23 November 2006

The First CouchSurfer

Rotterdam is not a tourist city, so Iain's email surprised me:
I'm an Aussie whose been traveling around Europe for the past 2 months and ended up in Rotterdam.

I'll be here for a few more days, and was hoping to CouchSurf (I found the website today); usually I sleep in my car, but a couch would be so much better.

I'm friendly, sociable and occasionally amusing, I like to juggle and like all sorts of music.
I thought CouchSurfers would contact me only during peak travel times, when Amsterdam was saturated.

But Iain contacted me almost immediately after I altered my profile.

He was in Rotterdam for a week waiting to catch the ferry to England where he would start a new job.

After quitting his tech job in Norway, he'd been traveling around Europe living out of his huge van:
  • In every city, he got a new SIM card for his phone.
  • He had WiFi access on his laptop.
  • He usually parked on the outskirts of a city where he could cook and wash up.
CouchSurfers build up reputations as good guests by interlinking their profiles and leaving references on the network interface.

But Iain had only just discovered the site so I suggested that we meet first to see if we were comfortable sharing space.

When I was new to the network, I learned this approach from Antony, the Amsterdam CouchSurfer I stayed with last year.

Iain turned out to be a polite guy who was easy to talk to and a great first CouchSurfer.

I'm grateful that we could use his van to move the stuff out of my studio.

The one time we cooked dinner together, we discovered that he carried around more spices in his van than I had in my kitchen.

He's a member of juggling clubs. I can juggle three balls or pins, but I learned from Iain that when you juggle four items, they no longer cross-over. You just keep rotating the same two in each hand.

And he had lots of music on his i-Pod. I am musically deficient. I don't even have an i-Pod so he left The Cat Empire on my computer.

I thought The Cat Empire's song "Hello" was kind of fun:

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