joining.

Safety
Couchsurfing may not be for everyone. Safety risks are involved since you are counting on your host not being a creeper, rapist, or other horrible personalities that are out in the world. On the lighter side, hosts must be verified, you have many options when choosing a host, and there haven’t been any documented safety issues between hosts and surfers to date. CS has taken their own precautions on the matter, but always make sure your host is verified and has plenty of recommendations to back him/her up.

Try it!
With couchsurfing you are absolutely unlimited in places and experiences. The best part is, you never know who you’ll meet. 67,343 friendships have been created worldwide because of couchsurfing alone. Now no one will ever have to say they don’t have any friends abroad! There are 1 million prospective friends out there for everyone!

There are other ways to get involved beyond lending your couch to someone for the night. If you’re a member, there are many groups you can join which regularly have meetings organized by the surfers themselves. This is how I experienced “Noel Night” in Detroit for the first time.

Think you have some fun times and a cozy couch to offer? Or are you interested in joining yourself? Then take 10 minutes to sign up!

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About author

I'm a journalism senior at MSU... finally! I'm anxiously awaiting a move to Detroit in the spring. I'm the photo editor and I occasionally write for spartanedge.com which includes lots of photo essays and gathering audio. My interests include photography (obviously), astronomy, traveling, art, literature, languages, music, and society.

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