Living on couches

Couch surfing is as simple as it is genius. You spend the night on someone's couch. The fun part is: you usually find yourself in a stranger's home, in a place you've never been before. Magic happens when you enter someone's home. You enter their lives and as you change into your PJ's you realize you are home. For one night you're living in someone else's house, being a part of a stranger's private life. Just like that.

When people open up their doors, they open their hearts. It's incredible how generous and kind people are. You'll see when you try couch surfing yourself. I travelled around the world sleeping on stranger's sofas, floors, spare beds and I loved it. The night filled with stories, feeling the smooth transition of strangers turning into friends. Waking up and being confused for the first three seconds: where am I? Oh that's right, I'm in Simone's loft in Vienna. Or at Sue's farm in Tasmania. And you know you're in for an adventure.

Seeing the world through others' eyes is a very special thing. To be able to do this, you have to go deep. Superficial weather talk at the supermarket is not going to cut it. It won't open your eyes, stir up your brain, shake your soul. I want to be moved by stories. So I surf couches. I'm not in it for the free accommodation. I'm here to listen and learn. There is something vulnerable and loving about people opening their homes to strangers. It makes them share precious things. Like a home cooked meal, life stories and most important: time. Couch surfing forces you to connect. To spend time together, away from the digital world, living totally and completely in the now.

I missed it. Couch surfing has been a part of my travelling life for a long time, and after months of having a key to my own home, my feet started getting itchy. Not for faraway travels this time. For connection. For meeting people and sharing moments of truth. Get past the lines I throw at customer's faces: hi darling, how are you going? As a server, I hope you just say you're fine and order a burrito. As a human, I want to hear it all. The whole story. I want to sit down with you on your couch and listen and not once will we talk about the weather.

So after three months of serving the community of Cumberland margaritas and beers, talking mostly about margaritas and beers, it is time to cut the crap and get to know each other. Hi, I'm Joke, I talk to strangers and collect stories. I traded my bed for couches, sleeping in a different home every night. Feeling like a traveller while working seven days a week at the same places. Getting out of the routine, into people's lives, one couch at a time.

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