on October 7, 2013
The Couchsurfing Network is a global hospitality network comprised of 5.5 million hosts and surfers in over 97,000 cities. The first thing to understand about the Couchsurfing network is that it’s not just a place to seek free accommodation. If you’re filling out your profile and sending couch requests with the sole intention of saving money on accommodation, you’re selling yourself and the Couchsurfing network far short.
Couchsurfing is about community. When you couchsurf, you take your community and expand it to include fascinating people from exotic places around the world. The important and beautiful thing to remember is that your hosts are also extending their community to include you.
Being part of a community is not free. While you probably don’t pay your way with money, you pay it with time, energy, and any number of other qualities you have to offer. You pay your way with your self.
Those costs can be high. It can take a good deal of time and effort to figure out where you fit in. But the rewards of being surrounded by people you know, love, and trust make all the work worth it. Somehow these rewards seem even more prized when the community you find yourself part of is in a random city of a foreign country that you never knew you’d have the guts to visit.
That's where Couchsurfing comes in. It facilitates community building by helping you find rewarding extensions to your community all across the globe. Since the network attracts very open-minded and kindhearted people, it's not rare to find yourself part of a community you love within hours of meeting a CS host.
In this series of posts I'll to go through a set of guidelines for getting the most out of Couchsurfing. I'll share some of the valuable lessons I've learned through my extensive CS experience. My hope is that through the network you'll discover your own ability to facilitate the growth of a loving community. While it is an incredibly rewarding way to travel, Couchsurfing is also a great tool for learning how to relate to others and make new friends no matter where you are or what you're doing.
I do want to briefly mention safety. The first question to come up when I tell someone about the CS network is, how safe is it? The simple answer is that if you use the same common sense and logical considerations that you would in most things, there is little cause for concern. Regardless, it's very important to understand the risks involved and I will try my best to address them as they pertain to each article.
The first step in joining the network is to create a profile.