My dad got home from a fishing trip today and saw that there was a random car with an out of state license plate in the driveway. After putting his gear down and giving me a hug he says, “Are those couch surfers or do you know those people?” I love that this is my dad’s response, and he couldn’t have said it any more nonchalantly, like it didn’t matter that there could be two strangers sleeping in the extra bedroom in his house.
I introduced my dad to Couch Surfing after living a very active CS life in San Diego. My apartment was always filled with strangers from other parts of the world. These strangers, or instant friends, became more than just weekend guests. They became a part of my world, some staying for extra days, weeks, months, and it was beautiful. I made some very good friends at the time, by hosting and meeting other local hosts, friends that I still talk to and friends that I will stay connected with for the rest of my life.
This is the part of Couch Surfing that I wanted my dad to see. I wanted him to see that CS is not a community full of freeloaders and people that want to steal your precious stuff. It’s about being comfortable with yourself, your surroundings, and letting other people into your life. It’s about opening yourself up to others which is something all of us should practice.
So, after hosting a frisbee world champion, a couple of dudes passing through trying to avoid the busy city, a couple of girls that just wanted to go on a bike ride in the forest, and many friends of friends of friends my dad has become part of the Couch Surfing community without even realizing it. He is now used to and comfortable with meeting new people, and his generous hospitality has extended beyond the realm of family members. He has grown to trust his daughter and her judgements (I hope!). Above all, he has learned the importance of hydration and making new friends. Much of my happiness and knowledge of the world comes from meeting new people, sharing lives, and sharing homes.
That is the type of thing a person carries with them forever, whether they are on the Couch Surfing website or not. We learn to share from the moment we come into contact with other human beings. Remember what they taught us in school, “sharing is caring”. Thank you dad for being so open, accepting, caring, and way hip.