People always seem a bit apprehensive when I tell them that I travel the world and stay on strangers’ couches. I think if I didn’t know about the Couchsurfing project, I would be too.
Couchsurfing is a community of over 5 million members in 97,000 cities — and every country — around the world. Their website connects travelers and locals who meet offline to share cultures, hospitality and adventures – whether on the road or in their hometowns. The Mission is simple: Create inspiring experiences.
It does just that. It’s also a great free way to travel as you’re able to stay with a local free of charge. So once a person knows about the project, the next question is always, “So have you had any bad experiences?”
No one wants to hear all the amazing experiences and people I’ve met, but they are always curious about the funny stories. Why wouldn’t they? I would be too. So, here are some of my stories from Couchsurfing.
“I rented out my room, so we’re going to have to share the bed.”
As I’m traveling around Europe and I posted on the site that I was going to be in this country for a couple days. I was instantly invited by a Couchsurfing host who was well established in the community. I always check references just to make sure the person has done Couchsurfing before and is not some sort of creepy awkward murderer that likes to take pictures of you while you sleep. After looking at all his positive reviews, I thought, well…he seems like a nice guy.
It was a rainy day and I finally arrive at his apartment. The big teddy bear of a man gives me a very welcoming hug and invites me inside. He was really interested in meeting me as he was a digital marketer like myself. It’s always nice to see that even through different cultures, there are still so many things that unite us as a human race. In this case, we both enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to make people buy stuff they don’t really need.
After chatting for a while, he told me all the great places to see. He even arranged some tours for me and set up some hostels. He was very friendly and quite the character. I ended up going on a tour to the countryside and stayed the night at a hostel in the area. The next couple of days, I enjoy the countryside and then take the bus back to his apartment.
One thing I should note here. He is involved with another program called AirBnB. It’s a website that allows people to rent out their unused rooms and make it somewhat of a bed and breakfast. Only problem with this scenario is that he ends up renting out the room I was staying in.
So I come back to his apartment with my luggage in hand and I’m told about this recent development. I didn’t really care because it was a blessing to stay anywhere for free. The next part of the story I was certainly not prepared for.
He said something like, “Hey my good man, I rented out my room, so we’re going to have to share the bed.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just got back into town after a long bus ride and it was already pretty late at night. Even if I did book another hostel, It would be a huge pain to try to navigate and find it.
So that night, I kept to my side and he kept to his side. The only problem was that he was a bigger man and also, he has sleep apnea. Now if you have sleep apnea, most people have this device to help regulate air throughout the night. Unfortunately, most of the time this thing comes off in the middle of the night.You can use something like a snoring mouth guard to sleep better. All of a sudden you’ll be awoken by loud snoring and the sound of what I’d describe as a vacuum sucking a bowl of Jell-O. Lets just say, I didn’t get good sleep that night.
In the morning, I say my thanks and goodbyes and head off on my way. I thought, ok, well that was interesting.
Ok, that story sounds pretty bad; however, I’d like to mention all the great parts about it.
Even though I was stuck in a somewhat awkward situation, I’d like to mention that the guy I stayed with was very kind and respectful during my whole stay. He treated me to a free movie, gave me insider advice about the town and helped me plan some fun excursions. The country where I was staying was in an economic crisis. The fact that he had a resident through AirBnB was a big deal for him. In fact, it was his main source of income.
Overall, I was extremely grateful for the fact he let me stay at his place for free. It is an extremely unique experience and I highly recommend this type of travel, but sometimes you just have to listen to a vacuum sucking a bowl of Jell-O.
I want to hear your funny Couchsurfing story!
If you’ve done Couchsurfing and have a funny or interesting experience, let me know by leaving a comment below!