I define myself as an eclectic spirit with too many interests and the curiosity to learn as much as possible from experiences (with or without people). Couchsurfing has become critical to feed my curiosity, although I must admit that I started as many others just to be able to travel on budget. However, I immediately realized that it was much more than a platform that allowed broke people to travel. It was a social experiment where people replace money with other things, immaterial things like friendship, knowledge, experiences, etc. I’ve become addicted to the diversity of people I’ve hosted and to whatever they brought with them (stories, suggestions, memories, etc.) And I was so happy to be part of their stories. So many memories hosting and surfing. Many of them with my family, some without.
I actually noticed how much CS has changed me, but even more my family. I think we were already an hospitable family, but letting friends in is different from letting strangers in. I convinced my parents to host and based on that experience we would decide whether to continue or halt. Guess what, they loved it and we’ve never stopped. My parents widened their view on the world and people. I don’t think they have ever been racist, but I definitely think that they had many stereotypes on foreigners and other cultures. And I had too. But with CS we together learnt so much that many biases went away. Looking at me now, after more than 7 years of CS, I see a person more open-minded, able to deal with different people, with an extended family spread all over the world and with a bigger knowledge on so many topics. I cannot say that I’ve changed the world, but at least I’m proud to have changed mine and my family view one couch at a time.