Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Couchsurfing family

A Maltese girl I met through one of my CSers who turned out to be quite the couchsurfer herself mentioned to my surfer “I don’t know how you can surf there, its to awesome I would never do anything or go to bed.”

To which my surfer replies “now you see my problem!”
Sam an English guy who surfed my couch back in December 2011 wrote in my guestbook “I’m sure Darwin is a great place but I never saw it because I couldn’t get off the awesome balcony chatting with the other couchsurfers”
Last night I was sitting downstairs drinking a bad german beer with three of my couchsurfers. Dan from California, Anders from Denmark & Charly from France.

Californian Dan proceeded to drunkenly inform me how I was Couchsurfing Northern Territory. I was the most experienced host/surfer in the whole of the NT. I guess its quite a feat to be the most experienced host in the whole of a region and I do have a few hosts not far behind me. But there is only 250,000 people in the whole of the Northern Territory so its not like I’m trying to be the most experienced host in California or anything.

Dan stood up and looked towards the balcony, the balcony of awesome. And he said “Imagine how many people have stood right here. How many surfers have passed through these gates” Dan was having a bit of a drunken spiritual moment I have felt time and time again when I stare out at the tents parked under my house and contemplate just how lucky I am to be given the chance to meet these people.

But sitting there listening to my three long term surfers rattle on drunk about the amazing stories and experiences that would have happened under my roof it I couldn’t help but think its not just me and my real life family who created this epic story it’s the surfers who passed through. I pride myself on my ability to select awesome people and time and time again I am rewarded. Each season I create a new family plucked from various countries that somehow all meld together despite being completely different. Its these connections that create the vibe that resonates through the house and creates the legend of the couchsurfing house in Malak.

Probably my first real CS family was a bit of a mixed bag of Gypsies. July 2010. You would have the frenchies Pierre, Greg & Eric & their token female Flavia the loud & proud Italian. Then there was Ilona the overly talkative German who became my CS protégé and European sister. The Morgans, a French couple with the same name sort of slid in there as well. Jon the American riding the country on his motorbike. I couldn’t forget Jordan! Who has his own CS bedroom now two years down the track we still refer to as ‘Jordans Room’. Where is that book? Oh its in Jordans Room. Then Kevin the crazy hippy surfy French guy who kept us with a constant supply of crepes in the cupboard. Of course there was also Tom the strange swiss guy who learnt English in Indonesia and kept us interested with tales of accidently blowing up cows with artillery tanks. And then Dominik, the slowest german in the world who started so innocently in Australia and ended up one of the biggest vagabond hippies ever on his exit two years later. We had crazy camping adventures, nights out in the city, raves on the beach, snake catching expeditions.

I can’t write all the families because there has been so many. I remember one particular day on the balcony in 2011 with A couple from USA Kat & Jeff, Ben from Couchsurfing (and also Scotland), Claire from the UK, Tal & Eran from Israel & Philipp my favourite crazy German statistic and Kat said to me “Its incredible how you can have all these different unique people in one place and it just works so well” Its effortless the combination of personalities.

Many hosts talk about that empty feeling when you say goodbye to somebody you make a connection with. Because hosting is temporary eventually one day they will all leave. And that empty feeling affects me considerably. But each time I think I will never have that connection again a new surfer walks through my door and a new surfer family is created. I never forget my past families and I hold a spot for each of them in my heart. I know I will see many of them again.

Its comforting in a way to know that all around the world I have family and that I will never be alone when I travel.

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family

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