Although I have experienced couchsurfing throughout Europe and SE Asia, I realized that I have zero couchhosting experiences to share on my blog. I've always wondered what are the actual thoughts that run inside an experienced couchhosts' mind. Are the experiences similar? Different? Tonight, it is Ivan's turn to express his raw thoughts and opinions derived from his very own couchhosting experience.
2) How many times have you hosted and surfed? Maybe 21 (for hosting), 9 for surfing.
3) What was the strangest couch hosting experience you've had? They asked me where was the North side because they had to sleep with their head looking to the North direction. I told them I had a compass, maybe as a joke. And, they asked me if they can use it for moving the bed. So, he moved 3 degrees of the bed to face the North direction.
4) Did you ever have a bad experience(s)? Bad? No. Not bad.
5) What is the greatest thing you have learned from couch-hosting? Well, uh, I learned a lot of things about the important things...how you look at the ways...the way you look at things...different opinions. The person who listens and thinks about the talking. So, I learned a lot of things about different ways. For example, I remember a girl, a couchsurfer, she told me, 'you never miss the person. You miss how you feel when you're with the person'..after she told me, I thought about that a lot. It's a good sentence.
6) Do you hold any expectations from a couchsurfer? I talked with many people about that, the expectations of the rules and all the people have different expectations. There are some people that meet people that are similar..even for example, I have friends that they just want to meet a nice girl. Couchsurfing is a nice way to meet nice girls but for me, expectations - I don't have expectations or rules or something. I just hope to have fun and sometimes, to have fun is to have a beer, or have dinner - or sometimes we don't spend much time together - all the people are different. There are some people you connect more with, so you do more things together. And for other people, you just meet at the night and do something together.
7) When and why did you join couchsurfing? 2006. I start to know this kind of webpage when I was living in Ireland, and a friend told me about hospitality clubs. We were trying to travel to Germany at the time, and my friend started to explain the webpage. We logged in, but I didn't use it until I came back to Spain in January 2007. Then I hosted a couple of people from the hospitality clubs and a good friend (he was also from the hospitality club as well). I hosted a couple as well - but when I tried to request a couch in Paris or somewhere else, I didn't get it. So, I was disappointed. This year, I started to looking at people's profiles in Korea - and started to know couchsurfing. Some people they think it's just a couch. After my first experience in Korea, and to know the different people, the real couchsurfing - I started to be a real couchsurfer.
8) What types of criticism have you received from friends and/or family? Like, you're crazy. My parents never say to me something, because they know how I am and I won't listen. But, my friends say I'm crazy and you're not afraid you will get things stolen?
9) When you receive negative opinions about couchhosting, what do you say in return? I say that until now, I had a really good experience. I've met really good people and enjoy doing that. Nothing is 100% safe but I try to open the door to people I, more or less, I can trust. You know how I trust people on couchsurfing? I always read the references from other people, how many references they have, see if they are vouched for. 'Vouched' means like, if you go to the bank, and if you don't have any money, you have people who 'vouch' you - there are some people that 'vouch' you which means they trust you 100%.
10) Is there anything else you want to add about your overall experiences with couchsurfing? I think that the first time who tried couchsurfing, need to know what is the real couchsurfing way. Couchsurfing is not about having a free couch, it's a place where you can meet people - they will host you or not. It's not a free couch. When you talk with other people- they think 'ah, free couch' it's not that way. It's like 10% but not everything. It's about sharing the cultures, conversations, and meeting new people.
Ivan is currently in Barcelona, Spain and plans to continue contributing positively in the couch-surfing community. And, here are some more fun photos taken from today:
The drive in Granollers, basset hounds, friendly locals at the local bar watching a soccer match between Spain and Italy, a Bocadillo sandwich, and some good laughs. In other words, a successful Wednesday in my eyes.