All posts tagged: couchsurfing

San Francisco sunsets: falling for a new city

Despite an uncomfortable first few days, the rest of my stay in San Francisco – another blissful week – was a dream of sun and sightseeing and endless walks along the steep city streets. It was a love affair, each day bringing its new and irresistible seductions. Slowly but surely, as I had anticipated, I was falling in love with the city. Haight Ashbury, with its second-hand vintage clothes and co-operative book stores, its quaint photogenic houses, its cafes stocked full of gluten-free cakes where soya milk is the default. The sea front with its piers and bars and chocolate shops, its inexplicable sea lion population and the view of Alcatraz spectacular on the horizon. The Golden Gate Bridge itself, an all-too familiar sight but no less awe-inspiring, seen from the city stretched out in the distance, when not obscured by the thick blankets of sudden fog, or from up close to be walked along, its construction and sheer size to be gazed upon and wondered at. This is where I found myself that morning after …

A beginner’s guide to couchsurfing: what not to do

After spending time in Central America, flying to the US was a bit of a shock to the system – for many reasons, but particularly when it came to money. Miami and even Haiti – which is extremely expensive for tourists despite what you may think – put quite a strain on my budget, and as I landed in California and handed over that first crippling taxi fare, I knew this trend would only continue. Therefore I decided to make a compromise, enabling my indulgent tangent over to California only on the condition that I would do my best to economise. To this end, it was time to try out something new: couchsurfing. Okay, not entirely new, I’d deliberately tested out the site before I left, acting host myself on the network from my flat in London. But this was the first time I’d be using the site from a traveller’s perspective. I’d initially planned to do this in Miami as well, but an unfortunate experience meant I abandoned the idea and opted for our …