With Airbnb becoming so popular recently, it’s easy to forget its predecessor Couch Surfing — where you stay on people’s couches for a small fee — sometimes even for free. While it sounds sketchy and like the premise of a horror movie, it’s not. And four strangers recently documented their experiences couch surfing the world in the new documentary, One Couch at a Time.
One Couch at a Time follows Alexandra Liss and three new friends across six continents and 21 countries. Each night, they stay with someone they met through couchsurfing.org until they reach their ultimate destination: Burning Man Festival. In the trailer, Liss explains that she wants to investigate sharing, and how far people will go for one another. Despite opposition from her family and friends, she sets off on her journey with a budget of $30K.
Jean-Michel Werk, the producer, points out how the documentary highlights the emerging ‘sharing’ economy, or basically that if you share something of yours it will be returned in someway in the future. In Couch Surfing speak, it’s allowing someone free room and board with the expectation that you too could spend the night for free. And it’s not a new idea, just one we’ve forgotten. Still, it doesn’t seem plausible that people would give up currency completely, so Liss and crew took to social media to find these places.
One Couch at a Time screens at the Terrace Theatre on Sun. March 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $9 and can be purchased here.