he fantastic Couchsurfing community ostensibly exists to help backpackers find free places to sleep (on couches), but it’s so much better than that. After hosting people from all over the world and showing them the best that Los Angeles has to offer, I’m a bit surprised to report that I find the experience at least as rewarding as those who stay with me do; my guests often cook me tasty international cuisine and teach me about other cultures in a surprisingly deep way. I’ve also met countless people through Couchsurfing while traveling around the world; even if you don’t want to stay on a couch, you can use the site to meet up with locals for activities. The people I’ve met through Couchsurfing — including a deaf Norwegian dancer, a Russian children’s book editor, a Polish engineer, and a pair of married Slovenian schoolteachers — are people that I’ll remember and stay in touch with forever.
The Couchsurfing app is available for iOS and Android. WB