It’s about a time to tell you more about couchsurfing. I already mentioned that in one of the previous post, but now I’m going to expend about how it works and what makes it so awesome.
From the beginning to Columbus Couch Crash.
My experience started back in 2010 before my trip to Berlin. I was just talking with one of my friends about upcoming trip and how I’m looking for hostels in different areas, and then she asked me “Why don’t you just couchsurf?”
“Couch what?” Was my first response
Then she continued “Couchsurfing is a website where people offer to host other travelers on their couches. It’s saves you money and it’s much more fun, I never did it, but my friends telling great things. You definitely should try it?”
It sounded interesting enough for me, so I decided to try it. Signing in was an easy part, just uploaded few pictures of me in different parts of the world, wrote a short description about my personality, interests, philosophy. Now what?
“How I’m going to convince people that I don’t know in the city that I’ve never been to open their house for me?”, this thought never left me alone and I decided to meet with local couchsurfers in Tel Aviv. The description was pretty simple, it sounded like a regular Saturday afternoon picnic in one of my favorite spots, Park HaYarkon. But at the moment that I got there I was amazed by the diversity of people who were present – Germans, British, Americans, Russians, French, South Africans and of course Israelis. It was clear that some people there had a lot of experience, others a little bit and some like me were complete newbies. But surprizing thing that everybody was treated equally and nobody tried to show up with their experience. We just talked about our backgrounds, shared stories from traveling, drunk beer and played foreign card games that i’ve never heard about. Since then I knew that it will become a part of my life.
I don’t even need to say that my first experiences with actual couchsurfing in Berlin were more that I could imagine. Instead of being a regular tourist who goes on tours, shops and hanging out with other tourists in hostels I met local people who took me to the rooftops to see the best views of the city, cooked dinner together, participated in movie making (no, it wasn’t porn), went to underground bars and student house parties. It definitely changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, being a regular tourist is super fun too. In berlin I stayed 3 nights in hostel and 4 nights with couchsurfers just to experience both worlds. So it’s not that regular tourism is bad, it’s just couchsurfing is much better.
Little bit more than 2 years and many awesome experiences later I participated in Columbus Couch Crash. “What is that?”, most of the people will ask. The idea of Couch Crash started in Detroit 3 years ago as an attempt of local couchsurfer community to improve the image of the city and show how fun it could be. They invited people from all over the states, but mostly from the Midwest. It was a huge success, so a year later Columbus and many other cities decided to adopt the idea. The decision to make on the first weekend of June wasn’t accidental, so few cool things happened in the city – first summer gallery hop and Columbus arts festival, in addition to all the regular weekend fun.
This year I hosted a couple from Holland, Rob and Sabrina, who just by chance were traveling though Columbus on that weekend and a guy Pelo from Madison who came specifically for that. I never hosted so many people at the same time before, so I was little bit nervous. But ended up it was an amazing weekend! And it couldn’t be? My guest were amazing – fun, interesting, easy going and with a desire to explore the city. Rob and Sabrina are very talented artists by themselves and they explained me so much about local art and they were impressed by amount of it in Columbus. Pelo is very experienced couchsurfers and he know how to turn everything into fun. So we ate a lot of delicious food, listened to great music, walked around galleries of the Short North, met many other couchsurfers at the Santa Maria boat costume party and super fan afterparty at the warehouse.
It was sad to see them leave, but I already planned to visit Madison so hoped to see Pelo again. Hopefully I’ll see Rob and Sabrina one day again.