NOTE NOTE NOTE: This article will eventually appear on www.openjourney.com a new, awesome travel website!
How Couchsurfing Made Me Dateable:
and led me to my One True Love, or something like that
I like my space. I like to be left alone in my space. Ask any of my previous roommates: me = prickly, especially in the morning. I like to walk around naked, make a mess in the kitchen, leave my papers on the couch. I like my OWN space on my OWN terms. But being in a
relationship means, eventually, sharing. Even if you don’t live together, someone is bound to spend the night or make you dinner or…sit on your couch. For more than just a few hours watching the BIG GAME (I am pretty certain I never had a “big game” party). It never occurred to me that my need for my own space might be detrimental to me, after all, I’d read article in the NYTimes about couples who live apart and make it work. There is even a mom and dad who live in separate floors! Their kids split the time and they are still happily married! Sounds like a dream to me!
Flash back to about 4 years ago. I had joined Couchsurfing.com, but had no immediate need for it. I was back living with mom and dad in Florida, after a roommate mishap in NYC (this one was NOT my fault…my roommate found a girlfriend with a wee alcohol problem who
bought him all the cocaine he could consume…I suddenly found myself with two addicts, one sullen and angry and one amped up to all hours of the morning so I left…FAST). My dad and I took a trip to Guatemala for my 30th birthday. We didn’t surf with anyone, per se, but we did meet up with a Couchsurfing guru who took us to see some sights. It was so great and I thought, “I should really do this!” By “really do this” I meant surf on OTHER people’s couches. I’d never want someone in my own house. Fast forward to summer 2008. I am
working in London, but we are going to Edinburgh and I need a place to stay. I try Couchsurfing. Nothing. Then I head to Spain. Again, try couchsurfing…nothing doing. What the hell?
Who wants to host someone who has NEVER hosted? That’s what is up with my failed surfs. So I need to host. BIG sigh…BIG BIG SIGH and in Sept 2008 I host my first surfer. Her 4 nights become two weeks, and she is GREAT. I then host people back to back from Sept – Oct. A girl from Vietnam, two boys from Germany, a veterinarian from Spain, a kid from Chicago, two girls from Australia via London. Each experience is great, full of richness. Each person gets to take advantage of the fact that I am a licensed NYC Tour Guide. The fact that I have one bathroom never seems to be a problem. My two girls from Australia are EMT’s so when I get a TERRIBLE flu they are on hand with all kinds of things to help me survive.
Sharing my space becomes easier each time. Even though my apartment is rather small, these various people allow me to overcome, bit by bit, my need to have total solitude. I begin to enjoy coming home to someone, or cooking dinner with someone or grocery shopping with
someone. Even my cats don’t mind. My male cat, the cuddliest cat ever, slept in between the two 6+ foot German cousins. They slept like babies, even though he took up space in between their heads.
So when I meet the man I am going to marry, instead of feeling crowded by him in my space, it flows naturally. I don’t have to have a trial by fire, I have already begun to acclimate to sharing my space. When we look for apartments together, I no longer need a two bedroom so I can be alone, I am fine having a one bedroom. I don’t need my own room so I can shut the door.
Couchsurfing taught me how to share, how to allow other people into my physical space and my emotional space, and, ultimately, made me dateable.
But, PS, couchsurfing RULES for traveling!