My journey with Couchsurfing started back in November of 2021. I had recently been told about the website and its nature. I thought (and still thinking) that it was a great way to get to know the world I am part of through a multicultural experience. And oh, boy! it has not disappointed me a bit.
The first people I hosted were Bryan and his childhood friend, Margaret. They are both from New York state. I opened the account on a sunny and quiet late afternoon. Two hours later, I receive my first request. Bryan and Margaret were in such a desperate situation. Their flight got canceled and the airline was charging them about $500 to change the time of departure for the same day. Both had no more than $200 altogether. They just needed a place where to spend the night before catching their new flight the next day. I had nothing prepared for their arrival. No couch. No mattress. Nothing. Just food and a second empty room.
I had to do something about this. At least offering them food would alleviate the situation of having to sleep at the airport. I told them to come over to my place so they could have dinner and have a good night of sleep. I felt sorry for them but then I thought that I also did not have a comfortable mattress for them to sleep on. What was I going to do about it?!!!
After having told them that the only space I had was an empty room, Bryan and Margaret did not hesitate in accepting my offer. So, I thought, these people are willing to sleep on the floor in exchange for some company. The least I could do was to offer them my bed, and I did. I finished dinner and received them with a big smile and hugs! They looked so tired! Incredible drained. I help them with their backpacks and other belongings. Immediately, I told them to sit and have some food so I could explain to them what to expect from their visit.
While we were having dinner, I told them that it was best if they took the bed and I’d sleep in the other room. Almost immediately, Bryan’s face goes down. In a slow, and almost whisper voice he said, ” thank you. Thank you, William. You have no idea how hard this trip has been for both of us. And here you are offering us your own bed. Thank you.”
That’s what Couchsurfing is to me. Besides learning and connecting with other cultures, It is about helping others reach their destinations safely and sound (and rested), while leaving them with a print about your culture, about yourself.
Ever since that day I have opened up my home for both people in need of a place to stay or just passers. I am happy with all the connections I have made to this day. And even happier that now I have a home in at least fifteen different countries.