At age 25, Megan Husband set a personal goal to visit every continent by the time she turned 30.
The convention sales manager at Visit Milwaukee, now 33, has now been to every continent except Antarctica with trips to more than 20 countries, many of them through the convenience of couchsurfing.
As a social network connecting travelers of all types in 97,000 cities worldwide, Couchsurfing International Inc. provides an online forum for globetrotters to meet locals who will offer them a free place to stay or show them around town.
“Couchsurfing I think is really about getting to know a destination, a people and a culture that you may not have the opportunity to get to know if you’re not venturing out into the city,” Husband said.
Husband, who has couchsurfed in Morocco, Spain, Norway, Peru and New Zealand, among other destinations, considers couchsurfing a cross between Facebook and eBay. Users create a profile on www.couchsurfing.org that includes photos and information about their interests and personality and then write reviews about each person they stay with or host.
“It’s meeting locals and learning about them and their culture on a more personal level,” Husband said.
She and her husband, Mike Duschak, also host couchsurfers in their Bay View home – typically between 10 and 15 a year. Through both the couchsurfing community and her job promoting Milwaukee as a viable location for business and leisure, Mike is always learning something new about the city, she said.
“(Couchsurfing is) really an extension of what I do,” Husband said. “It’s being passionate about where you live, about all the unique things that make up your city.”