Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why?

Why would a guy from a city in Eastern Europe, throw the doors of his house open for a random stranger who wants a place to stay for 2 nights, then welcome him in and hand him the keys to his house after knowing him for an hour, so that he could come back whenever he wanted from the party that night? A stranger who doesn't speak his language, who is differently coloured, who comes from a culture so completely different, a stranger he will, in all likelihood, never see again in his life. Why would he offer him dinner, breakfast, anything and everything he had in his kitchen, then help him with anything he needed in the city, give him 2 gifts and one awesome home-made cake, and then carry his luggage to the bus station just before his bus left so that he didn't have to lug it around when he went around the city?

What makes more than a million people across the globe open their minds to this concept?

My couchsurfing experiences have left me overwhelmed by the generosity of the human spirit, and the kindness of souls which I have done nothing to deserve. It has raised more questions than answers, but happy questions, questions which make me ponder over the way we lead our lives, scared, afraid, wary, fearful of the unknown, whether it's a place or a person or a community.

I owe you big-time, Marek. And I owe so much to Couchsurfing. I've reached the end of my travels in Europe, but it has been an exceptional and life-changing journey. In the space of 7 weeks, I've discovered a concept which I hope I can use and contribute to as much as possible for the rest of my life. I am sad that I will be leaving Europe soon, but even more that I will not be able to continue this breath-taking journey which is shaking the very foundations of a dozen assumptions and prejudices of mine.

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