The Art of Couch Surfing

The dream couch.

My future couch. Who’s surfing?

In twenty days I’ll be heading back to the United States for my sister’s wedding, work and lots of pleasure. Aside from the laundry list of clothes that must be tailored, deadlines that must be met and the 13 hour flight ahead of me I’m pretty excited.

Earlier this year I found myself on a poorly planned trip. Sure, there were some unexpected mishaps but as a whole, I did not recognize the amount of dedication and knowledge it takes to float around the world on your own schedule.

Freedom is a lot of work.

What a challenging time, it was. It was painfully obvious at that time that I had not mastered this vagabonding lifestyle I’m aiming for. My appreciation for my family and friends  deepened so much more.

This time my stay will be much shorter and I’ll be subletting from a friend for a portion of my stay; just two lessons I learned through the slices of humble pie, tears and frustration from my last visit.

Below are three more lessons that may improve your next attempt at the art of couch surfing.

1. Be self sufficient. Have your own ride, tidy up & contribute!

Most of your loved ones won’t care much if you’re on their couch, that is,  if the couch is clean, you’re getting around on your own and there’s food in the refrigerator.  It’ll be like you’re just the fun in town for awhile that seems to always be opening a fresh bottle of wine out of the air. Use the money you’re saving on hotels to help out around the house and if renting a car is too expensive learn the local bus and train routes. You’ll enjoy your freedom and your host will be happy to have you, again.  Everyone loves a pleasant house guest.

2. Never assume.

This is a harder one for me. I’m definitely an ask forgiveness instead of permission type of person but it reads as inconsiderate in many scenarios, especially when someone is doing you a favor. The time you take to send that text message about the last bit of milk or to ask about having a guest over can make all the world of difference, regardless of how close you are.In cases where you have already acted without asking, be prepared to apologize, expense the mistake and adapt to the situation. Vagabonding as a whole is about spontaneity & learning as you go.

3. Expense your own space.

You can house surf but for so long, for extended trips you’ll probably need your own space. Consider budgeting for a hotel in advance;  that way you can spend the bulk of your time with your loved ones but leave right when everyone wants their own space.

Hope this serves as a testimony and guide to all. Happy Couch Surfing!

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