It takes a lot of courage to travel to an unseen world, step into a stranger’s home and share the same roof with them overnight. You may have heard of it. It’s called Couchsurfing Travel. I did that before when I went to Australia Katherine for a couple of days back in 2016. The experience was so amazing that it totally opened my mind to an alternative ways of travelling. It also made me taste a long-lost human touch that’s genuine, kind and is not built on any economic gains. But finding a good host is not easy. Trust is the cornerstone to make the whole thing work. It took me 2 months to find 2 awesome hosts. Imagine you need to find 73 of them!
Couchsurfing Travel Non Stop For 8 Months
But boy, there’s a strong woman who did. Her name is Celinne Da Costa. For the past 8 months, she had been Couchsurfing Travel non-stop around the world, across 17 countries, finding her connection with humanity. Throughout her trip, 73 awesome families hosted her. Celinne expressed her gratitude and summed up the whole experience in her letter to the hosts.
“…The gift you gave me is much, much greater than those few nights in your home. You’ve renewed my hope for humanity, and shown me generosity and kindness to an extent that I did think existed until I witnessed it with my own eyes…”
It’s my pleasure to be able to do a Skype interview with her while she was travelling in Indonesia. As much as she has inspired me to follow my travel dream, I hope her journey can give you the courage to take a plunge and regain your faith in humanity.
Before you started your 8 months world tour, what were you doing in New York?
I’d been working in NYC for 3 years in the corporate world. Right before I quit my job, I was working as a Strategist in an advertising agency. Although travelling has always been my passion, it never worked out for me to travel long.
What inspired you to leave the corporate world and started couch surfing around the world?
In August 2015, I went to Cambodia for a trip. Someone from there found my blog The Nomad Oasis and asked me if I wanted to be a volunteer. I decided to give a try and went there for 2 weeks to volunteer in an orphanage.
When it was over in September, I went back to my office in NYC and started talking to my colleagues about one of my clients’ project. Suddenly it daunted on me: “What am I doing with my life?” So not long after, I quit my job. In 6 months, I packed up my luggage, moved out of my apartment and started my journey.
Tell us a bit more about your Couch-Surfing project. How long did it last and where did you travel?
When I first told people about this project, everyone was shocked. Despite there was a lot of uncertainty out there, I started travelling in May 2016. In the next 8 months, I went to over 17 countries. They include Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, US (Hawaii, California) and more.
How did you find so many hosts? Did you use Couchsurfing.com to find them?
To be frank, I didn’t use Couchsurfing.com at all. I don’t even have an account for the website. All the hosts I found are from my personal connections. Before my trip, I kept on asking if any of my friends had friends staying in the countries that I was planning to go. And step-by-step I found them all.
Was the idea of traveling non-stop and couch surfing in strangers’ house scary to you at first? How did you overcome the fear?
No, I’m not scared and I’ve been doing that long ago. And till date, I’ve never had any negative experience. It’s more than amazing. If there was one thing that I was scared of, it was about leaving everything behind and breaking away from my life routine. But I knew the world is going to take care of me, and it indeed has.
How was the overall experience? Is there any special moment that’s very memorable?
The hosts are really amazing people. And it’s incredible to see how they are willing to help a complete stranger like me. They sheltered me, fed me, let me use their washing machines, drove me around, showed me the city they live in through their unique and local perspective. They went above and beyond providing the couch I ever asked of. Every single day, I was creating memories. Most importantly, they believed in me, and by doing that, they helped me believe in myself.
What did you do every day during your trip? How did you make a living?
As I was travelling, I was also contributing articles to different media publications, such as Huffington Post and Forbes. I wrote about my project and the lessons I’d learnt along the way. Being able to Couchsurf also helped me to save a lot of money.
Meanwhile, I’m writing a book. Very often, an emigrant came to the US to live their American dreams. But after years and years of trying, the dreams still don’t come true. Instead of achieving the American dream, I’ve decided to build my own dream. I want to stay connected, to be free and value true happiness. The world has taught me how. In a year’s time I will publish my book.
Understand that you started a website to inspire others too, what do you hope your readers can learn from your journey?
A lot of people are scared of going out there. I want to show that the unknown is not terrifying. It’s full of opportunities and possibilities. I’m not special. Everybody has a light in their heart. They just need to turn it out. I want to let them realise that they can do it too. I want them to take actions and embrace changes.
Apart from your website, what other ways can people connect with you?
I post a photo on my Instagram with short story everyday to inspire people. Apart from that, I also have a Facebook page and my website sends out a newsletter every month to connect with my readers. People can also read my articles on Forbes and more.