A couple of weeks ago, as part of my ‘say yes to more social situations’ resolution and after the amazingly wonderful success of our visit with some internet friends who came to stay with us, I signed up for a couch surfer account.

What the hell is a couch surfer account? I hear you say.. well! Funny you should ask because I have a whole lot of information right here ready for you:

What is CouchSurfing?

CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Since 2004, members have been using our system to come together for cultural exchange, friendship, and learning experiences. Today, over a million people who might otherwise never meet are able to share hospitality and cultural understanding.

Our mission as an organization is to create inspiring experiences: cross-cultural encounters that are fun, engaging, and illuminating. These experiences take many forms. CouchSurfing’s initial focus was on hosting and ‘surfing’ (staying with a local as a guest in their home). Alongside these core experiences, we now also facilitate a growing array of activities and events.

We have a vision of a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Each CouchSurfing experience shared by our members brings us closer to that vision.

How does CouchSurfing work?

CouchSurfing members share hospitality with one another. These exchanges are a uniquely rich form of cultural interaction. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world without leaving home. ‘Surfers,’ or travelers, are able to participate in the local life of the places they visit. We also give more people the chance to become travelers, because ‘surfing’ lowers the financial cost of exploration.

The CouchSurfing community continues to expand its horizons. Members are always finding more ways to connect and learn about each other. Every day, people across the world share coffee, camping trips, meetings, language exchanges, discussions and all sorts of other experiences.

So, basically their are two sets of people on couch surfer, people with houses (spare room/couch/hammock, whatever) and people who are travelling and need somewhere to sleep. Signing up for something like this is a pretty big deal for me, I’m pretty shy, and kind of weird about sharing my space. Anyway, today I got an email from a 26 year old French guy named Joel who is currently travelling around New Zealand on his bicycle and he wanted to know if he could stay with us for a night or two in a couple of weeks.

I have to say, I kind of panicked when I first got the email. My (self diagnosed) Avoidant Personality Disorder means that EVERY single time someone asks me to do something social, my first instinct is to say no. There are no exceptions to this, my mother, my best friend, my boss, it doesn’t matter, I always have to really work myself up to saying yes to things which require me to interact with other people. It’s really stupid and kind of strange, especially since I really LOVE the times that I do get out and interact with other people, especially my dear darling friends who I never see. Anyway, so I got this email through and my first instinct was to say no, to lie and say we would be out of town or make up some phony story, but instead of doing that I walked away from my desk for a couple of minutes and let the feeling pass and then I sat down at my computer and sent off an email telling him he could come and stay. Yay me! It’s progress, a breakthrough! Without having to see a therapist or leave the house!

I’m looking forward to it, but as the day looms closer and closer, I’m sure that I will start to dread it more and more until he arrives, at which point I’ll be really happy I said yes. Will you all remind me of that as the day is approaching and I am freaking out about how I can’t possibly do it? Thanks bloggers!

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