I remember the first time I had couchsurfed. It was in Kuala Lumpur. I stayed with a very friendly young man who was extremely hospitable. Two days earlier, I stayed in a 5 star hotel, courtesy of a large corporate who had invited me to speak at their conference. The stay at the 5 star hotel was luxurious but I enjoyed the couchsurfing experience more. I realized that it was the genuine hospitality, the kindness of the human heart and the opportunity to experience the local life is what couchsurfing so much more endearing. After my first experience, I was hooked. I knew this was my calling.
Since then, I have travelled to many countries which included USA, UK, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Croatia and South Africa. In each of these countries, I had a wonderful experience staying with the locals. Each of the experience has been memorable.
Being a guest can only be surpassed with the joy of playing host. Me and my family have had the privilege of hosting travellers from France, Belgium. Japan. Australia, Malaysia and other countries.
I have since been a big evangelist to the concept of couchsurfing. I have been encouraging my friends to open their doors open to strangers and to experience the joy that I have felt. This book is an extention of that.
I genuinely felt happy with the book project, the sort of exuberance that a kid has while waiting to watch a KungFuPanda movie. I actually woke up at 3:50am in the morning when subconciously the idea of the title came up. I fell in love with it and immediately started to work on the outline of the book.
To me, this book is an escapism. Just like how people take a coffee break or smoke break to break the monotony, I take out time to write this book.
This book has practical advice from my own experience and from experienced couchsurfers around the world.
I have always enjoyed doing collaborative projects and in the same spirit, this book is being authored in an open, transparent manner. As an when the chapters are finished, they are uploaded online here, You are free to chip in and edit the book as you feel is right.
Couchsurfing reaffirms my faith that people are good hearted. couchsurfing has taught me many life lessons and this book is my way of saying ‘Thank you’!
– Kiruba Shankar