Friday, September 10, 2010

CouchSurfing.Org

The Nebraska Outback household has been a registered Couch Surfing host for two days over one month, and we will have hosted our fourth couch surfer.

We are living proof that one day those looks of incredulity with which parents greet our offsprings' sometimes hair-brained ideas will be turned back upon us. Such was the case when we told our children of our couch surfing adventures.

So just what is couch surfing you may be asking yourselves at this point? The organization explains it best on their website:


Vision
We envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places we encounter. Building meaningful connections across cultures enables us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect. The appreciation of diversity spreads tolerance and creates a global community.

Mission
Our mission is to create Inspiring Experiences.

"Inspiring Experiences" are fun, exciting and accessible experiences that stimulate people to learn and grow. Experiences of this nature encourage people to explore and connect with people and places that are different than what we're accustomed to.

If enough of us have these kinds of experiences, we may begin to see a world where people feel a greater sense of connection with each other, in spite of differences. These connections help us appreciate diversity and build a global community that is inspired to seek harmony when conflicts inevitably arise.

Knowledge Through Experiences
When it comes to personal development, we believe the best way to gain and retain knowledge is through first-hand experience. Our experiences shape how we understand the world, and provide us with opportunities to learn and evolve.

"Creating Inspiring Experiences" means we strive to facilitate diverse, 'real life' experiences for our members that are both fun and inspire growth.

They say much more than this, and I encourage you to visit their website and find out for yourself just what amazing adventures may await you in the Couch Surfing movement.

The basic premise is this - weary travelers seeking an affordable nights stay hook up with hosts to sleep on whatever sleeping surface the host may have available. If they can mutually agree on all the arrangements, a hosting situation is created.

Now before my tourism bosses or hotelier friends get their knickers in a twist about us taking money out of the pockets of the tourism industry, please know that this demographic is often starving college students on their way home for a visit or recent graduates on their way to their first job. One day they will be valued members of the tourist hordes, but right now they would be more likely to sleep in their cars in the rest areas or the Wal-Mart parking lot.

We have had wonderful experiences so far, getting to know people we otherwise would never have had the opportunity to come into contact with, and getting to share our corner of Nebraska with those who would never have had the opportunity to get off the I-80 corridor to see what beauty awaits them just off the beaten track.

We have yet to surf anyone's couches ourselves, but plan to in the future. For now, we will just be content to open our home to the new friends that come our way.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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