At the moment I’m sitting in the library in Hokitika and trying to capture some of the beautiful moments of our last couchsurfing experience. For those who are not familiar with the concept of couchsurfing: It is basically an online platform where people have profiles (a little bit like facebook). But then the purpose is different from facebook: Mainly with couchsurfing people are open to meet others – that might include having a coffee together or going out for drinks or when you travel to a place you might write a request to someone to stay with them. That someone may answer yes to your request and then subsequently host you for a couple of days. What your stay looks like is entirely up to both the host and the guest. You could go out hiking together or knit sweaters or just relax in front of the TV. Or you could each do your own thing and just meet up during the evening. Or whatever else works for you. But the important thing is that couchsurfing is not just staying for free at someone’s place but it’s about getting to know one another. And giving something back to the host.
Couchsurfing with Brett and Janice
After having some rainy days out T and I both felt the need to be inside for a bit and spend some time with nice people. So I sent out a request to Brett and Janice to which they responded quickly that we were welcome to their house. A few days later we arrived at their home which is surrounded by peaceful nature and a big dairy farm. So we sat together, had a few drinks and got to know each other. Over the next few days this conversation would continue, sometimes during the day when Brett took a break from carving greenstone or when Janice finished her first shift of milking cows for the day. We usually went to the library at some point during the day to work a little and then came back in the evening.
One of the fascinating things with couchsurfing is to me that you often get to spend time with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet – at least not for that long. Brett and Janice are not – at the moment – travelling or staying at campsites or using internet cafes. But we still got to met them and be part of their lives for a few days. Janice is by the way one of the few women in New Zealand that run a huge dairy farm – because otherwise that is still mainly a male domain. And Brett carves beautiful greenstone jewellery – a business which developed out of a hobby. And the both of them didn’t always do what they do now, quite some time ago they travelled all over New Zealand for several years and had all kinds of jobs. This is a concept which really speaks to me: Why have one job and continue doing that for the rest of your life? Why not try out different things and different concepts of living, different lifestyles to see if they fit you?