Name: Jason Griffing
Hosted 15 Surfers and surfed over 30 times in 24 cities across the world
Words of Advice: “Don’t look at Couchsurfing as a way to travel for free. Look at it as a chance to have unique experiences and create new friendships around the world.”
Since 2008, Jason has been active on Couchsurfing in every way possible – as a host, a surfer, and an event organizer. For 6 years, he’s organized a Couchsurfing potluck cookout every summer, and a pumpkin carving party in October. Along with a few other Connecticut locals, Jason is organizing Connecticut’s first official Couch Crash to showcase all that Connecticut has to offer. Read more about his Couchsurfing adventures below!
How did you hear about Couchsurfing?
J: I remember reading a story somewhere about Couchsurfing and thought it sounded really cool. Ironically, in the same week, my old boss (who lived across the country) called me and told me about Couchsurfing. Her son had surfed in Amsterdam with a couple, and that couple was coming to the USA and needed a place to stay in my area so he recommended me. While I did not need to join CS to have them stay it was the perfect opportunity for me to join and begin my CS journey.
Which one Couchsurfing memory has stood out to you over the years?
J: Who can have one! Some brief highlights:
- One of my first hosts, Jean-Marie, bought me a $100 train ticket in China before I even met him, only had exchanged some CS messages. This showed me the type of great people and trust exhibited in Couchsurfing. Of course, I paid him back!
- Spending a whole day in Amsterdam, biking with my hosts all over the city and countryside, canals, windmills, stroopwafels, museums, and great beer!
- Sonia, in South Korea, taking extra time off from work to spend more time with me. We had some crazy experiences, sitting in with Miss Korea contestants and photo bombing a fantasy fashion show.
- Franco, in Italy, taking me all over Lake Como to mom & pop restaurants for special off the menu meals and incredible sites only a local would know.
- Deja Surfing with Sonia, Jean-Marie, and Julien – so great meeting up again with hosts who became friends!
Why do you choose to host?
J: Hosting gives me the opportunity to experience cultures from around the world without traveling. Also, it allows me to show off where I live and the great things my state has to offer. I also get the opportunity to create connections for when I travel.
What strikes you as unique about the Couchsurfing community?
J: One of the cool things I find about Couchsurfing is that age is not important. When I host meetups, it’s great to see someone 22 hanging out with someone who is 60. There are no cliques! We are all joined by the common bond of traveling and sharing our lives. When we surf or host we break through our comfort zone to stay with or host ‘strangers.’ I say to everyone – go that extra step and stay with someone out of your age range. You won’t be sorry for the experience it can bring you.
Any advice for new surfers?
J: Don’t look at CS as a way to travel for free, look at it as a chance to have unique experiences and create new friendships around the world. Stay or host surfers for more than one night to really get a great connection. Fill out your profile completely! Don’t rely on Public Trips..there’s nothing like a personal hosting request to help you find a host.
Surf off the beaten path and experience more! Lots of surfers go to New York – but how many go to Colchester, Connecticut? Lots of surfers go to Seoul but how many go to Suncheon, South Korea? I have found that when you stay outside the major tourist city not only do you get to see an area that many may not go to but you also have those one of a kind experiences that aren’t in the travel guides. Not only that, but hosts in those off-the-beaten path locations don’t get as many requests, so while every host is great..those that don’t get as many surfers are all the more excited to show you all their area has to offer and go out of their way to make your visit that much more special!
#1 piece of advice for new hosts?
J: Be flexible and understand your surfer is in an area they are unfamiliar with and things may not go exactly as planned.
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