Dr. J and I wanted to try something new- well not 'new' exactly, I mean we’ve been doing it for years but I guess ‘with new people’.
So I did some internet research and found out that like many big cities in the world, our city had a large network of people just like us!
We did not tell our family we were doing it. They actually found out about a month into it because as mature (ha, ha) adults we figured there was no need to lie to our parents. My mother all but cried. My mother-in-law said her signature ‘oh well you guys’.
CouchSurfing International, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is:
“to internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance, and facilitate cultural understanding."
This is done by hosting people in your home, from around the world.
Members fill out a profile and then you either send a request, or receive a request, to Couchsurf. Each profile has a rating system where the host and surfer summarize their experience. The more positive feedback you get the higher you are on the Couchsurfing pyramid and you can attain the level of being ‘vouched’ for. There are also three levels of verification the highest of which requires an address verification and optional donation.
We have hosted great people from Spain, France, Italy, Dubai, Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic and California. We have surfed in Europe and North America. We have surfed with the monkeys.
It is pretty easy to spot an incompatible guest request. Profile requirements make it easy to make informed decisions and find compatible matches.
If you have questions regarding Couchsurfing or about our experiences, I would be happy talk more about it. Or check out the FAQ section at: http://www.couchsurfing.org/
I will only have one monkey this summer and I am planning on doing some road trips and surfing with like minded people. Don’t tell my mother.