Well, I am living abroad...yet again. After Singapore, Spain, Turkey, Korea the Netherlands (and returning to Spain for a Masters) I've unpacked my backpack a little closer to home in Mexico. I live in Culiacan where I am trying my hand at teaching English to University and high school students. Below you'll find random updates as I go to festivals, explore my city or just feel like sharing a random story.

What time is it?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Soo...what is couchsurfing? (annnd 25%)

As I have mentioned previously, couchsurfing is a website I used when I travel.

You know how the best part of traveling is talking to the old man selling the vegetables, or having the guy sitting next to you on the bus tell you about the small little soup place under the college campus that has AMAZING clam chowder. Its finding out about the places only the locals know about that really make visitng a city fantastic. Yes, Las Fallas was an AMAZING festival! But, was it my favorite? NO! My favorite was this small little fair festival in a small little town near Alicante in Spain, and I NEVER would have known about it if it weren't for couchsurfing.

Now that you know WHY I do couchsurfing, I am going to try to explain WHAT couchsurfing is. Its a website that connects travelers to one another. In addition to being able to message people personally and get itinerary help when you are heading to their city/state/province/country you have the option of trying to meet up with them for coffee, an event or even staying at their house and "surfing their couch." Now the couch can be anything from the floor, a couch, a futon, a pilates mat, an extra bed, an entire apartment or basically anywhere else a traveler can rest their head.

WHO uses couchsurfing? Well, me, Lisa, Lilia, Brandon (a little) and many of my other friends you know and love. Basically you have to be 18 to get an account and from there on the sky's the limit. I have surfed with people much older than me, with families, with freshman in college, with my peers, those slightly older than me and so forth. All have been AMAZING expereiences. I've stayed with people who were broke, people who were well off and people in between. But regardless of their situations most of my hosts/surfers have had one thing in common. They are travelers. Whether they traveled in the past, want to travel or are traveling currently we all have the heart of travelers. We love travel stores, we tend to be open minded and we love to have fun!

OK...so I go on the internet and stay with random people...really Carissa...REALLY? ARE YOU CRAZY? Well couchsurfing does have some safeguards in place. HOW is it a safe site? First off let me say I have been surfing for practically two years now(that's the WHEN I guess). The ONLY reason I started was because I was meeting my friend in Valencia. I asked her what hostel she was staying at only to be told she wasn't. She had found this guy on this website and was staying with him...but I could go as well if I wanted.



I agreed to go with her only because I figured it would be safer for her if she had backup but talked to a hostel who assured we could come there that night if needed.

That night I met Juanjo, and went to a fire festival. I believe I've told you all the story, if not...IT WAS AWESOME. My singualrly FAVORITE event I have EVER been to, and I never would have found this small little town without my host!

So, now, I was dying to ONLY travel using couchsurfing, but how did I know I'd get so lucky every time? Well couchsurfing is a prett safe site. Every member has references. So if I stay with someone and have a blast I can leave them a reference, "Lilia is AMAZING she knows the BEST coffee places, and can give you an amazing tour of Balboa park. Her couch is very comfy and while we did party one night (fun times!) she can definately just sit back and relax on the couch swapping stories." There's also vouching. Vouching is a VERY big deal. Its the biggest trust symbol you can give someone. You can only vouch for someone if you have been vouched for three times, so we're the uber special ones.

And finally, WHERE , well couchsurfers are found everywhere, we have a few in Antartica, though they admit it is a tough climate to host in, and not a very central location.

OK, I think that covers the 5W+H, but if you guys have any questions please let me know. I swear this isn't as silly as it looks and it truely is the best way to travel.

Oh, and today marks my third month of being in Korea. YAY for being here 25% of my contract and surviving!!!!!


Lisa said...

Man, I sure do miss you. It sounds like you are having so much fun!!

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that I didn't know what you were doing until after you came home all safe and sound. Besos,