Of all the things I might have expected from my first non-hosting Couchsurfing experience, this wasn’t it.
Out of the blue, I received a message from a young woman called Tam in Ho Chi Minh. She introduced herself as a couchsurfer eager to practise her English, and offered herself up as a free tour guide. Who was I to look a gift horse in the mouth, particularly since we seemed to have trouble ‘clicking’ with the city and could do with some insider tips? It didn’t really help that I’d gotten sick the very first night and consequently spent two days more or less locked up in our room.
We met outside Notre Dame cathedral, trotted over to a nearby park, and parked our butts down on the paved paths to get acquainted. (One mystery solved: she informed us that you need permits to sit on the grass, apparently.) Over the next couple of hours, we did the rounds of a local student market and visited Turtle Lake, where we caught the tail end of a flashmob for International Children’s Day. To round it all off, she emailed through a list of recommendations of things to see, eat, and do later that night.
I think it’s super neat that there are couchsurfers like Tam around, willing to put themselves out there, make new connections, and further themselves. (Personally, I’m a horrendously lazy member. I’m more than happy to host when I can, and we did so many times over the summer, but go out of my way and trek into town just to meet up for a drink? TOO MUCH WORK, DUDE. Come to us!)
With that meetup behind us, we’re keen to try surfing for the time. If any Londoners have spare space between June 20-24, we can offer good cooking and conversation – my profile is here