Sarah McKenna Brown wrote her 2010 thesis on couchsurfing culture: Travel as Homemaking: The Building of Mobile Intentional Communities.
This thesis is a product of my interest in movement and social transformation. I was drawn to the practice of travel because of my desire to learn about the world and myself and to do this learning in the service of my commitment to social justice. Travel is a profound metaphor for the work of personal and social change; the journey that takes individuals and groups from one ‘place’ to another is a movement that can be physical, mental, or spiritual.
This project is an account of a journey I undertook to participate in and observe the phenomenon known as couchsurfing. The people whom I encountered while couchsurfing were engaged in processes of re-finding, expressing, and creating meanings. In my movement, I am self-reflective, processing what I observe and who I am, then reflecting it to others so that we have the opportunity to see multiple perspectives. Couchsurfers, the Rainbow Family, artists, and activists seek to imagine themselves as creative individuals, knowledge-makers, and relationship-builders. As activists, they believe in a world that will never be fully realized because it is constantly being made.
It’s an interesting read, one that reminds me that it’s the happenstance of travel that I miss most dearly.