I’ve started hosting couchsurfers again. If you’re not familiar with the concept, basically people travelling who need a place to stay can come and sleep on your sofa, your floor, or – if you have one – your spare bed.
They get to stay for free, and you get to share their stories, hear about their travels, share a meal and maybe make new friends. And, the deal is, you get to go and sleep on other people’s couches when you go and travel too.
Generally speaking, it’s a bunch of really interesting (predominantly young) people who are curious and want to explore the world, but don’t have a massive budget to do so – and aren’t letting that stop them.
In the case of Latvian couchsurfers Liga and Liva (pictured above), that was pretty much the case. Liva has been living in the UK for a little while and her friend Liga is working in Slovenia. They haven’t seen each other for ages, and so they decided to do a bit of travel together. Couchsurfing was how they could make that happen.
And it was an absolute delight to host them. I learned about the 4-yearly Latvian folk festival, which is a massive deal, heard some Latvian popular music, talked about food and culture and had dinner with them in my living room.
I left them to it after a while so they could hang out, catch up and not have to speak English all the time – and this morning after breakfast, we all went to the Kings Heath Farmers Market together before they set off into town to do some more exploring.
Next week, I’m hosting a young Norwegian guy who is hitch-hiking around Europe. We’ll see if he manages to get here on the agreed dates.
Don’t know if I’ll make it a regular thing, because as enjoyable as it is, it does knock you out of the routine a fair bit, and you need to have not much else going on in order to make the most of it. But from time to time, it’s a real treat to have new people around.
If you’re interested, check the website.