Have you ever decided to wake up one day and take a vacation? You don’t really know where you are going, who you are going to meet, what you are going to do or where you will be when you get there but you are excited that you have the ability to jump on a plane and go somewhere whenever you want to go wherever you want .
I did just that two weeks ago.
I woke up on Monday thinking, “It’s time for some adventure. Where should I book my plane ticket?”
To create an experience, I decided to visit couchsurfing.org, an organization that allows you to connect with other travel enthusiasts and crash their couch for free. Don’t do this before some initial fear. But I think fear prevents all of us from harnessing our potential.
I texted Nelson in Orlando, Florida and said “Hey Nelson ৷ I’m thinking of booking a spontaneous trip to Orlando if you allow me to ruin your couch.” Nelson immediately replied “Of course. Come down.” That’s when I found myself booking a flight ticket from Iowa to Orlando at 1:30 on Monday. I was in the air at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was in Orlando at 8:30 pm.
I can afford to stay in a luxury hotel and often do but this trip is not like that. It was about going somewhere I had never been and doing something I had never done before. That’s exactly what happened during the five days I was there. I met a filmmaker from LA, a marathon runner from Peru with whom I also shared a couch, an engineer from Thailand, a psychology student and many more. Think of getting in a car with complete strangers, all from different backgrounds, from different countries, and from different lifestyles who share a common purpose, travel and their love for people. We are all 20 people who did not let fear stand in the way of meeting new people and doing new things as a way to connect us using technology.
Couchsurfing. There are lots of questions around it, including what is safe? What do you do How are the hosts? Etc … I have only had one experience and I can tell you that the experience has changed my outlook and my life. I was able to meet amazing people, do incredible things and go to places I couldn’t go on my own. We went to NASA together, did air boating through Everglade together, and went to party together. We even played cards, listened to music, and enjoyed each other’s stories and company in different restaurants.
Do I have to do it again? Yes!
Until I go on a business trip where a hotel is needed I want to continue creating these experiences because there is a famous saying that says “in 5 years you will be the same person and the people you meet except the books you read. ” And while hotels are great and much more comfortable than a couch, the experience of being around yourself and enjoying the company of strangers is absolutely priceless.
I encourage you to do couchsurfing at least once in your life. Please read the host’s referrals before you do and make sure you are careful to stay safe. The host I was with had 49 positive recommendations and I read them all. He was down to earth, kind, compassionate, and an amazing man around but it goes without saying that every experience would be like this.
What I want to get out of reading this is that technology can practically unite us; Accepting and building relationships offline is an unforgettable and invaluable experience that will give you an opportunity offline.
And, if you’re ready for an experience, I’d like to see you at my next event in Houston with Les Brown on April 3rd. Details here: www.boldbooktour.com