Archive | March, 2011

How to Travel the World, One Couch at a Time

28 Mar

Couchsurfing. Yeah, you’ve heard me slip it into conversation like a roofie. One moment we’re talking about capers and olive oil, then BAM – did you know I went couchsurfing in Colombia? That’s one way to make a stale conversation interesting. Anyway, I BELIEVE IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SLEEPING ON STRANGERS’ COUCHES.

Why Couchsurfing?

  • Meet awesome, worldly and OPEN-minded individuals that will probably tickle your cultural brain cells beyond your wildest dreams
  • is totally FREE for anyone to use
  • All that money you’re NOT spending on hotels/guided tours can be used towards airplane tickets to more countries! WOW!
  • You will find couchsurfers in almost every part of the world – even ANTARCTICA
  • Get off the beaten path – staying with a native or a local couchsurfer from that country will most definitely grant you the insider’s scoop on wondrous, underground things to do – stuff you will NOT find in tour guidebooks (lonelyplanet = barf)
  • Delicious food – a common activity couchsurfers indulge themselves on is cooking FOOD together! Exchange ninja cooking skills and recipes! Food is one of the most common areas in which people can connect on, no matter where you go in the world. Resist the golden arches, resist!
  • Learn awesome, sexy, foreign phrases that will make people drool and fall over everywhere you go
  • Hotels + tour guides + 5 years worth of salary = crappy traveling experience
  • Stuff like this will happen to you, and yet you come home safe in one piece because couchsurfing is not that dangerous, I swear
  • How many times in life will you get to meet an opera singer or a North Korean/German ambassador? Never. Unless you’re a couchsurfer like me…true story.

How to Start Couchsurfing?

  1. Create your profile – don’t be a boring blank page w/ creepy blank photo – I know that if you stumbled onto my blog you’re probably super awesome & interesting (obviously, because you know me). So don’t be afraid to concisely state the reasons that may compel someone to host you / crash on your couch. Check out my profile for starters.
  2. Build Credibility – To be less creepy, you need more positive references. Sometimes it’s a Catch-22.  How can you get positive references if no one will interact with you in person because your profile is blank and creepy? Start out as a host – join your local group’s “Last Minute CS” group. Since couchsurfers generally don’t plan very well, you’ll find lots of lost, wandering souls looking for places to crash in this forum. Save somebody, be a good host, then you’ll receive a positive reference! Woohoo! So easy!
  3. Start Traveling – Before you book that sleazy, all-inclusive hotel – creep on some couchsurfing peeps. You will have to lurk a little and see who you think you might click with. Send a message or couchsurfing request with a personalized message (people won’t respond to copy & pasted messages).

How to be an AWESOME Couchsurfer?

  • ALWAYS BE CONSIDERATE – If you’re the couchsurfer, act as if you’re the best roommate in the WORLD. Keep your sleeping area clean. Don’t clog the toilet. Ask before you use anything. Don’t walk around naked in your underwear (unless you asked them if they’re okay with that).
  • OPEN YOUR MIND – Leave your judgement and negativity on the doorsteps. If you’re open and honest, people will be open and honest in return. And when both parties are open and honest – well…lots of fun adventures can happen. Like riding on mopeds to go wreck diving in Tulamben, Indonesia.
  • RETURN THE FAVOR – If they cooked for you, clean up the dishes or take them out for a beer. Maybe you can bring a special gift from your country as a “thank you” token of appreciation for letting you stay on their couch. Teach them a new skill, or a dirty word in your language. Be an awesome wing man and hook them up with a hot chick.
  • BUT DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH – Okay, there’s a fine line here. Despite all the positive things I’ve said that couchsurfing has to offer – please don’t walk into somebody’s house expecting all these great things to happen, EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN’ TIME. You really need to exercise your perception skills and go with the flow of your host. They could be super busy and not have enough time to show you the sights – totally fine. Respect that these people have their own lives too. Or maybe your host wants to become your best friend and know every single detail about you. That’s fine too – cultural exchange is awesome. Just go with the flow bro….
  • LEAVE THEM MAD PROPS – Dude, if you had a good experience – shout it out to the world! Leave them a glowing, positive reference. It takes you like 2 seconds. Just do it – and they’ll probably do the same in return.
  • KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THEM AFTERWARDS – if they are in your country traveling, don’t blow them off. Let them stay with you. It’s only fair.

Let me know if you guys have any other questions or suggestions! I’m totally open to them! If you want me to elaborate on a certain subject…I can definitely do that too. Happy couchsurfing!

#TigerBloodIntern ROUND 3, Time for K.O.

22 Mar

I haven’t posted in awhile – with all the snow and moody Boston weather I have had a certain lackluster for reminiscing about my past travels. Meanwhile, I have been looking for opportunities to head back west where I can continue leveling up in toxic CO2 levels to fuel the tiger blood running through my blue veins. Ok actually, I’m returning as the prodigal daughter to be with my family and rebuild my career.

SO, I have moved on to Round 3 of the #Tigerbloodintern challenge to be Charlie Sheen’s Twitter Fiend. There are rumors that only 50 have made it to Round 3, but I know that’s false because I used my magical Twitter skills and searched hashtags/keywords and saw well over 400 tweets containing “#tigerbloodintern round 3.”

My applications for Round 1 & 2 contained phrases like:

  • “I am the hurrichang, I will make it rain and flood your brain with awesomeness”
  • “B.S degree. Yes I’m full of it.”
  • “GPA 3.5, Marketing & Social Media Wizardry.”
  • “I make doctors tickle.”

But Round 3’s application is a bit more serious in nature and I expect it’s because they’re trying to weed out the crazies/lazies vs. actual fierce tigerblood candidates. I’m not sure which category I fall into yet, but I expect that the candidate pool will decrease tremendously after this round. Besides, not many people will be able to make a bomb-ass video by this Friday.

Here are Round 3’s application instructions:

  1. Create a YouTube video answering one of the three social media questions listed below. No video over 2 minutes in length will be considered. Only one video submission is allowed.
  2. Dress professionally and take your answer seriously. Your video interview will be judged on quality of content and potential for community engagement.
  3. Clearly introduce your topic at the beginning of your video.
  4. After you have uploaded your video to YouTube, copy and paste your YouTube video URL into the box below and click SUBMIT. The deadline for submission is Friday night March 25th at 11:59PM PDT.

Below are the Round 3 questions:

  1. If you were the Social Media Director for a major humanitarian aid organization, how would you create awareness and raise money via social media in the aftermath of a global disaster?
  2. In your opinion, what is the best company using social media today and why?
  3. How would you advise a candidate running for public office to leverage social media in his or her campaign for election?

We’ve already got one eager beaver posting his application on YouTube. And sometimescool’s. So – What do you guys think? Which question should I answer? Will I be able to K.O. this challenge out of the park? I THINK YES. #WINNING

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