So I was gonna blog about my brushes with greatness and tell you all about the famous people I had met in my life. Richard and Stephanie both blogged about the famous people they met, but when I was comprising my list, it came up short. So instead I’m blogging about my latest interest which is couchsurfing.
CouchSurfing has been on the news a little bit lately and I discovered it somehow while surfing the internet. When I was in the hospital in NYC I didn’t get a chance to be a tourist except for my one hour double decker ride just before I left for LGA. But the coolest thing about being in Beth Israel to me was all the people I got to meet. I was there for ten days, so I had several roommates and lots of nurses and doctors. I really dug that they were locals and they thought it was cool that an Okie was in their world for a little while. I got to experience through them what it was actually like to live there, while if I had gone there on a vacation I never would have had that type of unique experience. In fact, the only time that folks totally ignored me was while I was on the tour bus. Not one person spoke a single word to me or even looked in my direction.
I’ve often thought about all the people who live in NYC and how it would be so cool to get to stay in someones home rather than a hotel, so I could actually experience life as a real New Yorker.
Then in June, I learned about couchsurfing. It’s a very secure social networking site where people all over the world open up their homes to fellow couchsurfers for free. Before you can even add a friend to your profile you are required to have met them in person first. You are highly encouraged to verify your identity by confirming that you received a postcard at your home address. In order to do that you must make a donation to the project with a credit card that must be in your name. The more you surf the more references you get as people share their experiences about you and you share theirs about them on each others profiles. Above that there is a vouching system that is even harder to get because you can only be vouched for by someone who has been vouched for three times. It’s not at all a dating site, so you don’t have to worry about creepy internet pervs hitting on you either. Once you choose a couch to surf you send a request and the person can decide whether or not to accept you. Most hosts prefer that you have thoroughly read their profile and know something about them and why you want to surf with them. They don’t want an ungrateful traveler who is just looking for a free place to stay. It is free, but it’s not about that, but about the experience. Also you can choose not to host if you prefer. I can only offer coffee or a drink which means I am available to visit with fellow CS’ers but have no couch available.
I actually got my first chance to host this past Friday. I had spoken with Tara on CS a few times and she gave me a lot of information about the CS project. Then she asked me if I would be available to host her for a day of sightseeing in the Wichita Mountains. I agreed, but I was very nervous. I knew Tara was fine, but I had never hosted before and I wanted to get a positive reference. She really made it easy for me, though. We spent the day visiting local tourist attractions and she bought me lunch at Meers which is a very popular spot for tourists. She said I was great (whew) and gave me a great reference and recommended me to others who visit the area.
It’s very very hard to get a couch in NYC, though. Those folks are always getting requests and if they said yes to everyone they would never have any privacy. But when I do finally go if I don’t find a couch right in NYC which would be my dream couch (lol), I can find a couch close enough to commute which would also be awesome.
So dear readers, please take a look at my CS profile and if it is something that interests you (I know it’s not for everyone), then please join. Stephanie, I have an idea this may not be your thing, but if it is, I think I could add you as a friend cause even though we have never met in person, I think I know you well enough to do that, but only if you feel that way too. If you don’t I would certainly understand. So I’ll give y’all the link to my CS profile so you can at least take a look. And I’ll post some pics of my day with Tara. She is camera shy though and I don’t think I got any pics of her, though. Let me know if you looked at my profile, okay.
The pics were all taken by Tara except the one of the buffalo. It was very close to the car and I took it from my window inside the car. How did I do, Richard? There’s one of Meers, a couple in Medicine Park of the Bath Lake swimmin hole, one of Billy and me, and a view from Mount Scott.
I also included a T Mobile CouchSurfing commercial for you to watch!