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Couchsurf Your Way Around the World

May 17, 2010

Make yourself at home.You probably spend a lot of time thinking about getting away. Wherever you are, you want away from there. If you have snow you want sand, if you have sand you want mountains, and if you have mountains you want cityscapes.

I was cruising around online looking for some destination inspiration of my own. I decided to see where Londoners were reading about and went to the travel section of a UK newspaper. Where were they recommending readers go on holiday? San Francisco, about 20 minutes from my front door. Hmmm. Where else? The small town of Deal, not far from the white cliffs of Dover. Deal is home to my friend, Luke, and someplace that I once spent a week’s vacation, mostly listening to Luke talk about how dull Deal was and how he wanted to get away.

Well Luke’s living in Tokyo now, but apparently somebody thinks his hometown is worth a visit. And after reading the article on the beaches outside of San Francisco, I thought that sounded like a pretty good trip as well.

Sometimes you don’t need a new destination, just a new perspective.

The best way to try on someone else’s hometown might be to try out their home. Have a look at couchsurfing.org. I haven’t tried this myself, yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. Travellers around the world offer up their couches (or guest rooms) to each other. Along with a place to stay you get a tour guide, someone to share dinner with, maybe even a friend.

Going to a stranger’s house is something your parents would probably be against, but if you do your homework, check to see if the person you’re staying with has been vouched for by another surfer, and make sure you have a backup plan (as in some cash and the name and address of a local hostel), it could be a great experience. Just be smart, be safe, and be open to the differences you might encounter when living like someone else.

Welcome home!

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