I Let A Stranger Stay In My Home

I Let A Stranger Stay In My Home

A stranger stayed in my home and it was an awesome experience.
137
views

Couchsurfing is definitely not a thing you hear of every day.

To couchsurf is "to stay overnight in someone else's home while traveling."

Now, a lot of people aren't privy to the idea of opening your door to a total stranger for a multitude of reasons, the top ones being along the lines of a serial killer or sociopath. And, while these are great points to be concerned about, luckily you get to pick who you want staying with you or if you're doing the surfing, who you want to stay with. It has to be a mutual agreement. You don't need a spare room or an empty apartment for them, all you need is a couch or cot for them to sleep on.

This is a website, https://www.couchsurfing.com/ that many backpackers find themselves on while traveling for the simple reason that it saves them money on accommodation as well as, you get a cultural experience out of it if you're living with the people from the country that you're visiting. It's pretty rewarding on both ends as you get to meet people from around the world in your own home.

It could be scary to think about, letting a stranger into your own home but I did it and it was one of the best experiences for me personally. At first, I was worried about my safety even though the girl who stayed with me seemed totally normal and interesting, but, obviously, in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think what if it goes wrong.

Luckily for me, she was exceptional and gave me a really good vibe about couchsurfing because it really isn't all that frightening. You have more in common with the world than you think. Connection is all over the place. As Americans, we seem to have a skewed view compared to many other countries about traveling (maybe that's why just 30 percent of Americans even have a passport and only nine percent study abroad).

I've heard of many different forms of travel, but this one is definitely worth looking into. Obviously, common sense has to play a role here as you can't just let anybody in. But the world isn't as big and bad as the media portrays it. I've heard of a couple situations where the host was weird or gave off creepy vibes, but just like with anything, you need to be smart about it. I talked to the person I was hosting a couple of months before and up until she arrived; she even brought me a little gift from Australia, which was very cute and sweet. My friends and family met her and we even spent Easter together. She even stayed a few days longer than expected as well because we were having a good time.

I would recommend couchsurfing as long as you're smart and safe about it because there's nothing like meeting new people and welcoming them into your home. I may sound crazy, but saying that you let a complete stranger into your home and shared meals with them, laughs and, by the end of the week, sharing a bed because of how comfortable we became was incredible.

I thought of her as my little sister; this friendship was nothing like I ever made before. And now, I have a place to stay in Australia.

Bottom line: the world isn't as bad and scary as you think it is. There are many, many more good people in this world than there are bad.

Cover Image Credit: Hanny Naibaho

Popular Right Now

9 Reasons Why Topsail Island is the Best Beach in NC

North Topsail, Surf City, South Topsail, it’s all part of the best beach in North Carolina.
8395
views

1. The sunsets.

Topsail has the best sunsets out of any beach in North Carolina. Hands down.

2. The shark’s teeth and seashells.

You can always find a large amount of cool shells and shark’s teeth every beach trip. I have found that it is not like this at every beach, only at Topsail. Shell hunting tip: check out the point on the south end of the island every morning for the best shell selection. You might even come across a hidden mailbox with notes in it while shell hunting down there.

3. The food.

From Max’s pizza with the pepperoni under the cheese to the seafood at Breezeway and even having the experience of eating outside at Sears Landing, Topsail has some of the greatest restaurants any beach in NC has to offer. The best part about the food in Topsail is that the restaurants are all local. Also, there is a brand new doughnut shop in the Surf City part of the island...what could be better than doughnuts and the beach?

4. The Fourth of July.

Every year Topsail and neighboring town, Holly Ridge, rotate between who does fireworks on the fourth and who gets to do them on the fifth. Basically this means two whole days of celebrating our great nation at the beach. The Fourth is also fun in Topsail because the beach is full of people decked out in red, white, and blue, blaring country music, and playing cornhole and swimming all day. Some parts of the town even have mini Fourth of July block parties (okay maybe that's just my family and our neighbors but it’s still pretty fun).

5. The small town atmosphere.

Topsail is a small island which gives it a small town, everybody knows everybody kind of feel. It’s really easy to make life long beach friends here because you have the opportunity to see the same people out on the beach every summer.

6. The ice cream.

Growing up, we went out to get ice cream EVERY single night and admittedly we still do. It often feels like the whole island has the same idea because the lines are always out the door at every ice cream place on the island. Don’t let this discourage you though. It’s an unspoken rule to wait in the line no matter how long it may be because ice cream always tastes better at Topsail.

7. The best of both worlds.

Because Topsail is an island, in most cases you can see both the ocean and the sound from wherever you are staying. This is pretty awesome because you can watch the sunrise over the beach and the sunset over the sound without having to go too far. You also can go from playing cornhole on the beach to jet skiing in the sound without having to walk too far so you really do get the experience the best of both worlds.

8. Outdoor movies.

On certain nights of the week Topsail this has cool thing called “Summer Movies in the Park” where they play movies on a big blow up screen at a park that sits on the sound. The best part about this is that the movies are FREE. Tip: if you are vacationing at Topsail with bae, I highly suggest going to an outdoor movie together, even if it is Cinderella and even if you have seen it 100 times already you should still go. But, if outdoor movies aren’t your thing then I suggest going roller skating or playing a game of putt-putt.

9. The memories.

Whether you go for a week or a weekend, I promise that you will make some great memories with the people you love at Topsail Island. After spending 19 summers on the island, I know I sure have. From Fourth of July block parties, running into friends from all over NC, adventuring with cousins and swimming during hurricanes, I can honestly say that spending my summers at Topsail Island has been one of the best things ever.



North Topsail, Surf City, South Topsail, it’s all part of the best beach in NC and I highly recommend planning your next beach vacation to Topsail Island.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.topsailnewsonline.com/?p=9478

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Solo Travel As An Extrovert Is Not Easy

Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

790
views

Life has a funny way of revealing itself and after my mom ditched me on our mother-daughter trip to Taiwan, I found myself on a plane headed to a country I had never visited where I didn't know a soul. (Disclaimer: I have relatives in Taiwan but had never met them prior to the trip.) I was excited for the adventure that awaited, fear not setting in of how difficult it would be not to just travel in a foreign country where I didn't speak or read any Mandarin beyond the very, very basics (Literally my vocabulary consisted of 10 simple words/phrases, one of which was the word for "apple" which isn't that helpful for getting around. I have since picked up a few more phrases.), but also be alone with just myself for company.

So much of who we are is influenced by the people around us. A large part of our identity comes the communities we choose to be part of and how we interact with others. But who are we when no one's looking? Who am I without the pressure of other people around me?

I am an extrovert. I get my energy from being around other people. It's not that I can't spend time by myself; I just prefer to be in the company of others even if we aren't always interacting the entire time. My best friend and I will even do independent activities together. (Once when we were hanging out, she was knitting and I was doing a puzzle. I swear we don't act like grandmas all the time.)

Although an extrovert, I'm still a pretty independent person who doesn't like to rely on others for help. But traveling alone in Taiwan, I don't have much of a choice. I'm forced to learn to navigate public transport myself and somehow survive with the basic English that Taiwanese locals know.

Learning to travel alone has been an emotional and difficult journey as this is the first time I've been on my own for this long. Although lonely at times, I've realized that loneliness is a mental state of mind. There is the Sanskrit saying, "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha moksayoh" which translates to "As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." My mind determines my emotional state of being and perspective! Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

Through solo travel, I am slowly learning to be comfortable with my own company which has been the biggest challenge. I was never an only child, I've always had a roommate in college, and even when I study, I go to public spaces like coffee shops so I can be surrounded by people. I don't know what to do when it's just me and my thoughts all the time. (Especially during meals. Should I appear busy on my phone like all the other single people around me?)


Because when you're traveling alone, you're in charge. You have control. You can change the itinerary from moment to moment without anyone's approval. No one's holding you accountable. Spontaneity? Let's go. You can build barriers but you can also tear them down. It's fun, it's exhilarating. But it's also scary. And unpredictable.


Would I go on another solo expedition in the future? Preferably not as traveling is way more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experience with. It's the people, not the place who make all the difference on a vacation. Yet I do believe solo travel is an experience that everyone should embark on at some point in their life (to grow and learn more about yourself).


This trip has taught me to find spontaneity in the fear and excitement and I've learned to embrace discomfort and unpredictability. To travel with not just my mind and logic but my heart. There are so many unique experiences, if you overthink too much, you'll lose your chance.

I've found that when I am alone, I become more vulnerable and open to meeting new people and having more offbeat experiences. I say yes with zero hesitation. Certainly, there are friends I made, hikes I climbed, streets I meandered, and epiphanies I had that wouldn't have transpired had I been with my mom or a group of people.


Traveling alone, I am now more confident in myself and am ready for the next wave that life throws me. Because I've learned that once you overcome the fear of being by yourself, getting lost (which you will), or accidentally eating meat as a vegan because you didn't understand the signage (I'm sorry!), the world in all its vast infinity can be pretty great. And there are some things that you can only learn on solo travel.

Related Content

Facebook Comments