I had always planned to do some solo travel, but my first time I just kind of fell into it.
What I thought was going to be a group trip to Atlanta, Georgia resulted in me sleeping solo on a stranger's couch for 2 days, a stones-throw away from Music Midtown.
I was going on a girls' trip to Europe in August and before we left, we had discussed going to Music Midtown, a music festival in Piedmont Park located in Atlanta. I knew I wouldn't have two penny's to rub together when we returned so I went ahead and bought my ticket to the festival. Upon coming back to the U.S. a few weeks later, no one wanted to go anymore. Well, when Bruno Mars is headlining Saturday and Mumford & Sons on Sunday and the tickets are less than $200 - - you don't miss it. Not in my book. Especially when there are 20+ other bands playing throughout the day.
I have an extreme fear of missing out on the fun. It's not just FOMO. It's the fear of missing out on an opportunity to have an experience, that may or may not come around again.
In this case - being a few rows back from Bruno Mars.
So my first thought was who can I get to go? (Spoiler alert - no one wanted to go). All my main festival friends were a "no" and I was #singleAF so it's not like I had a boyfriend who I could make go with me either.
My second thought was who will I see there? It's Atlanta, not too far my current hometown of Greenville, SC. Another spoiler - I had no idea and this point and I didn't care.
So I flashed back to a few years prior when I lived with my buddy David. Some random girls came and crashed on our couch for a weekend, free of charge and they were great. Totally normal. I remember David being part of a group called "Couchsurfers". You offer your couch and in return, you can stay on other couches. Like an Airbnb for vagabonds. And since I not-so-secretly have always threatened to pack-up my life and be a drifter, I thought well, this is a great chance to try it out.
I logged onto Couchsurfing.com and in less than five minutes had a profile and requested my trip to Atlanta. A few hours later I had a message from Iman (pictured right) offering up his couch on the contingency that I was okay with another "surfer" staying named Carleigh (pictured left).
Couchsurfing allows you to check out other "surfers" with photos and recommendations. He passed my test of being "legit" and honestly I thought well if this turns out to be horrible at least it will be a great story and if not, it was at least a free place to stay. Of course, I had friends tell me the third option of becoming a story on NBC's Dateline - - but we all have our own opinions don't we? I told my mother I was off to sleep on a stranger's sofa in Atlanta, and she said, "of course you are".
Whether you thought it was weird I did it or not, you quickly learned via my Instagram that I was having the time of my life. Iman's apartment was sick. Literally right next to the music festival and Carleigh was awesome. Only 19 and had been Couchsurfing the world. I mean multiple countries, I was so impressed and beyond jealous. Iman had a melting pot of a group of friends in Atlanta, who all shared their stories of how they met. It was really cool to be in a room of 15+ people who seemed to either not know each other at all or met in the most random of ways. Had I found my people?
See you soon on a couch near you!