Vizag’s close encounters with the couch surfing kind

Among 200 thousand people in Vizag; there are several residents here who have opened their homes to travelers from different nations. Don’t think vagabond just yet, because Vizag hosts travelers who are ‘couch surfing!’

An online community of travelers who give other travelers a place to stay for a night or more, Couch Surfing is a website where people can create a profile and begin their journey into living with strangers in their travels.

Read on as these two most popular hosts from Vizag share their close encounters with couch surfers.

Sanjay Mahanti says…

“I love surprises; last minute plans and the spontaneity of socializing with new people. I believe in ‘Atitidevobhava’ [Sanskrit: A guest is like God.]

I wanted to really live that philosophy.”

What do you share with your guests?

I am a choreographer by profession and I practice Indian classical dance and theater. I share these arts with my guests. When I had couch surfers at home I told them about Indian arts and its forms and I learned a lot from them too.

Sanjay having a blast with a guest
Sanjay having a blast with a guest

What’s your accommodation like and how do you manage having guests over?

I provide a bed and a kitchen and I try to make time to show them around the city.

So far, what does your guestbook look like?

I have hosted quite a few guests from 2017 until now who were from Australia, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland.

Couch surfing host Ravi Chaparala adds…

“It’s like an adventure to meet new people and it was thrilling to meet the people I have hosted.”

So far, what does your guestbook look like?

I have had couch surfers from Venezuela, Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Punjab, Pondicherry, Goa, Kolkata and Nagpur. My guests were cyclists, bike riders and hitchhikers.

Ravi's little daughter joins in for a picture with his guest
Ravi and his daughter pose for a picture with their guest

Any takeaways from the couch surfing experience?

After hosting guests, I learned about their culture, city and lifestyle which broadened my mind.

What do you offer to your guests?

I show my guests around town. My family and I share the history of the city with them. I help them find popular places to try local food. I also share knowledge on Indian traditions and take them to the city’s tourist spots.

Keep traveling …

The thrill of getting an insider’s perspective on a new travel destination isn’t restricted to couchsurfing alone. And, besides Air BnB, Couch Surfing has been the leading hospitality cum social network site since 2004.

However, it is one among many.

Sites like Cultree, BeWelcome,Trustroots and MovingWorlds ranked as the best alternatives to Couch Surfing  in 2019.

Which one of these sites will you choose to convert your abode into a homestay for strangers?



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