I have been considering participating in Couch Surfing for some time. The majority of the surfers are of the younger generations. I wasn’t sure if anyone except the occasional individual with no luck locating a couch, would really desire to stay with us and use an inflatable air mattress as their bed. I was very wrong and have stumbled upon a media site that is more “social” in nature than some sites I have been on for years.
Our first surfer was Allan Flynn a young lad (49) from Canberra Australia and an architect by profession. We waited Friday night for his arrival, not really knowing what to expect or what the experience would be like. I was surprised when I announced I was doing this on other social media platforms and received a ton of posts, that indicated I had better be careful. They “wouldn’t do this in a million years”. Some were young and I least expected this response from that generation.
Obviously, if I will pick up and go to Ecuador and other parts unknown, I will take a so called risk and have a complete stranger couch surf with us. When Allan arrived he rolled down his car window and stated “Good day mate” (They really say this!). Immediately Allan made us feel comfortable and at ease. I was greatly relieved that he was such a gentle person and always wanted to fend for himself. His instinct was to do tasks, to pay back the use of our house. We acquiesced the final day and allowed him to wash our cars,
On Saturday we toured the state Capitol building and he was obviously elated at its construction and history. We joined a tour in the rotunda and listened to part of the spiel. I haven’t been inside in many years and it was very nice to revisit our state’s heritage and the fashion it was formed. My most embarrassing moment, was when Allan asked what number state we were in joining the Union. My mind went blank and we had to ask the guide! Do my fellow Texans know?
Most of all I was completely knocked over by the hardware on the doors, the size of the door jambs, windows and the tile put down in the 1930’s. I was amazed at the longevity of various furniture, sections of the building and felt a deep reverence and appreciation for my home state. Allan kept stating that I should remember “everything is bigger in Texas” when we would see a looming doorway or imposing window. I asked him, well what do you reckon happened to me, given I am only 5’7″ tall, if I stretch!
We then toured 6th street and SoCo later Saturday afternoon. He was able to see what keeps Austin Weird! I love showing visitors my home town and having their feedback. We saw this character sitting on the street in SoCo and it made me remember one of the reasons why I love Austin so much.
Sunday we took Allan to the Oasis and it was truly an oasis (very little water in Lake Travis and it looked like a dessert in places). He really thought the establishment was a design feat and kept taking various photos on different levels of the restaurant. I took this one of him as he tried a “local” beer and he thought the beer was sweet. He drank every drop though!
There was a charity car show in the parking lot and we were able to see a vast inventory of old cars, sports cars and muscle cars from the late 60’s. Truly brought back special memories for me, if you remember my ’69 Camaro 396″. This one is a ’67, but close enough!
It was a very enjoyable weekend and I was sorry to see him drive away this morning. I do know though, that if I make it to Australia one day, I have a place to stay and a place where I will revisit a friend, made through this wonderful web site. Can’t wait for #2 on Tuesday night! Safe Travels and Saludos mi amigos!
OMG I can’t believe people told you to not do Couchsurfing!!!!! It literally changed my life in such amazing ways. I haven’t done it in years, since my method of traveling has changed, but I will forever be grateful for the lessons it taught me and for the best friends I made from it. Looks like you had an awesome first experience with it. I hope you do it again! 🙂
I heard about couchsurfing years ago from my daughter after she interviewed someone about it while staying in a hostel in NYC. I was immediately in love with the concept but it was several years before I dove in myself. As research for a post on my blog, I couchsurfed for the first time in Austin on my way to the “One Couch at a TIme” screening event in Dallas. I live in San Antonio and thought it would be good to try someplace close to home for my “first time” surfing. My host was AWESOME and experience beyond that. I wrote a full feature on my website (in the March archives) and also made a short 5 minute music video about Couchsurfing and some of the people you might meet. I still want to do so much more with it and LOVE the whole “sharing” concept of this hospitality network. Thanks for sharing your hosting experience with us!
I too was surprised that many younger people found it strange that we would host complete strangers. We are in our 50’s and the reaction of our daughter’s friends to this is not much different from the reaction of our peers. We have been hosting for the past few months, and have greatly enjoyed the experience so far. Thank you for sharing your experience… it sounds like you had a lot of fun and makes me want to visit Austin!
I have been blown away by the issues presented from both sides, in discussions. Some are so fearful its insane and some are very comfortable! Life is full of risks and this isn’t a risk if you do the background research! It is a “lot of fun” and we would welcome you in Austin any time! Safe CouchSurfing!