Friday, July 24, 2009

Couchsurfing rules!

I mentioned it briefly when I discussed budget and expenses, but we plan on using to find places to stay when we're on our trip. To those unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it's a website that connects those looking for a place to stay ("surfers") with those willing to host them. You create a profile page where you can add pictures and information about yourself and specify details about whether or not you can host others. There's a rating system and "friends" section where other couchsurfers can write about their experiences with you or put comments on your page.

Initially we thought we'd start hosting as a way to build up our ratings so that when we go looking to stay with other people they can look at our profile, see our good ratings and be willing to host us.

Well, we just had our ninth surfer stay with us since we signed up in May and I have to say it's been amazing. We've met some great people from Tennessee, Orange County, CA, Michigan, Maryland, Germany, Colorado, New York, Alberta, and Australia (by way of Korea). It's been really fun to meet all sort of different people, including a Medical doctor, an architect, college students, teachers, a nurse, and an Iraq war veteran. The only regret I have is that we didn't start a guestbook for our surfers to write in. We'll definitely do that in our next house or apartment, as I hope to resume hosting couchsurfers when we're done traveling.

What prompted this blog entry though was our most recent surfers. They're a couple from Edmonton, Alberta traveling with a six year old boy. They arrived last night and we went out to dinner and they picked up the tab. Then this morning they gave me a six-pack of microbrews that they'd brought from Alberta. Then when I came home from work I found this on my counter:

A half-liter of maple syrup (I'll give them a pass on it being from Canada as opposed to Vermont, seeing as they are Canadian), some maple candies and a voucher for a free movie ticket.

Additionally, UPS delivered the following package:

It was from the college students from Colorado who stayed with us. It's not so much the items that matters (this happens to be a bottle filled with paper crafts), it's the thought that counts. We've made some great connections through hosting couchsurfers and I can't wait to try some "surfing" of our own!

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