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The New Good Samaritan–Couchsurfing

In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus clarified our neighbors. Our Lord told of a man beaten by robbers, leaving him half dead. A priest and Levite passed by, but a Samaritan (despised by Jews) bandaged the wounds, brought the man to an inn, and paid for his care. Jesus asked, “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor…? The lawyer {listening} said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise. ‘” NRSVCE     With that Biblical story, I give you Couchsurfing.

Couchsurfing was started in 1999 by a young man seeking lodging for an Icelandic trip. Fifteen years later, and now a for-profit organization, Couchsurfing International, Inc. is a hospitality exchange and social networking website which is completely free. Members can “surf” couches by staying as a guest in a host’s home, host travelers who want to stay in their home or join member-organized social events. And in 2011, with one million active members, CS International was dubbed “the most popular free accommodation site.” And well, it should be, for the Couchsurfing motto is “Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch at a Time.”

The first major concern is safety. For me, it started by becoming a verified member. The Couchsurfing verification process confirmed my identity and my address. So when “surfers” see our Profile Page, the green checkmark next to our name adds one foremost step towards their safety.

The second step is reading references from the host and guest. When I receive requests for our couch (our guest room), I read references and preferences to intuit if it is a good fit. And Couchsurfing also gives eight safety basics.

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We've had four lovely surfers so far, and our fifth Couch Surfer, a young man from India, Shreekant, is coming in November.  He is going to teach me his hobby, juggling. So if you see me tossing and catching my purse contents after Mass, kindly ask me to stop. At least you will know I learned it outside of my comfort zone. And just as the Good Samaritan stretched himself to make the world better, we too have the opportunity to do the same.


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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