Borough to borough, couch to couch, this story is almost a rite of passage for any and all making the transition from small town to big city. I know, I know, it’s nothing new and you’ve heard it before. Upon my telling of the plans I had to become a sort of nomad to friends and family, I received a lot of concerned, confused, and utterly annoyed looks. “You’re not going to survive, you know that.”
Here’s the deal: you can survive, 100% cardboard-box-house prototype-free with a little bit of savings, a lot a bit of local friends, and budgeting skills that would make Susie Orman blush. But you’re doing it for all the right reasons. You’re in search of a job, you want a challenge, the city inspires you, and you’ve decided it’s a far better idea than taking up the weirdo on Craigslist offering free rent for a “submissive girl in need.”
Aside from our goals, there are a few things we couch surfers tend to have in common, from a handful of different sets of keys to multiple luggage in different places.
See if you can relate to any of these. If you have anything you’d like to add to this list, feel free.
1. The handful of different sets of keys. Some might mistake you for a janitor. Wait, that’s a stable job, right? How much do janitors make?
2. Your shoes are in Brooklyn. Your blazer is in Manhattan. You’re unsure on the exact whereabouts of your portfolio, but you’re pretty sure you left it somewhere between the Metro North and whatever subway line you picked up from Grand Central.
3. You’ve definitely Googled “Starbucks with a bathroom” or “Starbucks with an outlet” running from interview to interview.
4. The thought of a public bathroom once repulsed you, but finding one these days whether just to pee or to do a quick costume change/wiping of the excessive polution and oil off your face, is like discovering Oz.
5. You have at least three or four times this month been THAT asshole on public transportation lugging over-sized luggage that not even the conductor wants to help you with. And that family of four that should have the right of way with those four seats all facing each other? You somehow justify that your family of four bags take precedence.
6. Your schedule isn’t exactly set, and that both excites you and terrifies you all that the same time. “Where are you staying next week?” “Oh my god, I don’t even know.”
7. The back of your heels… are ridiculous. #heelsarenotyourfriend
8. You’ve discovered that in New York, you don’t need any of those fad diets that require swanky blenders or gym memberships. Rather, you’ve come to terms with the couch surfer diet of hardly having enough money for groceries, and walking anywhere and everywhere.
9. You have at least five people at home taking bets on how long it will be before you pack up and come home.
10. You’re constantly stopped by street marketers, falling for each and every “free handout” until you find out that the bag of makeup just thrown into your hands “can be yours for just $20 as opposed to list price.”