The Flat Sharing Community in Porto

Our last night in Portugal was in Porto. We had early on the next day our flight back to Germany. We had to get up at about 3:30, because the flight was at about 6:00. And we were at our host at about 23:00. Not much time to sleep, actually. But that’s typical when you travel a lot in several days. And our host, a young girl, a student, was not there🙂 She had to work and she was still not back at home. But that was not a problem, because she lives in a flat sharing community with two other students and three cats. So, one of her flat mates welcomed us at their home. We discovered that there is one more CS-er there, already sleeping, while the flat mate, that welcomed us, was playing video games with some friends in the same room. Lights were on. And the cats were playing around. So, forget to sleep! But the other CS-er was really sleeping. Nothing seemed to bother him. I can understand this. Couch Surfing is not about sleeping. If you calculate, that you can sleep a lot when you are doing Couch Surfing, then you are wrong. Couch Surfing is not a hotel. It is not like coming in and going to sleep. It is about meeting people … You always prefer to meet the people, to talk with them, to go out with them, to have fun with them and it is always so much fun, that you forget to sleep and don’t want to sleep. Nevertheless, after some nights of Couch Surfing you are sometimes so extremely tired that you can sleep under all possible circumstances. This was obviously the case with him.😉

We started some interesting conversations with the flat mate of our host. He was not a CS-er, but he likes it a lot and accepts all her guests with interest. He is a really nice guy and it was for us a big pleasure to speak with him. We even played a little with the cat. They were quite cute. Normally I don’t like animals when I’m doing couch surfing. It’s because I don’t like to see animals being tortured in a flat. Animals must have a lot of free space to play. The same is actually with us people. We are not made to sit down on the chair in front of a computer the whole day in some ugly buildings. We need to move, we are built to move and to run in order to be free, to feel free, to be able to move, to change and to create. To be able to experience and to live through. To be able to play with other people and with the environment. Every single human being needs to walk (or run) at least 10 km per day in order to feel and be good. In order to be able to fulfil her / his purpose and to create. This is only possible outside, while moving and interacting with other human beings and with the God’s creatures. Of course, we can stay in front of the computer as well in order to create or to interact or to experience, but it’s not the same, because the movement is not there. And the movement of our body is what stimulates our willpower. And our willpower is important for our success and happiness.

But I like animals, so I’m always happy to stay at hosts with animal. Animals are so sincere and genuine. Kids are the same. If there is something that I like most when doing couch surfing, it’s to meet families with small kids. Kids are so great and they always give you the warmest welcome and the warmest goodbye. It’s so nice that there are so many families, doing couch surfing. This is of course not the “normal” case. Normally you have mostly flat sharing communities. This way of living was almost unknown in many European countries some years ago; especially in the south; but in the past years it is becoming one of the most important ways of living. Personally I like it a lot. Not only because there is always someone to open you the door if your host is not there😉 but because it is about sharing. And it’s deeply in the spirit of couch surfing. You don’t have to be rich or to do couch surfing in order to share. If you live together with some other people, you have to share. It depends on you what you share and how much you share, but you have to share. For me sharing is nothing else, but removing your own ego. And this is highly necessary for everyone who wants to develop her-/himself every single moment.

Sharing is about giving of course. It’s giving at least a part of something. And giving makes you lighter. It throws away your burdens, which makes you happier and feeling like having wings and starting to fly. If you can share, you can give as well. If you share, you give. And normally when you give, you obtain much more than you given. When you share, you always obtain more shared than you ever thought. And flat sharing is a simple, cheap and a very resource-efficient way of living. Mostly students and young people in Europe seem to realize very well this aspect of sharing and use it much in the last years. But I see how this model of living is becoming more and more a universal, intergenerational one. There are many old people and single moms and dads who like to live in a community. It’s not only helping them, but it’s much more versatile and interesting. You can never be bored in such a flat community🙂 I like most that when I come home, there is always someone to greet you, to smile at you and say “Hi”. These are simple actions and words, but with such an amazing impact on our everyday happiness.

And there she was! Late in the evening, actually early in the morning, our host came back home. We managed to see her and to speak a little with her. But she was so tired, that she went to bed quite fast. Nevertheless, we were happy to have met this nice and sharing girl. The cats were very happy as well. They obtained not only nice words, but some food as well. And after that they were calm as well. And they went to sleep. The guests of the other guy went to sleep as well. We just prepared to go to sleep as well, to get at least two hours of sleep and the other CS-er wake up. I think he noticed that something changed in the room. It was calm and dark – the right moment to wake up😉 That was good. We talked a little and then fall asleep. 1,5 hours of sleep is not much, but it is one full sleeping cycle. Which gives you more that 2,5 hours. It is very important that we always sleep full cycles and don’t break them, like 1,5; 3; 4,5; 6; 7,5; 9 and so on hours of sleep. I don’t feel good after being waken up middle in the cycle. That’s why I don’t use alarm clocks in the morning.

And we were so happy after this great Portugal trip that we slept so well. 1,5 hours later I was feeling quite fresh. From the air we said goodbye to this beautiful country with its great people, who made this extraordinary experiences possible. We are already dreaming about our next trip. About our next hosts. And about our next guests. Because couch surfing is more about hosting that surfing. Hosting gives you more and makes you happier … but about this in the next post.