Couchsurfing is a slang term for staying in the houses of friends or relatives for free, a practice that has been going on since before recorded history or settlements, but whereas in the past a weary journeyman may need to pray to the gods for a warm bed and a glass of ale to soothe the aches of the road, now we have internet sites and networks to help us find a bed for the night in strange cities when no hotel is available.
To start Couchsurfing is now a matter of signing up and registering, although obviously some fairly in-depth checks are needed to make sure that the couch or spare room you are offering is safe and habitable, and that your guests will likewise be nice and decent people.
Obviously the system does rely a great deal on people’s honesty and having a sense of give and take. Despite what many said upon it’s invention, it is well vetted and much less dangerous than it could be, in the wrong hands.
Beginning in North America Couchsurfing has been quick to catch on around Europe, South America and Australia. Website owners are very careful to avoid not only unsuitable hosts and guests, but also commercial organizations looking to profit from it. Websites keep their integrity using a detailed and intuitive feedback system to exclude the bad and allow in the good like a filter.
From small acorns mighty oaks will grow, and here the same applies, from what began as a small project, the website now covers a great deal of the globe and has created stories which will inspire and melt even the iciest of cold hearts.
Like Harry Potter or computer imagery in films, it is hard for many to imagine the world before Couchsurfing was in it, even for those of us who spent most of our lives in those relatively dark periods.