City: Durham, North Carolina, USA
Years on Couchsurfing: 10
Hey Trisha! So what was your first Couchsurfing experience?
I used the Wants to Meet-Up when I had a summer internship in a new city. I was in South Africa and would work 7 days and then have 2 days off. I would message people asking if they could help pick me up and explore the cities since I didn’t have a car nor public transport. For 3 months, someone came EVERY day off. I never would have seen or experienced this country had it not been for this amazing community.
Best way to see a city is through local eyes! And what has been an interesting hosting experience you’ve had?
I had a surfer come and insist on making me dinner. It was that time of the month when we really needed to go grocery shopping but I hadn’t yet been, so there wasn’t much to work with. But he threw things together that included orzo, canned tuna, and half the jar of pickle juice (plus more). Not the worst meal I’d ever eaten, but certainly one of the most memorable ones and so appreciated to not have to cook but also with the appreciation from him for the host/surfer experience.
Lovely gesture. The ingredients (especially the pickle juice mixed with tuna) isn’t something I would normally mix! What about an interesting surfing experience?
I have been to 8 different Couch Crashes. These are likely the most fun way I’ve traveled of all my experiences. Going to a city, participating in events that the local community wants to show off, and hanging out with loads of locals and travelers for a whole weekend is AMAZING and really invigorates the CS spirit 🙂
I too love Couch Crashes! Just attended the NYC Holiday Crash this weekend! What’s the coolest gift you’ve received from a surfer?
I personally love locally-inspired consumables. I love candies or honey or whatever from home countries/ cities. Knick-knacks collect dust over time but trying things from other parts of the world can be an experience and want you wanting more!
Ah! You must have a sweet tooth like me! What is your favorite travel quote?
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.Mark Twain
Very wise words from a very wise man. What is a crazy thing that has happened to you while traveling?
Not while CouchSurfing, but in April 2007, my cruise ship sank in Greece.
What!? We will have to get that story another time! What is something everyone should see in Durham?
Eno River State Park is my favorite. It is part of the Mountains-to-Sea trail that stretches across North Carolina. It has wonderful hiking trails and even a quarry you can go swimming in. Such a natural wonder to escape the city and spend as little or much time as you want.
Sounds beautiful! What is one thing you never go on a trip without?
My phone and international data. I realize that lots of people do this regularly, but I am addicted to Pokémon Go (the mobile game), and whenever I go internationally, I want to meet other players and get the locally-exclusive Pokémon. Go ahead and laugh but I love it 🙂
Couchsurfing is a judgment free zone! What is your dream vacation?
My bucket-list includes making it to all 6 of the inhabited continents. I only have Australia left, so making it there (and hopefully including New Zealand too) is definitely a dream.
And I’m sure theres Pokemon in both! Last question, what is your advice to new Couchsurfers?
Take time to build yourself up. Include multiple pictures, one of which someone could identify you. Fill out your profile. And build up references, even from attending events or hangouts. You can find hosts who don’t require references, but they’re harder to find. This is more about cultural exchange and community than about the free Couch, and that’s going to take some intentional efforts and not just passive happen-chance.