Couch Surfing

The New Yorker, April 16, 2012


Couch-surfing the globe.” by Patricia Marx

“Couch surfing (in this article) refers to the practice of temporarily lodging with a stranger–free of charge, unless you count being incessantly sociable as payment.”  Before this concept of surfing for places to stay with strangers the term meant to crash on a sofa or couch and flip through TV channels for an inordinate amount of time.

CouchSurfing is the “brainchild” of Casey Fenton, thirty-four, who, according to the article, had become “fascinated by the concept of free will, cherishing the hope that someday he would have the existential wherewithal to escape his home town and explore the world.”  In 2004 CouchSurfing went public with the mission to ” internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance, and facilitate cultural understanding.”

Surfing, of course, refers to riding waves on surfboards or swimming with the power of the wave into the shore.  One can also surf in kayaks, Hobie Cats, or anything that helps one use the waves for a ride.



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