The following is a story written by Bailey Leppek, a member based in Carbondale, CO. She is passionate about DIY crafts, backpacking, and bicycles. Bailey recently returned from taking a gap year, in which she hiked the Colorado Trail and backpacked in Patagonia.
Simbi caught me at the perfect time. I had just got back from traveling and had lots of time and no money. I had been seeking out skill shares among my friends by posting on Facebook: get computer help for a ride, give camping gear for handmade pottery, get fresh baked bread for a ride to the airport, give excel help for insurance advice. I was thrilled to discover that there was a national forum for this.
Starting out on Simbi, I had the common dilemma—what ARE my skills? My profession is a very niche market—Colorado water rights and water resources engineering. Not exactly a universally needed service.
I posted a ton of skills, hoping one of them would be popular. One day I was making thank you cards for some friends, and as an afterthought I threw a few photos on Simbi and called it a skill. I honestly thought it was a long shot that anyone would want them. I never would have guessed that it would end up being my most popular skill. Now I’m cranking the darn things out!
Through this, I’ve had an opportunity to develop this skill, learning so much along the way, and honestly impressing myself with where it has gone. It forces me to make art and creativity a priority in my busy life. I have made more time for art in the past few months on Simbi than I had in years prior.
The most beautiful thing about Simbi to me is that it gives us that opportunity to develop, practice, and be appreciated for the skills we don’t get to use in our day jobs. The skills that bring us joy and make us who we are.
Simbi brings us the amazing power of the barter economy. For me Simbi has actually become less about saving money on things I would have done anyway. Simbi is about opening up a whole new world of services and goods that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to receive. I would have no idea where I would pay to get a Reiki healing. I have no idea if and how I could pay to have someone make a custom spell for me.
All those little things that you can’t really hire someone for. The sort of thing you’ve been putting off for years saying, “if only I had a friend who was a graphic designer, she could help me with this random little task!” or “if only I had a friend who knew how to make hemp necklaces, he could help me finally get these charms on a necklace!” or “if only I had a friend I could practice Spanish with!” Now it’s as though whatever I need, I have a friend who does that. My community feels so much larger!
Without Simbi, if I needed a service like the ones above, what am I going to do? Post a want ad on craigslist? I suppose I could, but…. golly, craigslist sort of creeps me out at times. With Simbi, you can read reviews, get to know a person, and feel like whomever you make a deal with wants to be a part of a community based on trust, sharing, and beauty. It’s the difference between sending a couch request on Couchsurfing.com and asking some random dude on the street if you can sleep on his couch.
I see Simbi as the Couchsurfing of goods and services. I see it becoming a universally accepted method of exchanging services, advice, and hand-made items, while sharing with different kinds of people from all over. It reminds me of how Couchsurfing is now an almost universally accepted method of traveling, sharing your home with travelers, and getting to know new people from different cultures. I see it growing into a way to meet like-minded people and make friends, as Couchsurfing has been for me in the past.
I am thrilled to see what else Simbi will become!
Simbiotic Stories are real anecdotes told by you and other Simbi community members. Tell us about your Simbi deals and experiences with other members. If your story is published, we’ll credit your account with 150 simbi. Submit your entries by starting a conversation with us via this link.