THE COUCH SURFING CHRONICLES
Why turning down normal housing was one of the best decisions I've ever made
Episode One: Kicking it Off
I’m going back to Santa Barbara on Wednesday for Fall Quarter- and only Fall Quarter. During the Winter and Spring I’ll be doing the Study Abroad Dance again. In Argentina. Which makes that dance the tango. But with only one quarter in Santa Barbara instead of subleasing, or taking a short term rent on an apartment with some random people, I decided in favor of…
I’ve always kind of wanted to couch surf for a brief period in my life. One quarter of school seems like the perfect length for that. I feel like it’s a good way to bond with people you’re anywhere from acquaintances to good friends with and turn them into much closer friends. It’s also easy to stay for just the right amount of time without getting sick of each other. And most of all, since I’ll be saving money by not paying rent, I’ll be able to repay people by stocking up their fridge and putting my love of cooking into practice. Yeah, couch surfing seems like a sweet deal. It even worked for Jesus. (Matthew 6:11-14, FYI)
I’ve been getting in touch with friends who might be willing to offer up a couch, and it actually looks like this idea could actually work out! Either way, it’ll be a story to tell.
Episode Two: The Return
I made the drive up to Santa Barbara today. Quite simply, it didn’t go as planned.
Delay #1: Getting sushi with mom. Not a bad delay.
Delay #2: This one was a lot worse. I was about 45 minutes away in Oceanside, when I realized I forgot to attach my bike. My bike is essential, so I had to turn around, losing me a grand total of an hour and a half
Finally got to Carson at 6:00. I ended up spending more than an hour. My aunts offered to take me out to dinner. And I couldn’t say no to an offered steak dinner. So the steak dinner ambush meant I was leaving Carson at 8:30.
I arrived much later than I thought, but if two of the three delays were sushi and steak, it could be a lot worse.
Right now I’m staying on my friend Abby’s couch, who I know from church. She’s a little older and working instead of going to school, so that gives her more flexibility than your typical college student. She’s really being an incredible host, very easygoing and inviting. I owe her big time. She lives downtown, which is fine. I don’t need to be in I.V. for another week. Abby even offered her laundry room for some storage.
It’ll take patience, faith, and breath-holding. But I really think this couch-surf chapter of my life is going to be really, really rewarding. And interesting.
Chapter Three: Enter I.V.
After a week doing commuter-student empathy practice, I have now moved onto the couches of Isla Vista. I’m at the Plex for this week with my buddies Jordan, Sage, Niko, and Daniel. So far, so good. It’s going to be nice to be in I.V. and have the campus at easy access. This is a really sweet place, location wise especially.
Staying at Abbey’s was great, and she and her roommate were really excellent hosts. I love getting samples of different living situations all around Santa Barbara, and I’m still at the start of it.
Episode Four: The Madhouse
Thus far, the couch surfing experience has yielded me a ton of positive responses from people who are thrilled that I’m living this way for a while. Those positive responses translate into couch offers from people who want participation in my adventure.
Anyways, I’m with a bunch of friends on their couch in a massive house on the outer part of IV. My friends CC, Deanna, and a few others live here, and I get to give their lone male Daniel some guy companionship. This house is massive, and doesn’t feel like a college-style living arrangement at all. I like it. It’s complete with real rooms that aren’t mashed together, and it’s very clean.
Not to mention everyone here is super hospitable. They’re letting me repay them by teaching ukulele lessons. Sweet deal.
Episode Five: The Mansion
New week, new couch, new roommates.
I was supposed to move out of the Madhouse yesterday, but when I realized how I would have to be up early the next day just to be down the street, I extended my stay by one night.
I already miss goofing around with Daniel while he studies for the GRE. And my lovely inflatable spot on his floor.
Now I’m in the Mansion, which, as its name implies, is quite the opposite of having stayed in a house that was 8/9ths girl. My friend Steven really pushed for me to stay here, and so I’ll be with him and his roommates Ian, Kenny, Mike, Jeff, and Cliff. Oh, and Kenny’s a big Giants fan, making this week extra fun.
I’m not actually going to be here that long, since I’m going out of town this weekend, but I’m looking forward to it anyways.
Episode Six: La Loma
After an awesome, albeit abbreviated week at the MANsion, I have returned to IV. This time, I’m at the apartment of Duarte, Ernesto, and Rene. We had a BBQ at the MANsion right before I left, and they really wanted me to stay, so maybe I’ll go back there for the half-week of Thanksgiving.
Episode Seven: Mustache Tuesdays
I’m now at one of the houses that I’ve been the most excited about staying at. Doing this back-to-back with Duarte’s place will be great.
I’m now on Sabado with Chase, Bryce, Derek, and Ariel. This was actually a place I had been looking forward to for a long time. Back when I was still considering this random impulse to live on people’s couches, Bryce was the first to volunteer his. Seven months later, here we are.
This house is always full of a lot of life, so that will be sweet.
Episode Eight: The MANsion Redux
The hardest part about the whole couch surfing business is honestly the fact that I have to move out every week or two. It’s been real fun living with all the people that I’ve stayed with thus far, and I had some good times staying over at Sabado Tarde. Ariel didn’t take my departure very well. From the Psych event to video interviews, it was fun stuff. To be honest, though, it is a little flattering that people get bummed out when I leave.
One group in particularly couldn’t take it. The men of the MANsion beckoned for my return. I suppose since I moved in on a Monday night the last time, and had a retreat starting that Friday, they got shortchanged a little bit. I’ll be here until Thanksgiving Break.
Episode Nine: ΑΓΩ House
So this college couch surfing venture wouldn’t be complete without the installment of a fraternity house, no? Well I’ll be living with the guys at the ΑΓΩ house for this week to fulfill that requirement.
It turns out to be pretty well timed, too. If things keep up, and it looks like they will, this is going to be a cold week. I’m staying in the romper room which has the benefits of a space heater AND a little Christmas tree. So my little couch is extra cozy. Plus I’m a very convenient distance from my real home, Cajé, and on the edge of campus.
Episode Ten: Everywhere
So I decided to end this quarter of homeless house hopping by going full monty and doing a bunch of different houses within a week. Here’s how that looked.
Sunday: Last Night at the House
Monday: Repeat of the SAC house with Chase, Bryce, Derek, & Ariel
Tuesday: Plex A
Wednesday-Thursday: Plex E
Friday+: Casa de Paz
Most people will have gone home, and I’m not leaving Santa Barbara until Wednesday so I’ll be spending the rest of my time with Jonathan out in Goleta. I’m looking forward to getting a few days in SB without any school.
This whole Couch Surfing thing is one of the best choices I’ve made.
The idea of couch surfing came very casually as a whim during a conversation with other friends last year who were planning their own housing situations. It was kind of a joke, but then I wondered how feasible it would be. Even when I began, I wasn’t sure I’d fully have enough couches. Low and behold, I recieved a surplus.
Thanks Abbey and Annie for being my first hosts Downtown and for giving me a little taste of Lost, although I’m not really going to start watching that until after college. Also, your cats seem to like me.
Thanks Jordan, Niko, Daniel and Sage for being my first stop in IV and for looking after my instruments for most of the quarter.
Thanks CC, Daniel, Deanna, Bree, Rebekah, Caitlyn, Dominque, Jenny, and… oh gosh, I’m missing someone. Well, thanks for being the house that played victim that one day I recorded myself all day long. I hope the ukulele lessons were a worthwhile compensation. Also thanks for giving me fellow couch surfers to swap stories with.
Thanks MANsion guys for hosting me TWICE. I hope I have introduced you to the wonderful world of foreign films on your guys’ deluxe Netflix package. Thanks for hosting my bread pudding for a while. You guys are superhosts.
Thanks Duarte, Ernesto, and Rene. Thanks especially, Duarte, for spotting me with a camera to keep my 365 project alive during that danger-phase. You really just saved one of the most intense projects I’ve done. PS, you guys should name your apartment.
Thanks Chase, Derek, Bryce, and Ariel. You guys did technically get me for the longest. And I loved that. Ariel, thank you for finally meeting me, and for waking me up every morning with the scent of bacon. Bryce, I miss having you tuck me in at night.
Thanks ΑΓΩ! I wish it was humanly possible to really have hung out with each of you individually, but I’m glad with what I got to do. Brian, it was my pleasure to be the quietest sleeper in your room for that whole week. You guys rock. And seriously, thanks for having a space heater. Especially that week.
Thanks Matt, DM3, Phil, and the resident formerly known as Chase. I know you guys only got me that one night before Thanksgiving, and that one night last week. But they were good nights, I’ll tell you that.
Thanks Trevor, Taylor, Albert, & Adrian. I really just noticed the alliterative coupling in your guys’ names. Whoa. Thanks for the two nights on your really comfy couch.
Thanks Jonathan and Jade. Sorry we had such contrasting sleep schedules and couldn’t hang out more, but I’m glad I could end my adventures with you!