Tuesday, 6 March 2012

No more Couchsurf hosting...

I'm afraid to say that today is the first time in my 2 year couchsurfing career that my status is set to 'Not right now'.

I'm a huge fan of couchsurfing. There is too much hate in the world. The media doesn't help. Always reporting about abductions, murders and more. But not everyone is bad. And Couchsurfing.org is a fine example of humanity at its best.

Couchsurfing in its most basic form is a hospitality exchange, social networking site. It allows 'guests' (or Surfers) to search through a vast database of 'hosts' who open their home and their lives up to others.

Usually the length, terms and nature of the guests stay is arranged and mutually agreed upon before hand over the internet. Every message sent through the site is saved for security reasons.

Adam with Clayton from Vancouver, BC
The guest and host meet up at a pre-arranged meeting point and the host then welcomes the guest in to their home. No money is exchanged and the scheme tries to promote the thinking of couchsurfing not being simply a free bed, but a way to immerse ones self in to the local culture.

So it's win win on both sides. As a host I have had 5 groups of people stay. And these included a group of 3 lads, two Portuguese and one German, who had their flight at Gatwick delayed untill the next day. They sent me a couch request, I picked them up on the way home from work, they bought the beers and I drank the beers.

Kerry with Emily from Tampa, FL
Clayton stayed with us for 2 nights and enjoyed many a pint in the pub! We all drove up to Croydon to try and find a second hand motorbike so he could ride through the rest of Europe. Unfortunately it seemed registering it in a foreign persons address proved difficult!

So there's two aspects of Couchsurfing that I love. The free accommodation but also the ability to mix with the culture if you want. Most couchsurfing experiences often include a home cooked meal (even though I've always taken guests out!).

As I've only hosted I've only been able to experience the one side of the situation. I've very much enjoyed meeting all of the new, and extremely interesting people. Some of which are doing a lot of things that are similar to my own. Michael, for instance, was cycling from London to Portsmouth where he then took a ferry to Santander and cycled across Europe to visit a friend in Germany.

So now that I've hung up my Couchsurfing 'Hosting' career it's time to start the 'Surfing' career. I think my references show that I'm a trustworthy guy and so we look forward to couchsurfing for A LOT of our Vagabonding adventure.

If you want to become Couchsurfing friends with us you can find our couchsurfing page here. It's free to join, however, its not for everyone. Having trust in humanity is a big part! But give it a try.

Have you couchsurfed? Or hosted? Let us know how you got on in the comments below

3 comments:

  1. Fair warning, not all cities are as CS guest friendly as others (Madrid springs to mine). To some degree its because some cities are just ridiculously busy with guests so especially centrally located people are inundated with CS requests (my hosts in Wien were like this). But one thing you can rely on is your established network of CS friends, so you and Emily better be rolling through Berlin at some point!

    Have you established a rough route yet? I was thinking about bringing my girlfriend for a bicycle tour of the one portion I missed out on in my original tour (Calaise to Normandy).

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  2. I do see a load of requests for the central people. I don't know whether we will CS in cities though. There are plenty of cheap hostels that we would look to work in for a week or so whilst we saw the city. Hopefully rent free in exchange for work.

    ATM we are going to do a ski season in France next winter then about April time will be headed on the same Ferry as you! Santander and across to Italy I should think. Down to Sicily.

    You living in Germany permanent now? Kerry and I will be in Berlin. Not sure about Emily. She's back in Florida!

    We have CS friends in Faro, Italy and the USA so we know we are good for there. I do, however, prefer the 'pass-it-on' mentality rather than the 'pass-it-back'. If everyone thinks like that then CSing will go far. I guess as CSers thats what we do anyway. Hope your well dude.

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  3. I haven't tried couchsurfing - I don't think Mum would be happy for me to offer her sofa out to strangers when there's 5 kids in the house! lol :-P But I imagine you and Kerry are very good hosts, and it would be interesting to meet people from different countries and cultures :-) heck it would be cool to hear a different accent once in a while as well!

    xxx

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