Staff in the Wild is a Couchsurfing program that seeks to connect the staff at HQ with the community at large. We’re hosting travelers, organizing events and will be out surfing every week of the year. Request a staff member in your city!
I set out to explore a place, culture and environment I had never been while improving my long-lost Spanish.
The People Found Along the Way
I came to Mexico without a guidebook. And apart from basic transportation, all I needed was to trust the advice of the people I met.
Some people have a talent for making anyone feel instantly welcomed in their home. My hosts Ale, Ivan and Pat all had this talent of understanding me to the point that they knew what was good for me before I even realized it myself! They mastered the art of hosting, inspiring me to become a better host myself.
After a road trip to the ruins of Xochicalco we returned in a car of six Couchsurfers. Right before leaving the car, my host stopped us and said “no, wait, car picture!” This call to capture the moment in all its non-splendor (six tired travelers squeezed into one car) surprised me. Despite its simplicity, it was so clear how much my hosts also valued the small moments, the shared experiences and their guests.
I spent a week in Mexico. Through the travelers and locals I met, I was taught Mexican and Colombian slang, got lost in a local market, tried food I’d never heard of, danced until I dropped, followed my nose upon arrival in Oaxaca and learned how to make colors from natural ingredients.
I’m mostly vegetarian, but ignoring this for the sake of curiosity led me to eating grasshoppers, tentatively sip drinks with worms bathing in them, have meat tacos for breakfast (I really liked them!) and get to know incredible people.
I was reassured that curiosity is much more rewarding than any guidebook could ever be.
Heading Home Again
It never failed to amaze me how warmly I was welcomed by not only my hosts, but my host’s friends and friends of their friends. I was rewarded with great conversations about the beauty of travel and why this type of travel is so contagious.
The most memorable experience was when – on the morning of my departure – I realized I was actually leaving. Every inch of me wanted to stay and spend more time with my new friends. Luckily, the world is small enough!