The Couchsurfers of August

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.