I wanted to write something about couchsurfing (CS to make it shorter) long time ago but I couldn’t find the right moment for it. Now it is. As per the picture, I wanted to stay one night in Bratislava and, after sending 10 (TEN) requests I received only one response that was negative.
Wouldn’t you say that CS is dead? I would and here are some more reasons.
I have joint CS recently, in December 2009, when I finally moved to a bigger place so that I could have hosted someone. Right! because the original idea of couchsurfing was this one: to HOST an unknown traveller and to get HOSTED by someone you have never met before. To me it sounded incredibly nice and I was happy to try it!
Despite living in a small city in Czech rep, Brno, not really a touristic destination, I hosted couples of travellers within the first two years, then I started to travel and I had wonderful experiences being hosted by someone (with whom I am still in touch, Laura from Brasov and Sara from Constanta, both in Romania for examples).
This was long time ago, unfortunately. As for the picture shown at the beginning of the post, it became impossible to find someone able and willing to host – unless you are a girl, I wonder why…
I have a bit of experience, 27 positive reviews (only positive!), an updated profile with all kind of information, so what is wrong with the actual CS?
Well, many things. Starting from the moment when CS became a corporation (yes, suck lovely idea is since 2011 a fu.kin corporation!), many old and committed members of the community signed out and founded another free hosting one: bewelcome
However the issues were already before, with CS becoming very popular and attracting new people that were not aware nor bonded with the CS spirit. What is a CS spirit? Easy, as the website states: ‘Travel the world, explore your city and host new friends. Couchsurfing is the world’s largest travel community.’ Travelling, hosting and get hosted by someone.
Nowadays most of the members join the community either to sleep for free or to ‘meet new people’. How? Try to search for a couch and see the amount of members that are not offering it or that joint CS only to ‘coffee and chat’.
Yes, that is the REAL problem. CS is now a social network if not even a dating platform, people would rather join the CS events, party and social activities more than travelling and using it for the original purpose.
Having fun, meeting new people is NOTHING bad, of course, but joining a travelling website ONLY to drink during the parties and socialize with foreigners it IS! This is the new trend and it will not change. I tried to search for a couch in several cities, sending dozens of request (yes, the website itself suggest to send an high number of requests…), receiving ONLY negative answers or not even them.
I don’t want to go to details about another ‘HOT’ and controversial topic, people joining CS to have sex… Most of couchsurfers know what I am talking about, the website was nicknamed ‘cocksurfer’ for some reasons.
I can tell you my HONEST experience, I had NEVER done anything, sexual related, either with a host or a guest. I might be stupid but I had respect for the original idea and I never wanted to spoil it. Once, in Poland I refused to ‘share’ a bed with the girl that was hosting me. It was not because I didn’t like her, I explained her that I considered her as a CS host and that I would have come back to her place under different ‘motivation’, if she wanted. So she did and I came back to poland few weeks after.
However I’ve heard many stories (funny or weird to say the least) from other members. Again, there is NOTHING bad in having attraction from someone unknown, so I don’t want to judge this point and people who ‘had fun’ thanks to CS, however many times it was the ONLY reason to use CS and in many cases it went too far.
Eventually I discovered that staying in a hostel is much funnier, hostels are (usually) in very good location, I can have my own freedom to do what I want, go to bed or wake up at any time I want and meet interesting people and travellers, as the first people I met with CS were
Couchsurfing is dead, long live at couchsurfing!