Guest post by Andi Perullo
Q: So, what exactly is Couchsurfing?
A: Let me begin my answer by quoting Couchsurfing’s mission statement, as I believe it succinctly sums the project up:
Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time.
Sadly, many people mistake this awesome travel community for simply free accommodation, when really the goal is to create an international network of friends with the common interest being the love of exploration. Yes, one of the many benefits of Couchsurfing is that it makes travel more affordable, but the most meaningful benefit is that connection you make with your host/s or with other Couchsurfers; the cultural exchange that takes place is priceless. And the hope is that this cultural exchange will in some way make the world a better place through:
“rais[ing] the collective consciousness, spread[ing] tolerance, and facilitat[ing] cultural understanding (1).”
One of the biggest misconceptions about Couchsurfing is that it is only a hospitably exchange. This could not be further from the truth. There are approximately 1.4 million members worldwide (even in places such as Antarctica!). Thus, you will find that most cities have a Couchsurfing group. These groups have regular local events that you can participate in and are wonderful opportunities to share your travel stories and to make new friends and potential travel partners. Plus, it is a great way to get your travel fix when you are not able to travel.
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