France was a last minute add-on to my trip so as you can imagine, by the time I got here my funds were running low. I had heard about a website called “couch-surfing” in the past and decided to check it out. Couch-surfing is a site where people open their houses up to strangers and one can stay there for free. It’s a way to meet locals! I was hesitant at first but I honestly couldn’t afford accomodations for 2 weeks when rooms in dingy hotels cost a minimum of $80 bucks a night.
I first began reaching out to people in Paris. I was strategic in my search and was only comfortable in staying with girls or couples. I messaged a few people but I didn’t get any responses and had started to look into paid accommodations with Airbnb.
After I few days, I finally got a response….YES!! It was from a girl who looked really nice and sweet in her picture. So it turns out she lived with her boyfriend but that was not a problem for me. She started off by saying, we are free to host you. Awesome!! She then went on to say that both her and her boyfriend thought that I was pretty. “Ok….that’s odd”, I thought. She then continued by saying, “we want you to know that we are an “open” couple and if you stay we may ask you to join us in the bedroom and we wanted you to know in advance so you weren’t surprised”. OK….WHAT THE HECK!!! This is not the response I was expecting. I wrote back a few days later and thanked them for the offer but that I had already found a place to stay. In fact I had, I ended up using “airbnb”, I had to pay but considering my options I was ok with that. Only me!
Fortunately I had better luck in Besancon. Besancon is the first city I ever lived in in France in 2001. I got a response right a way from a girl named Anaiick and it turns out that she is a french girl that is completely inlove with America. This was a first! Very rarely have I ever met a French person who adored my country. Annaiick picked me up at the train station with my big old back-pack and I stayed at her apartment for 4 days. She cooked me french food, we went out, I met her friends and had the best time with her! I was majorly down in the dumps when I met her for a variety of things, one of them being that it was the end of my trip and it was a blessing in disguise that I was staying with someone to talk to instead of in a hotel room alone. It turns out that she is the same age as me and we had so much in common. Some things were so similiar it’s like we were living parallel lives just in seperate countries. She is a new friend and I will be returning the favor to her when she comes to America next summer! We’ve already planned a few things we are going to do “ensemble”!
Although it started off as a strange experience, I would recommend “couchsurfing” to those that are interested in meeting new people and having a true local experience. Just be sure in advance that the people you are staying with aren’t “swingers”!