Since 2010, I was an active member of the Couchsurfing community. Back then, I was still a University student and didn’t have the opportunity to travel a lot because of school. I vowed to myself that I will actively host people in my apartment so when it’s my time to travel, I will have contacts from all over the world, who, without obligations, will return the favour.
In Manila, I met a girl called Andrea, a Colombian living in China who was teaching zumba at the time. She had a 2-week break and she chose the Philippines as her travel destination. When I met Andrea, I didn’t have plans to travel South America yet (or ever imagined that I would) but I still hosted her. It was so interesting for me to know someone from the other side of the globe who will travel in my country.
Couchsurfing schedules are nuts. I say yes to everyone and at the time Andrea contacted me, I already was hosting 2 guys from Germany so I didn’t have enough space. She said she already have accommodations (she was traveling with other zumba instructors) and she just wanted to meet locals.
I had prior commitments that day so I asked my friends if a Colombian friend can tag along. They said yes and everyone got to meet Andrea! In return, Andrea had a chance to see the Filipino circle of friends dynamics. We had so much fun and that drinking session was followed by 2 more nights of gathering with my different set of friends. Andrea was very happy!
“If you ever come to Colombia, remember that you are most welcome to stay with me.”
The following year, I went to South America without a plan and never thought I would use the invitation card Andrea gave me when we met in the Philippines. I texted Andrea and said, “Hey, I’m in Brasil now and planning to go to Colombia soon. I was wondering if…”
“Of course! Stay with me!” I didn’t know how it will work. She was still living in China so I asked her how will that be possible. Little did I know that she already told her parents about it. They were willing to host me even if Andrea wasn’t around.
“I will come for Christmas and New Years. I will see you there!” she said.