For two years I’ve been a member of HouseCarers, a service that unites people who need housesitters with those who want to be the warm body in the house while its owners travel. I’ve never done a housesit, even though I know I need a good reputation on that site to get the best gigs. But this summer, I have hosted couchsurfers, and it’s been fun.

I was a little nervous about it at first. Our first couchsurfer was a photographer who shows his work in Taos but otherwise travels around the country in his van, taking pictures and camping and hiking. He’s done that for about 12 years. The Friday we spent in the same house, he was so quiet I got the urge to check on him. When I did, I found him charging batteries and such. We gave him a key one night when we were going to be out having dinner. Saturday he left to pick up his friend at the airport and take him to camping, as he put it.

Todd hosted a couchsurfer who sent out an emergency message looking for a place to stay on short notice.

And then last weekend both of us hosted 4 friends from California. They have been taking vacations together for a year or two, and at least one of them is trying to get to all 50 states.

Their schedule was intense. They planned to fly in Friday, drive across Colorado Saturday to raft the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, drive back and see roller derby with us Saturday night, leave toward the end of the game and begin their drive to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, come back Sunday night, go tubing on Boulder Creek Monday morning, and then fly back to California.

It’s definitely not my style of travel, but I think they did a good job of seeing Colorado in a short time. They visited the Front Range, including Rocky Mountain National Park; drove through the mountains and back again; and saw the northern plains (though mostly in the dark). Mount Rushmore was included because they didn’t know when they would get this close to it again.

They were a lot of fun and very inclusive. They invited us to breakfast and other Monday morning adventures, so we got to hear stories from their other trips. And they were generous: when they found out my birthday was Tuesday, they bought me a cake and some gift cards. The cake was yummy. I had 3 pieces on Tuesday.

It reminded me that couchsurfers are a new breed of traveler, interested above all in making connections.

Leave A Comment

  1. Mrs Random August 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    You’re right, my seven year old would LOVE the moving dinosaurs in Hays. I actually found that museum and the pictures you took of it on your blog, thanks! (I am, by the way, totally planning on mining your blog for information on the Denver area as well. But I’ll totally link back to your blog for credit to any interesting info.)

    Since I feel like I’m in your debt (cause I am), I thought I’d pass on a tidbit of information about a relatively new restaurant that I *think* is in the Denver area. A friend who lives in Denver facebooked me the link to the restaurants Facebook page. It looks like they have belly dancers and/or live musicians frequently in what looks like a very interesting environment. Of course, I can’t personally recommend it, never having been farther west than Kansas City, but it looks really cool 😉 Anyway, I thought you might be interested, and forgive me if I’m telling you something you already know!

    Here’s the restaurant’s website:

  2. Beth Partin August 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Actually, I’ve been to that restaurant! The one I visited was north of Denver, in Lafayette. Yes, you can belly dance there with the hired dancers, but I was too chicken. Maybe next time.

    Just let me know if you are interested in using my photographs. I’m thinking of setting up a business selling photographs, and the more places my photos appear on the Internet, the harder it is to sell them for money.

  3. saint_facetious September 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Couchsurfing is hugely popular in Europe and the Middle East, and I host myself at times. They’re an interesting lot, and it’s an interesting way to travel. And they kind of follow a code of mutual trust, that is, you must be trustworthy yourself so you get good ratings on the site and more people are willing to host you. Also, lots of stories to hear!

  4. Beth Partin September 5, 2010 at 9:32 am - Reply

    You know, Saint, I think people get tired of seeing the same white hotel room (no matter what the name on the door). And those of us who can’t afford boutique hotels can meet new people through couchsurfing, even if they don’t turn into long-term friends.