By Dani Jauregui (Granada, Spain)
My Exceptionally Good Luck
Now, I want to make it clear that my experiences are not exactly typical and you shouldn’t go into Couchsurfing hoping to come away with these results. I have had many more ‘typical’ beautiful Couchsurfing moments like getting invited to the dinner of friends-of-the-hosts who happened to be Italian Erasmus students who made gnocchi and a variety of sauces from scratch...that we ate at midnight. Or sipping late night tea on the rooftops of London. However, these two serendipitous encounters are definitely what I think of when I describe the magic of Couchsurfing.
First, I found my second family:
Back in 2014 when I decided to move to Costa Rica (without a job, apartment, or anything lined up) I turned to Couchsurfing. I had had some great experiences in Europe while studying and living abroad in Spain, but I had always traveled with a friend who did all of the arranging for me. This time, I needed to go through the whole process myself, and prepare to use it as a solo-traveler for the first time.
Thankfully, I found someone who seemed perfect—a girl about my age who lived in the suburbs of San José with her family (which included two dogs and a cat!). As if that weren’t enough, she was also studying Sociology (as I had) and was into a number of the same hobbies as I was. She eagerly accepted my invitation to the great relief of my parents, who felt slightly better about the nice family I had waiting to receive me.
Once I arrived in Costa Rica, I was graciously welcomed into the family (by the human and furry family members alike)! I had originally asked to stay with them while I was in the process of house-hunting (what I imagined might take about a week) but as the days passed I felt more and more at home. Fast-forward nearly three months and I was STILL living with them!
Again, please note this is not normal, but the family had had a number of exchange students stay with them before and seemed to more or less expect me to stay long-term as well. Over my three months in Costa Rica I built a special relationship with each member of the family and still stay in touch with them until this day, not hesitating to call them my “Costa Rican mom, dad, brother, and sister” anytime someone asks.
Then I found my future husband:
It was the summer of 2016 when I decided that I definitely needed a weekend at the beach, even if I had to go alone! A very welcoming group I knew in Malaga was also hosting a cool dance event that weekend and so I was determined to do a little solo-trip. Only problem was, all of the hostels were booked up or 5 times the cost they normally were...it seemed like the perfect opportunity to turn to Couchsurfing.
However, I was only looking into arrangements about a week in advance and none of the female hosts were responding to me. I had some reservations about reaching out to a male host while traveling alone but I did not want to pass up a much needed beach getaway and so I finally worked up the nerve to send a request to the top-listed host who sounded awesome, even though he clearly said he preferred people to book with 1-2 weeks’ notice and I was writing only two days in advance. To my surprise, I got a quick response and he said yes, just barely making it onto his flight home as he had opened my request at the airport.
That weekend we had a great time discovering lesser-known sides of Malaga (for me) as I had already been to the city twice and didn't need the typical tour. The last night we enjoyed a home-cooked meal on his balcony followed by a movie on the beach and I was definitely getting butterflies. Thankfully, the feeling was mutual and he asked if he could come up to my city the next week to take me out for dinner.
Within a few short weeks we were dating and have been ever since! A lot has changed since then—we did the long-distance thing for almost two years but he then decided to move to Granada where we now live together and last month after I picked him up at the airport in Malaga he asked me to marry him! I truly can’t believe my good fortune in getting to spend the rest of my life with this man
...and it’s all thanks to a little thing called Couchsurfing!
The blog posts featured in this section are written by friends we've made around the globe that want to share their experiences, lessons they've learned, and tips and tricks.