Loading Map...

How a backpacker became a couchsurfer

Written on: Thursday January 14th, 2010

A journal entry from: The Daily Life Trip

Believe it or not, I forgot that I once had a blog!

I got this blog 2008 to write about my around-the-world trip:
http://www.footstops.com/michael_berggren/trips/703

Here are all the pictures from my 2008 world trip:
http://picasaweb.google.com/michael.berggren82

And the idea of the topic "The Daily Life Trip" was created in summer 2008 because I wanted to keep on blogging even though I came back to Sweden. 

Maybe this is a good opportunity to summarize my stay in Uppsala from my arrival in August 2008 until now.

1. Couchsurfing

CS was a big topic for me while traveling. Through couchsurfing.org it is possible to stay with locals for free all over the world. 

During 4 months in Asia I "surfed" between hostels and local people's couches. It seems like I couldn't decide if I liked the freedom of a hostel bed or the amazing fact to sleep directly in a local persons house.
After feeling too dependent sleeping on someone's couch for a week I would take the train to the beach and stay alone in a bungalow for a couple of days and just do what I want, when I want. After all, staying in someone's home means that you always have to be polite and flexible to your host. 
   Through a hostel stay I could enjoy the freedom of spending all day and night with other travelers. It was always a special feeling to discover a new city/island with other travelers. Freedom is a traveler's gift, routine is the local's.
   But every stay on a local person's couch lured me slowly into the world of Couchsurfing. The freedom of being a backpacker seemed at first a bit bitter to trade for the somehow complicated life of adapting to life with a local. Slowly I realised the true gift of couchsurfing..

Traveling IS discovering another culture. Sleeping on someone's couch put me in the heart of that new culture. Waking up to have breakfast with a stranger could be as fun as meeting backpackers out at the beach. Normally I would meet up with the local after their work I got an insight of how they spend their evenings in that country. French people would calmly meet some friends and just hang out, not even thinking about dinner plans. A vietnamese would probably take me home to have dinner with his family and then heading out for adventures in town. Actually it was really common that the local's would take me with them to meet their friends. The friends were always interested in this strange traveler invading their friends home. They asked me about my trip, about Sweden, often namedropping ABBA and IKEA in the first sentence. All in all I experienced so many things just by sleeping on a local's couch. 

Like free tickets to a big music festival in Singapore, private guide tour and motorbike ride through Hanoi, the best pizza in Rome, crazy lan kwai fong in Hong Kong, food croquet in Toronto, sightseeing through every corner in Vancouver in a sports car, a big house party in New York... 

 Next blog I'll summarize my student life in Uppsala from 2008 'til now.