In May 2018, I was living in Beverly Hills. Having moved recently for a new job that reduced my travel opportunities significantly, life was very insulated. I missed the experiences I had when I was traveling. I remembered that I had signed up for Couchsurfing a couple years prior, and I thought that it might be a fun way to meet new people and gain some travel experiences. I met with my friends and talked with my family in order to discuss the safety factors and all other elements about hosting strangers in my home. Most of my friends could not understand why I would do this. And they were further mystified when I explained I wouldn’t make any money.
After much deliberation and prayer, I decided to take the leap. I reactivated my profile and spruced it up with pictures and details. Almost immediately, I received many requests for hosting. After combing through the dozens, I finally settled on a message from two French girls who were visiting LA. I took French in high school, and there is a soft spot in my heart for all things French… I guess I am somewhat of a Francophile.
After accepting them, I didn’t know what to do in the meantime. I got my place ready as much as I could. In LA, I had a one-bedroom place, so I made sure I had a queen air mattress. Luckily, the living room was huge and could fit the mattress behind my couch with plenty of space. I spent a lot of time researching the most photogenic spots around LA: graffiti wings, famous signs, cool trees, sunsets, whatever else I could find.
Finally, the time had arrived. Louise and Sacha showed up to my place, and I was officially a Couchsurfing host. They were the most perfect guests I could have imagined. We saw the Hollywood stars, palm trees, the Hollywood Sign, and the Beverly Hills fountain. They got to go to Planet Hollywood and it was such a wonderful time. One thing I remember vividly was that I started a playlist on Spotify with the goal of getting international music all into one playlist. They gave me a song that was pretty graphic. Here two of the sweetest, nicest girls I’d met in a while, and yet this song was graphic. When I brought that up, their response was, “We are French.” It was then that I knew they would always be dear in my heart.
After they left, I truly missed them. I realized that I loved being a host and tour guide. Since then, I have hosted over 150 people in two different cities. I continue to update my playlist with guests’ favorite songs. I also received an Instax camera for Christmas. I have been taking selfies with my guests here in Austin as my new apartment’s key focal point.