The kindness of strangers: an ode to Couchsurfing and clichés

kindness of strangers - pineapple

I haven’t always depended on the kindness of strangers. I’d think myself a burden and that I would be asking for too much. I never wanted to impose, be a bother, a nuisance, take more than I can give—which isn’t much when you’re a budgeting Couchsurfing traveller. My recent travelling experience has changed my thinking, my outlook, my expectations.

I am changed.

My doubting self is no more, my ability to trust in the uncertainty is stronger. My fear of the unknown is replaced with the confidence that everything will be okay.

Ev’ryting gonnabe irie.

And if it isn’t, if I am uncomfortable, I have the power to correct course. To abandon ship and seek (swim to!) greener pastures.

In the case of Couchsurfing: find a different place to rest my head. Though I have had much good fortune and have stayed with plenty of genuinely kind strangers. No heebed out vibes, all has been hunky-dory.

I have depended on the kindness of strangers.

My doubting self is no more, my trust in the uncertainty is ever stronger. Magnified and fortified. I am excited about the future, excited about welcoming travellers into the future home I shall call my own once I’ve landed. I am excited about returning the favour, reciprocating in kind, paying it forward. Helping a friend in need, even if that friend has yet to be met.

If there is one thing this lil’ adventure has taught me, it is to depend and expect kindness. To bask in its warmth, swallow the red pill and stay in Wonderland, be consumed by it and let it – the kindness – shine brightly. A contagion worth spreading. Kindness!

I have moved forward with open heart, mind, and arms into strangers’ homes. Resting my weary head on blow-up mattresses (holes or no, beggars can’t be choosers) or regular mattresses in kids’ rooms or spare rooms, living rooms, guest rooms, or closet, and even, on shared beds. Kindness!

I didn’t know the kindness of strangers like I do now. The intimacy with which I have been involved with strangers’ kindness has me weak at the knees. I am humbled. Another layer of understanding peeled back, revealing the glittering diamond truths that there is more love and compassion in this world than their coal-dust counterparts.

I have depended on the kindness of strangers and I will continue to do so in the hopes that strangers will depend on my own.


We envision a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.

All we need is love.




  1. Courtney
    September 17, 2017 / 7:13 PM

    You are one of the brave ones! Unsure of what’s to come during your travels. I envy your ability to communicate and start conversations with people you don’t know anything about. Its been so fun experiencing these adventures through your photos!

    • Julia
      September 17, 2017 / 1:21 PM

      Thanks Courtney for the kind word’s and support!

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