Have you ever woke up one day and decided to take a vacation? You don’t really know where you’re going, who you’re going to meet, what you’re going to do or where you’re going to stay when you get there but you’re excited that you have the ability to jump on a plane to somewhere whenever you want headed to where ever you desire at that moment.
Two weeks ago I did just that.
I woke up on a Monday thinking “It’s time for some adventure.Where should I book my plane ticket to?”
Wanting to create an experience I decided to go to couchsurfing.org an organization that allows you to connect with other travel enthusiasts and crash on their couch for free. Never having done this before there was some initial fear. But I think fear is what keeps all of us from tapping into our full potential.
I message Nelson in Orlando, Florida and say “Hey Nelson. I’m thinking about booking a spontaneous trip to Orlando would love to crash on your couch if you’d allow me.” Nelson responded promptly with “Sure. Come on down.” That’s when I found myself booking a plane ticket from Iowa to Orlando at 1:30 pm on a Monday. 4:30 pm I was in the air. 8:30 pm I was in Orlando.
I can afford to stay in luxury hotels and often do but that’s not what this trip was about. This was about going somewhere I’ve never gone and doing something I’ve never done. That’s exactly what happened during the five days I was there. I met a film maker from LA, a marathon runner from Peru who I even shared a couch with, an engineer from Thailand, a psychology student and so many others. Imagine for a second getting in a car with complete strangers, all from different backgrounds, different countries, and different lifestyles who share a common purpose, their love for travel and people. All of us were 20 something’s who didn’t let fear stand in the way of meeting new people and doing new things using technology as a way to connect us.
Couchsurfing. There are lots of questions around it including is it safe? What do you do? How are the hosts? Etc… I’ve only had one experience and I can tell you that experience changed my perspective and my life. I was able to meet amazing people, do incredible things, and go to places that I wouldn’t have gone myself. We went to NASA together, air boated through the everglades together, and went partying together. We even played cards, listened to music and enjoyed the stories and company of one another at several different restaurants.
Would I do it again? YES!
Unless I’m going on a business trip where a hotel is required I want to continue creating these experiences because there’s a famous quote that goes something like “you’ll be the same person you are today in 5 years except for the books you read and the people you meet.” And while hotels are great and so much more comfortable than a couch the experience of surrounding yourself and enjoying the company of strangers is absolutely priceless.
I would encourage you to go couchsurfing at least once in your life. Before you do please read the hosts referrals and make sure that you take precautions to stay safe. The host I stayed with had 49 positive recommendations and I read all of them. He was down to earth, kind, compassionate, and an all-around amazing guy but that’s not to say every experience will be like this.
What I want get from reading this is that while technology can bring us together virtually; taking and building relationships offline is an unforgettable and priceless experience that will give you endless opportunities.
And, hey if you’re up for an experience I’d love to see you at my next event April 3 in Houston with Les Brown. Details at: www.boldbooktour.com