This Australian couple encourages everyone to step out of their comfort zones and explore the world for whatever reason it may be! They have a large database of Couchsurfing stories, so make sure to visit their site, Legging It.
One of the best ways to meet locals is to get involved in the Couchsurfing community. While many people advocate it as a way to get free accommodation while you travel, we see it more as a way to meet locals and enjoy a unique experience. We have hosted, surfed and attended local events and each has been rewarding in its own way.
The best part?
Couchsurfing is not just for young people, we are in our fifties and have made friends of all ages who we still keep in touch with. While I can give a plethora examples of how Couchsurfing has impacted our lives, one of that shows the spirit and depth of the Couchsurfing experience are our ‘other family’ in Germany. When we were considering a life of long-term travel we were really not sure we could surf, we had hosted many people over the years but as it is different we decided to have a trial.
We decided to head to Europe for Winter and meet up with some of our surfers to have some new experiences. As we were in Bremen for one night only, we put an open request to see if anyone would host us. We did this as we do not normally like hosting for one night as you do not get enough time to get to know a person. In this case, we were proven so wrong. We received an invitation from Christina who explained her son was in Australia and Couchsurfing, so she wanted to offer people a place to stay as well.
Being winter and traveling on train, of course, we had snow delays and arrived hours later than originally planned, but Christina was here waiting for us. A very warm welcome on a cold night, we then spent a couple of hours enjoying the Christmas Markets before heading to her home for the night.
The next morning after chatting till late in the night she took us for a locals tour around the town then late in the afternoon we boarded the train to Hamburg.
It felt like we had known each other for a lifetime as we said our goodbyes.
On returning to Australia, her son Lucas and his friend Felix finally made it to Perth and we organized to show them around. We had a lovely time over the next few months as they worked and lived here. They even stayed with us for a few weeks before they headed off to continue their adventures.
But, that’s not all…
Moving forward a couple of years and we were heading off on our overland adventures when we finally arrived in Germany greeted again by Christina at the train station. Lucas came back from university to see us and Felix came over to cook dinner for all of us. Felix took us out on a tour of Bremen and showed us some things that even Christina did not know existed, so we had a lovely day exploring.
While we were in Europe for our three-year trip, we passed a few times and were always welcomed like family as they would be in our home.
This experience is not unique in Couchsurfing. We have met many people who stayed in our home who we have been welcomed in theirs around the world. We have also surfed with some of the most interesting people who shared their homes with us and added a local element to our traveling experience.
Couchsurfing has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and in a world that seems so divided, this really shows that, as humans, we are all the same and have more in common than we have differences.