On Monday morning I left Julie in Greensboro, NC and drove 4 hours south to Charleston, SC where I delved into my first couch surfing experience. Couchsurfing.org is a website that allows people from all over the world to connect for the purpose of traveling cheaply. Members of couch surfing either offer up a couch for travelers to crash on, or crash on said couches, or do both. You can create a profile on the website and then find people with similar interests to meet and stay with. I know that it sounds dangerous and sketchy etc., however, everyone I’ve spoken to who has done it had wonderful things to say, so I figured I’d give it a try.
I looked on the website and found a woman with lots of couch surfer experience and e-mailed her. She responded and told me that she had a couch open. I had an awesome experience, I stayed with a 26-year-old woman named Tracy, who was a vegetarian, hippie, stripper, jack-of-all-trades, eccentric soul. She has lived all over, had tons of different jobs and many interests. Currently she lives in an a former slave’s quarters in down-town Charleston. In addition to letting me crash her couch for a couple of nights, she was a great tour guide in Charleston, especially of all the great restaurants and hole-in-the-all bars.
Charleston itself was extraordinary. It is a beautiful city, most of the buildings are from colonial times, but they have all been restored or maintained so the whole city is so beautiful. Many of the buildings, especially public buildings or houses of famous early Americans have been turned into museums or are historically maintained. Everyone seems to have a lot of pride in their property, all of the gardens were really well-groomed and most houses at some type of Christmas decoration. There were also plenty of art galleries and restaurants. The weather was so nice, it was 70 degrees and sunny the whole time I was there. However, it was very bizarre to me to see all the christmas decorations all over palm trees.
I went to more restaurants than I can even recall, but my favorite would have to be either Squeeze, which was a small bar that specialized in specialty cocktails, even making many of their own unique infused liquors, or Social, which had a $4 happy hour, where I had a really dry sparkling white wine from South America and a margherita pizza, both of which were excellent.
I wish that I could have spent more time in Charleston honestly. There was so much to see and so much history, it’s definitely a place I would recommend visiting.
Early yesterday morning I started my 13 hour trek to New Orleans. Thanks to a suggestion from my new couch-surfing host, I found a 22-year-old guy on Craigslist where they have a ride-share section, who needed a ride to Florida. I picked him up in Charleston in the morning and he paid me $40 to drive him from Charleston to Jacksonville, which was on the way anyways. It’s definitely a cool way to save money on gas and to meet new people on the way. This guy was a fellow traveler just like me whose been staying in Charleston and he was just trying to get home for Christmas.
I spent the entire day yesterday, 13 hours, from sun up to sun down driving to New Orleans, or actually, Gonzales, LA where a friend of mine lives. It was the longest car ride of my life so far. Despite having to fill my gas tank 3 times, the trip wasn’t all that bad, until the last couple hours when I started to run out of music to listen to and began to get really bored.