Why I let strange foreigners into my home

And why you should too.

Having your own house is one of the steps towards adulthood that is actually pretty fun. Yeah, you’re worried about your bills, your deposits and that weird unidentified mould in your mates room. But there’s so much room for activities!  You make that six foot fire in your garden. Get all the pets your heart desires and hide them when the landlord comes round. Enjoy the freedom to change the channel to whatever American sport you like without Eddy kickin’ off. Home sweet home.

Wait, is that the guy from step-brothers? Oh, just Richario and his wife from Brazil.

Wait, is that the guy from step-brothers? Oh, just Richario and his wife from Brazil.

One of the newly available hobbies we recently tried out was hosting couch-surfers. Briefly, for the less well traveled among you, Couch-surfing is a website you can register to when you’re off back-packing – if you’ve nowhere to stay you send someone a little email and more often than not they’ll let you sleep on their couch for free. I made my way across France this summer with a mate, living off the generosity of strange blokes with a sofa bed. One bunch of them gave us weapons you light on fire and had a medieval house party for us. Perhaps that’s not the best way to advertise it. Cheaper than a hotel though.

We stayed with some guys who were quirky to say the least, but the thing they all had in common was genuine generosity – which is why I came back determined to host people as soon as I got a house. At the risk of sounding like a sap, it’s a seriously easy way to meet travelers from all over the world and help them out. For you, it might cost a few pizzas and a couple of hours of conversation, but for them a sofa-bed is true luxury after the relentless ballache of roughing it in a tent for days on end. A lot of them have a curious habit of doing your washing up as a thank-you.

Almost all of them will have some funny stories to tell you, whilst you all sit on the kitchen floor at 1am eating curly fries. Our most recent couple had slept in countless bus stops, stayed in a tent made mostly out of umbrella from what I could see, and spent a fortnight in one of those back-to-basics community where everyone was naked and everything was free.

If, like me, you’ve woken up to find yourself twenty years old with an actual home of your own, hosting people is one of the first things you should do. It’s a fun way to meet chaps from all over the world. It’s fairly easy to coerce them into cooking dinner for you when you can’t be arsed. And it’ll be a good laugh, I promise.

Couch-surfing sounds like something your mum wouldn’t approve of, but it is a bit more involved than just letting people rock up in your living room. You can check out their profile and read their reviews if you’re worried about serial killers – you don’t have to host them if you don’t like the look of them. Not that I’m one to judge a book by its cover.