I was always drawn to the idea of couch surfing. Getting to stay with someone local, as opposed to a hostel or hotel (or paying for a hostel or hotel), seemed like a great opportunity that had the potential of creating amazing experiences. The only thing was, though, that I had never done it yet. But then I came to Slovenia on a trip with my friend Simona for five days and that all changed.
After sending out numerous requests to people in the capital Ljubljana, I finally heard back from this guy who's name was listed as 'Marko' and whose profile picture was that of a dog. He seemed awesome, so I accepted the offer and made my way to the country. The only issue was winding a way to get to his house, as our train didn't arrive until 10:00pm and I had no idea how to use Ljubljana's public transportation. I messaged this to him, asking what would be the best way to get there, but he reassuringly replied, "Don't worry about it. I'll just pick you up at the train station." His train was right there upon our arrival, and right when we got to his house, a young, energetic dog named Viskey was right at the door waiting for us. This was just the beginning.
As it turned out, Marko was a really interesting person with unique, insightful perspectives. He explained to us how few years ago, he decided to leave a comfortable career path in a successful family business in order to make his own path in life. He came to the conclusion that he needed to make his own life, and even if he failed, at least the failure was his own and he tried. That was also when he bought his house and got his dog. But he continued, saying that it felt strange living in a large place just by himself, so he opened himself up to hosting as many guests and couch surfers as possible. We then got the experience this first hand.
Over the next five days, Marko went all out, hosting up to five people at once, giving metro cards and really helpful information to all the guests, and even providing beer and wine. He literally seemed to live by the philosophy, "My house is your house." However, the most memorable thing about the time there would have to be the events we all did together. On our third day, all five couch surfers and Marko made a group dinner, topped off with five liters of wine. There was so much that he even invited his neighbors to join in, and we spent the entire evening around the table sharing travel stories and discussing everything imaginable.
The whole experience really felt like being at home. By the end of it, we were all having meals together regularly, watched movies together at night, and even took Viskey out for walks each day. Even the day we had to go, Marko took us to a supermarket to get snacks for the trip and dropped us off at the best spot for hitchhiking. It really felt like saying goodbye to an old friend, but the whole experience filled me with a desire to do this more often, and leave the hostel scene in favor of local people's couches.
Therefore, I'll end this post by saying that if anyone is planning on going on a trip to Slovenia, stop in Ljubljana and create a couch surfing account (unless you already have one). Search for Marko and Viskey. They are both amazing people (and dog), and are better hosts than you could possibly imagine.