July 28, 2012

How to Make Friends in New Places

One of the disadvantages of traveling is not being able to bring your friend circle with you. Friday and Saturday nights can be a bit lonely sometimes when its just the two of us walking around a new city. We see big groups of friends walk by and remember what it was like to be the ones part of a big group heading out to dinner and drinks, looking to cause some trouble.

The other Friday we were poking around trying to decide what to do when I remembered seeing a link on the Couch Surfing website that I had meant to check out before. If you're a member, you will find the following links in the banner at the top: Surf, Host, Activities and Groups. I clicked on Activities, typed in Portland, and found a whole selection of events posted by local Couch Surfing members. One of the activities was an open invitation to a birthday party at a pizzeria in Southeast Portland. I RSVP'd yes, and all of a sudden we had plans for the evening!

The birthday invite on Couchsurfing.org
We went to the birthday party, and yes, we had another great Couch Surfing experience. Megan, the host, turned out to be a very cool and funny gal of our age. The Portland Couch Surfing community is large and meets up weekly, so there were plenty of locals that also showed up for the birthday shindig, as well as several folks who were just in Portland for a visit. We met lots of very cool people, of all ages and backgrounds. We met a New Zealander that has traveled around the world, and is in Portland to compete in a tree climbing competition in August. We met a guy who makes his living by trading stocks from home. We met another guy who traveled around the US in his car for 9 months and ran 5 marathons while doing so, who now lives in Portland and is training for his first Iron Man. After beer we all went down the street to a bar for drinks, in a big group no less! It was like Insta-Friends in a Can.

Me and the birthday girl, Megan
That following Sunday we attended one of the weekly meet-ups, which happened to be the Portland Couch Surfing Annual Picnic. It was at a local park and over one hundred folks showed up. Everyone brought a unique dish, and we had plenty of wine. 

You know you're in Portland when most of the people show up on bikes 
The group
Food fiesta
Some folks brought music instruments and played in varying collections throughout the night, a frisbee or two were tossed, someone brought a HUGE bubble making contraption and we blew HUGE bubbles, and someone else brought a slack line for walking on between trees.

Music circle
Huge bubbles!
Slackline walking
I can't imagine a better way of finding new friends, acquainting yourself with a new city, or just learning something new.

Happy Meeting New Friends!


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  1. Wow... you guys have been busy and I had to catch up on your posts! Love the stories about the PDX couchsurfing crowd. We're signing up this weekend and will let you know so you can sponsor us!
    Great seeing you for drinks last Thursday. Enjoy Seattle!

    1. Yes, definitely sign up! Have a good week!