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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Wonders of Couchsurfing

Have you ever been in a pinch and needing somewhere cheap to stay when traveling around? Or have plans suddenly changed and you've come somewhere and have a day or two where you have nowhere to stay? And when they did, did you wish you have a random person's couch or futon to cash on at no cost?

Okay, maybe just me. And the 14 million others that use it.

Couchsurfing was started by a bg roup of guys who were tired of having to pay for lodging when they were traveling and also wanted a cool new way to meet people. And so, Couchsurfing was born.

To be a member on couchsurfing, you simply need to sign up and list your place as being available to stay at. From there, you can choose to host people (if your housemates are alright with it), is say that you are 'maybe' or 'not' accepting guests. From here, you can build a network, meet other surfers, and best of all, find places to stay when traveling.

When I wrote this post, I'd only stayed with two couchsurfing hosts. Both people were lovely human beings who offered me food and drink and welcomed me in after long days of traveling in Scandinavia. I felt right at home, like I was catching up with an old friend - and not once did I feel like my safety was jeopardised.

So folks, don't knock it until you try it. It could be your ticket to traveling the world at large without having to worry about breaking the bank finding places to stay if you're open to the experience.

Monday, June 3, 2019

My Experience with AirBnB

My Experience with AirBnB
In the 21st century, there is an increasing demand for cheap accommodations, as more individuals are now using their savings for global travel. Many Millennials especially are realizing that the world is big, and there is many things that are worth seeing. As such, traveling jobs have become more and more frequent, and hotels are taking this into consideration and profiting. And so, Airbnb came along as a potential solution. Let me share a little bit of back story with you.

Brian Chesty started Airbnb in its infancy in 2007 with friend and co-founder Joe Gebbia, running the first Airbnb out of their spare room in the back of their apartment to try and generate passive income to help afford rent. They brought on a few more people, pitched their ideas to several funding platforms, and eventually found the funding to launch their idea worldwide. Their idea picked up steam in 2011, and now has grown into a global powerhouse.

So naturally, as soon as our friends turned me on to them, I needed to check it out for myself. I like to take trips, and I hate spending money. So, it seems like a good trade-off. I took my first trip Wes, only getting as far out as Cleveland for now. This would be my first Airbnb experience. I set up a profile using my Facebook account, pitched a couple messages to potential hosts, and after working around double scheduling from some individuals, I finally found a place to stay. The process of making a payment and getting in contact with my host regarding details of the location was extremely easy, and so far, every Airbnb I’ve stayed at has been extremely communicative. After all, you would want to make sure a stranger knows the lowdown on your house rules if they're staying with you and your personal home, too.

After buying my first Airbnb, I browsed around the website itself a little bit more. There are several filters you can utilize to search for specifics on your home stay, including how much or how little you would like to spend, exact locations, what type of Hose do you want, what type of amenities you'll need, and how many people you can accommodate. There are also different tour guides that operate cheap tours through Airbnb and different experiences. There's a horse farm in central Pennsylvania there was actually advertising when I looked. The application itself is very user-friendly and feels like you are truly establishing a personal connection with whoever you reach out to. You will write a story in your biography about yourself and your travels, and so will your host, and as such, you will establish rapport long before you step into their house.

As far as the experience itself goes, every guest house I have stayed at has been under $70, and has more than served its purpose well. Every guest house I've stayed at also had several extra guest rooms, and I use this opportunity to make friends with the other house guests that were staying there. I also made friends with all of the hosts, using them as International friendships and connections. Because of staying in guest homes with multiple rooms, I now have friends from several different countries. Because of this, Airbnb felt more like a private hostel then did a hotel room.

The only negative thing I can find about Airbnb would come from the people itself rather than the app. I've already had several potential hosts flake out on me, and the communication through the app itself needs a little bit of improvement. Otherwise, I prefer this to purchasing a hotel room 9 times out of 10. You'll make so many connections that you never knew existed just by staying and somebody's basement. Literally. I've had a wonderful experience so far with Airbnb, and will continue using them until the end of the line.

Monday, May 27, 2019

To those who have big dreams

When I was in high school, I wrote a song called follow your dreams. I released it 3 years later as an undergraduate student and a program that I knew it wasn't right for me. I had Big Dreams, and no idea how I would ever achieve them.

Until, one day, I decided to blindly go after them and start pursuing them with every ounce of energy I had left and my tired body.

Add all I can say, is that I am so glad that I did. I didn't have much money, nor resources, or time, but I still found a way to go out and see the world. 

If there is ever even a passing thought in your mind that you want to live in another country, find out what you need to do for that country in order to become a part of it. Familiarize yourself with local terminology and systems, such as prices of things, their currency, their language, and their social life. Try to hang out with the locals as much as possible and to shy away from what the tourists are doing. where on their mannerisms, how they talk, how they eat, how they think, how they sleep, and how they joke.  

And most importantly of all, learn the resources and finances needed to integrate with this new country. When I was going abroad to study for two years in London, I needed to register myself with the National Institution of health, and renew it every year for about $500 each time. I needed to apply for the biometric residence permit and Visa, which cost roughly $1,000. I need it to pay for extra vaccinations out-of-pocket. I need it to go through criminal clearances in both my country and there's sand and lots of long lines, accumulate a mini cabinet worth of paperwork, and remain on hold for up to 20 minutes of times to speak with people across the pond about various documentation and Licensing processes. sometimes I would wait 4 weeks on the ends to get documents mailed to me.

All of this had to occur before I could even buy my plane ticket and stepped foot in the airport. The process was not easy, but it was greatly worth my time and effort. The memories I made or insurmountable, and the friendships and Partnerships established for lifelong and Limitless.