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Breaking New Ground: Couch Surfing
I started this trip with a couple solid goals in mind. The first was to explore the United States while making money. The second was to make connections and develop friendships.
hostels, and airbnbs...but then I discovered couchsurfing and it has changed everything.
The first night I came into Atlanta late so I slept at a Korean sauna; they are great inexpensive places to sleep and shower but I quickly recognized that it was not helping me attain my goal of connectedness; I left the next day without meeting anyone and saying maybe a grand total of 10 words.
That's when the importance of staying with other people and avoiding loneliness really hit me.
I had heard of couchsurfing while studying abroad but had never looked into it. So when the evening started approaching I found the app, installed it, payed the $25 verification, added photos, and filled out my profile to make myself look legitimate.
I reached out to Dave (a host) and within the hour had a place to sleep and someone with whom I could explore the town. My experience was beyond delightful. It was like studying abroad all over again - without the expensive plane ticket or the student loans. Needless to say, I'm hooked and will be utilizing this community for the rest of my trip.
Even if you don't quit your day job and travel around the US using ride-sharing to fund it, I highly recommend you drive a few hours to somewhere you've never been before and crash a stranger's couch!
Not only is it an affordable option, but you also acquire a new friend and gain access to an insider's perspective. My only regret is not looking into this sooner!