What a month!!
This February, we decided to do something different, something out-of-the-box, something most families don’t do. We decided to host Couchsurfing Guests from around the world. I wrote a blog post last month about my Couchsurfing Adventures through Australia, New Zealand, and the west coast of the United States. Although I’ve stayed in dozens of people’s homes around the world, this month was our first time hosting Couchsurfers!
So, why do we host Couchsurfers?
Here’s 3 reasons:
1) To build community and connect with others – as most of you know, one of my big passions is community building (I run several Vancouver-based communities including YVR Travellers, YVR Bloggers, YVR Foodies, YVR Dads, etc). By hosting Couchsurfing guests, we are building community on a global level instead of just at a local Vancouver level.
2) To learn about different cultures and countries – although I have been to Thailand before, it was really good to connect with Golf from Thailand as he reinspired my love for Thai culture, Thai food, and Thai people. We have never been to Latvian so after hosting Kris and Vineta, we learned so much about Latvia, that I really want to visit!!
3) To pay it forward – dozens of hosts have allowed me into their home. I can never repay them for their kindness, generosity, and hospitality. However, I can pay it forward by helping other travellers. Plus, they might not be able to repay us for hosting them, but they can pay it forward too to other guests who will visit their countries. It’s a pay it forward movement which makes the world a much better place to live!
Here’s our Couchsurfing experience as hosts!
Our first ever guest was Chalerm Vongun from Thailand (his nickname is “Golf”). Golf wrote us an amazing Request Letter (which was about 5 paragraphs long – it showed that he had read through our Couchsurfing profile really well as he mentioned a lot of info about our family, our hobbies, and our travels). A lot of Couchsurfers simply “Copy and Paste” to dozens of hosts hoping they will get someone to host them. However, Golf was highly personal. Just his Request Letter alone made me say “YES!” right away. Golf even brought a home-made souvenir that his girlfriend made. What a great memory of his stay!
Our second guests were Krišjānis Leitis and Vineta Jermolova, a world-travelling Latvian Couple! They arrived on Valentine’s Day so I was out on a “Daddy Daughter Date” with Rianne when they arrived. My wife was able to greet them and welcome until Rianne and I got home. Kris and Vineta were super friendly sharing about their 8 month trip around the world. They even cooked us a delicious Latvian Cold Soup (see video below). We had a chance to take them around Stanley Park, up to Cypress, and walking around New Westminister Market.
Here’s a video of Ryan trying Latvian Cold Soup for the first time ever!!
Have you used Couchsurfing as a Host or a Guest?
What was your experience like? Please leave a comment below!