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Chennai Couch Surfing meet

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This is the tale of How I Met Some More Interesting Random Strangers by Joining a Meet up out of Impulse.

If you have read the open letter to kind blogger, you must be knowing that I was at Chennai staying with a kind blogger.

The story goes like this. I was staying at this kind blogger friend’s house. I had the privilege to use all the facilities.

Being on the road for almost a month, I wanted to check what was happening in the online world. So I used the high-speed internet after a very long time. I had a lot to catch up, I hadn’t update the blog in a while, I needed to reply to some mails, I had to thank the couch surfers who happily offered their couches, I had to write them the feedback. I had so much things to do and I was all alone in that house. So I decided to use WiFi.

After I finished all the above mentioned tasks, there was still a lot of time left and I had nothing much to do. And unfortunately my camera charger stopped working.  It wouldn’t charge the battery. I was completely unaware of this problem, that I came to know about it  when the battery got completely drained. But the good thing was that the battery had enough charge to survive the entire trip and the problem occurred at the final leg of the journey.

As the camera wasn’t working, I didn’t have pretty much anything to do. So I thought of meeting some people. I checked the couch surfing site. Couldn’t find many travellers to meet in Chennai. But then there it was. A Chennai Couch surfing meet up was happening that very day! How lucky! I checked the venue and left a reply saying that I would be joining as well.

After having lunch and resting for some more time, I headed out. I had never attended a CS meet up at such a short notice. It is a bit risky. Risky in the sense,  I didn’t have any contact numbers, I didn’t know whom to contact or how to recognise them and I wasn’t even sure if the venue mentioned was confirmed or would they change it at that last moment.  Anyway I decided to go.

It was happening at some café near Besant nagar beach, Chennai. So I asked some guy i met on the road, how to reach that place. He helped me with the directions and bus number. After walking quite some time and asking so many others,  at last got into a bus that was heading towards this place. But after I got in the bus, I came to know that it wouldn’t go exactly to that place and I had to take another bus to reach my destination.

Then I switched on my loyal, reliable travel partner : Google Maps. It  rarely misguides me. But when it does, it turns out to be quite funny. Reaching a granite slab of  2 feet width while driving a car can be cited here as a testimony. Reaching road blocks are too common to mention, especially if there is any newly built fly over nearby.

Anyway Google maps showed me the nearest point where I could get down to reach the beach. When I checked the maps, it was almost half an hour by walking. So I decided to walk instead of taking a bus. So far from my experience, Google maps wont misguide you while walking, unless until one has given wrong input. They say in computer terms  GIGO : Good Input, Good Output.

After the half an hour walk, I did reach Besant Nagar beach and found out the café. The real trouble started just then. There were some people already sitting in the street side café, enjoying the breeze that was coming from the sea. Now my task is to find out the couch surfers among these people, whom I have never met, not even in photographs.

I checked the CS site to see if anyone had replied . No response. I walked in front of the café checking people, like a thief who was planning to break in a house! There were gangs of girls sitting there in the café and I looked like someone who is secretly checking them out and ogling at them 😉

I had no idea, how I was going to find this people. It was already the time mentioned on the site. I decided to walk around the beach side looking for some clues. What I found is police men and women roaming around the beach. I know that they have a special affection towards the “oglers” 😉 So I went back to the café for another round of search. My search criteria was to look for a bunch of people from different countries and different age groups having  different skin tones , different accent and so on.

I prayed to Google god and ran the search query. Voilà!! In one corner I found a group of men and women. 3 women, 2 men, Indian and Non Indians, age ranging from 20 to 70, that was the first investigation report I could come up with, for that group.

I was still having doubts. I looked at the group with a question on my face. Someone asked “Couch surfing??” I nodded and said ‘yes’. “Haloo. welcome” and within no time I was part of that group.

People joined one by one  till it became a group of around 20. We ordered coffee and snacks. And it was fun. The meet up was organized by 2 girls from Iran. They were travelling across India. When I talked to them, they told me that they were travelling from Goa. They told me about their CS host at Goa. I knew him, I stayed with him as well. Then she told me where they were going next. I knew that host too, surprisingly. So we came to the conclusion that the world is a small place! They were actually following a similar travel plan, which I did  some time ago.

Another interesting person was 70-year-old Barbara from USA who knew more about Delhi and India in general, than anyone present in  that group. She is an avid traveller, even at this age. She is an ambassador of Couch surfing.

Then there was a movie assistant director , some bankers, consultant, people who quit their jobs. It was an interesting group. We exchanged stories, numbers, contact details, shared the bill for tea and snacks and it was time to leave. Then this man, who had undergone an accident, who was advised to take bed rest and not to ride motorbike, offered me a lift. Now that is the kindness of couch surfers! He dropped me at my host’s house.

I had a great time that day. Thanks to all the wonderful people who believes in humanity. Thanks to all couch surfers out there. Maybe you can also be a couch surfer. Join now.

trablogger
Photographing the journeys to recreate the Travels to take you for a virtual Photo walk.
http://www.trablogger.com

52 thoughts on “Chennai Couch Surfing meet

  1. Wow… I can connect with your experience completely. I used to attend volunteer meetings and gatherings and even though all of them are strangers, when you realise they are nice and fun people you become part of their group… I get dropped by someone or other later(:… just nice of them(: anyway… glad you had nice time at Chennai, I am surprised you had the nerve to catch buses there(:, it is always nice to be part of a group na…never get bored at the weekends… and it is fun to hear travel stories and all(: anyway gooday… I hear lot of negative stories about crimes happening trusting stranger when I hear things like this brings a smile on my face. I don’t associate Chennai as a happening place with “communities”, if they had that place can be fun especially it is so close to that Auroville for some good volunteering oppurtunities… Bangalore that is where I am from has loads of communities, trekking, story telling, volunteering and a newbie to Bangalore won’t be lost…but every place has it’s charm and every new place as a traveller is nice. This time when I went to Chennai I went to some useless event… Niagara Island Exhibition, it turned out it was full of the Chennai middle class local people and surprisingly I did not mind it(:, one should be happy where ever one is… I think only travellers can be more adjusting, else most of us think having a good time is go to mall and shop or eat…that is good but very narrow scope of real enjoyment that way, possibily I am biased anyway… keep sharing your travel experiences, it will enlighten those who yet to take that leap thanks to our busy schedule and commitments…

    1. I think such an event happened in Chennai after a long time and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I used to take public transport or whatever cheaper travel options that I can find 😉
      Glad to know that you are also taking part in such community things. Well right now I am also in Bangalore 😛 Yea, In the newspaper I can see heck load of activities everyday. Indeed travellers are more flexible and adjusting. Thank you for going through my stories and leaving such a huge feedback 😀

  2. I really enjoyed this extremely interesting story from you. It was crazy how we always thought we shouldn’t meet strangers, but somehow it can be amazing meeting strangers on the road. Please share more with us if you have Jithin 😉

    1. Yea, meeting strangers are fun. Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet 😉 Arent we strangers turned friends 😉
      I will share a few more stories when time allows 🙂

  3. You are a hell of a gypsy man !! 😀
    Couch surfing..?? hmm..I don’t know if its my cup of tea..!!
    But let me go through, and I do have your professional expertise guidance!! Right !! 😀

  4. I love your world,so many wonderful adventures and sometimes its hard to believe that there are really that nice people out there. Its nice to see all these things through your adventure. Thanks for sharing. I was also impressed by the people who had quit their jobs to travel.That’s my longing, though not sure i will experience that in this lifetime. Thumbs up on the post.

    1. Thank you so much Diana. Don’t have hard time in believing that there are good people in the world. Because there are good people in the world 😀
      Glad you enjoyed my adventures and misadventures 🙂 Quitting job and travelling is not a very easy thing to do. But maybe you can do it some time in your life. Because there is nothing impossible in this life time If you really want it 🙂
      Thanks a lot for reading and liking this post 🙂

  5. I’m happy I got out to check on my email (no internet access at my house for some days now). Your story is wonderful! I so very much enjoyed the idea of the Couch Surfing (I’m going to go and read it again when I get my internet back). It reminded me of the sciFi and comic conventions that I’ve had a chance to attend years ago!

    1. This is so encouraging 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know that you really enjoyed reading it 🙂
      Maybe you should try couch surfing at least once. 🙂

    1. Oh no, there are couch surfing in USA also like almost everywhere in the world. In fact the head quarters of this organization is in SF. And the 70 yr old woman I mentioned, is from USA 🙂
      Yes, it is fun and at times dangerous too.

  6. Waou, love the story of the 70 y.o. lady too 🙂 It amazes me that so many women do couchsurfing, but your story kinda of changed my perception. Safer and friendlier than I initially thought! Cheers to the couchsurfers 🙂

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you for reading 🙂
      Yes, there are a lot of women couch surfers out there. I hope you will become one. I am still looking forward to that beach offer. You can start your couch surfing then 😉

  7. Enjoy reading your cool travel story! Google god change how we travel. 🙂 You reminded me when my camera ran out of battery. I totally, completely Freaked out. 🙂

  8. I have really enjoyed the last couple traveling posts by you. Informative, funny, high quality. Great job.

    I also love how you roll with the synchronicity in your favor, that’s the key to a happy life. There is so much time in a day if you just relax and let things develop. And say yes to people! Meet up with actual people and have experiences. These online tools should be portals to other real human being. Anyways, well done!

    1. Thanks a lot Austin, for reading the letter and this post 🙂 And of course for your kind words.
      Aren’t we saying yes to great people here in WP and connecting with them? I am sure this is also a portal that helps us to find the lovely human beings out there, through their words and thoughts 🙂

      1. Couldn’t agree more. I have really come to enjoy my blog when it became more about connecting to real people instead of just posting content or whatever.

        I’ll get going on that story, stoked for that. I have written over 11k words over the weekend on the first draft of a novella I am trying to finish (a werewolf story!), so I am all warmed up. Also going to try to take a little more time on this piece too, since we got such a great story going. 🙂

        1. A little bit of appreciation always gets us going that extra mile 😀
          Yes, I have read the post as I am replying late and now I can say you kept the momentum of the story well. It is a nice continuation. 🙂

  9. Wow !! What an adventure and great experience 😀 I hadn’t heard anything like this before ! It’s a nice way to to make friends with like-minded people 🙂

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