Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Toronto and CouchSurfing

Toronto night skyline

An nine day trip in Toronto, running a half marathon, sightseeing, couchSurfing, travel photography and attending some of the top b-schools around there. What started as a simple interest of attending a half marathon event somewhere out of the of the country turned out to be a potpourri of endeavours half way across the globe, making the whole trip quite interesting and perhaps a bit too busy to enjoy the moment.

CouchSurfing is a social travel network, it is a community of travellers, adventure seekers and life long learners who are dedicated to sharing their culture, hospitality and authentic experiences. When you are travelling you get to stay (on couch's to be more precise) with people who offer to host you and you get a glimpse of their culture and way of doing things, you can find out about a place from the eyes of the people staying there, its also a chance to reduce your travel expenses as you don't pay while you surf. At the same time you voluntarily or involuntary become an ambassador for your culture, your country and for other surfers who come from where you come. So be nice, be humble, share what you can and be open to new experiences. 

When you are at your home you can always choose to host someone who is travelling. At any given time there are a number of people travelling around the world who would love to find a nice place to stay and get to know the local culture better. So extend a hand and be generous, for the experiences you get are priceless. More about it in the video's below.

During my travel in Toronto, I stayed on the couch's of multiple hosts. A few days here and a few days there. In all I found the people who hosted me as warm and generous. The gave me their house keys, so that I could come and go as I please. They offered me food and they took me to meet their friends, visit places and gave me all the support and info to go to where I needed to. Can't ask for anything more :). One thing I wish I hadn't missed was an ice hockey game with the Toronto Marlies. One of the host, Yann and Kelly, had even bought me tickets to the game, but due to some last minute hickup's I missed the bus out of Niagara and was too late to make it to the game. Darn it. It would have been so awesome to watch a kickass professional ice hockey game.

The whole experience has been a unique and interesting one where I have learnt a little bit more about being generous and a better person. It is one of those significant experiences which I will  recollect 10 years from now and say "Hey, that was something different. I'm glad I did it". Looking forward to host and surf a little more, for I feel a little closer to being a global citizen now.

Me, Suhail (host) and Flo (co surfer)
Kobe, the friendly dog at  my
second host Yann and Kelly-Ann

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