You are hereHow Couch Surfing Made Me Dateable

How Couch Surfing Made Me Dateable

By - Posted on 07 December 2010

I like my space. I like to be left alone in my space. Ask any of my previous roommates: me = prickly, especially in the morning. I like to walk around naked, make a mess in the kitchen, leave my papers on the couch. I like my OWN space on my OWN terms. But being in a relationship means, eventually, sharing. Even if you don’t live together, someone is bound to spend the night or make you dinner or…sit on your couch. For more than a few hours.

Photo of a Couchsurfer's Bed
Photo of a Couchsurfer's Bed © granth

It never occurred to me that my need for my own space might be detrimental to me. After all, I’d read article in the NYTimes about couples who live apart and make it work. There is even a mom and dad who live in separate floors! Their kids split the time and they are still happily married. Sounds like a dream to me!

Flash back to about 4 years ago. I had joined, but had no immediate need for it. I was back living with mom and dad in Florida, after a roommate mishap in NYC (this one was NOT my fault - my roommate found a girlfriend with a wee alcohol problem who bought him all the cocaine he could consume. I suddenly found myself with two addicts, one sullen and angry and one amped up to all hours of the morning so I left…FAST).

My dad and I took a trip to Guatemala for my 30th birthday. We didn’t surf with anyone, per se, but we did meet up with a Couchsurfing guru who took us to see some sights. It was so great and I thought, “I should really do this!” By “really do this” I meant surf on OTHER people’s couches. I’d never want someone in my own house.

Fast forward to summer 2008. I am working in London, but we are going to Edinburgh and I need a place to stay. I try Nothing. Then I head to Spain. Again, try - nothing doing. What the hell?

Couch Surfing Photo
Photo of People Couch Surfing © Lars Plougmann

Who wants to host someone who has NEVER hosted? That’s what is up with my failed surfs. So I need to host. BIG sigh…BIG BIG SIGH and in Sept 2008 I host my first surfer. Her 4 nights become two weeks, and she is GREAT. I then host people back to back from September to October. A girl from Vietnam, two boys from Germany, a veterinarian from Spain, a kid from Chicago, two girls from Australia via London.

Each experience is great, full of richness. Each person gets to take advantage of the fact that I am a licensed NYC Tour Guide. The fact that I have one bathroom never seems to be a problem. The two girls from Australia are EMT’s so when I get a TERRIBLE flu they are on hand with all kinds of things to help me survive.

Sharing my space becomes easier each time. Even though my apartment is rather small, these various people allow me to overcome, bit by bit, my need to have total solitude. I begin to enjoy coming home to someone or cooking dinner with someone or grocery shopping with someone. Even my cats don’t mind. My male cat, the cuddliest cat ever, slept in between the two 6+ foot German cousins. They slept like babies, even though he took up space in between their heads.

Got Couch Surfing Tee-Shirt Photo
Photo of a Couchsurfer © leafar

So, when I meet the man I am going to marry, instead of feeling crowded by him in my space, it flows naturally. I don’t have to have a trial by fire, I have already begun to acclimate to sharing my space. When we look for apartments together, I no longer need a two bedroom so can be alone, I am fine having a one bedroom. I don’t need my own room so I can shut the door.

Couchsurfing taught me how to share, how to allow other people into my physical space and my emotional space, and, ultimately, made me dateable.

But, PS, couchsurfing RULES for traveling!

About the Author

Joanna StrangeJoanna Strange is a director/actor and sometimes writer living in New York. As a child of archaeologists, she started traveling at a young age and became resourceful while abroad. She got her first passport at 9 months and has not stopped since! She has traveled within Europe and the Middle East and, recently, started to tackle Central and South America. Her favorite place in the whole world is on Mount Nebo in Jordan at sunset. She highly recommends stepping out of your comfort zone to see what the world has to offer, but don’t forget to respect the new cultures

I have only done it a few times (Couchsurfing that is), but really need to make more of a commitment to it soon. This post makes me want to do that even more.

Thanks for sharing this. I've met some of the most amazing people through CS, glad to hear you've had great experiences as well. CS ROCKS!


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