How Couchsurfing Gained Back My Trust

My Couchsurfing Experience in the Past

In March 2013 I wrote a blog post on my negative couchsurfing experience called “Couchsurfing or Sexsurfing? What is the Difference Nowadays?” Surprisingly, it went viral and received a lot of attention, especially from the male side. I mention here how I was offered sex in return for my free stay and how many times I was put in very awkward and embarrassing situations by my male hosts.

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A table of delicious food I cooked together with my host in Barcelona

 

My negative experience left me with very mixed feelings on couchsurfing. In fact, I stopped using my account for 2 years till last week.

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My host Bernardo (right), Margaux (co-host) and Yui (fellow traveler) during our first night out

 

Couchsurfing, I’m Back!

I was planning my trip to beautiful Barcelona and I decided to come back to couchsuring. Why? I believed, and still do, in this amazing idea of meeting adventurous people via the site who can inspire me, show me the city from a different perspective and open their home to me so I can feel welcomed in a foreign and undiscovered city.

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Exploring the streets of Barcelona with amazing people!

 

No, I did not learn my lesson and since I always come along with men, I also decided to couchsurf with a guy. This time I double-checked every single profile of my future host and made sure the references were positive! After a day of searching I came across Bernardo – a Mexican expat working and living in Barcelona.

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Strolling down the streets of Barcelona
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Exploring Barcelona with Yuxi

Bernardo turned out to be not only an amazing host, but also a very genuine person. He and his roommate, who was also hosting a lovely Japanese traveler, showed me around the city, introduced to Spanish rituals and food as well as made me feel like home every single day. Words can’t describe how close friends we all became just in a few days!

Every day was different, filled with happiness and amazing food!

My experience does not finish here tough…

My faith and trust in couchsurfing was gained back once again when I met Jesus – a person who I was going to be hosted by, but in the end I changed my mind (it seemed to me that Bernardo and I had more things in common). Although I did not end up staying at Jesus’s place, we met on a Sunday afternoon.

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Exploring Forum and Barcelona’s beach on city bikes with Jesus

 

Jesus, who also comes from Mexico, came up with a great idea of renting city bikes and cycling around the city. On the way to Forum Park and one of the most hectic beaches in Barcelona located just by the Forum building, we stopped for drinks, little chat and sightseeing. In the end, Jesus invited me for a lovely dinner at Juice Jones – known for delicious smoothies and vegan burgers.

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A lovely afternoon with Jesus!

 

This time nobody mentioned sex, there were no awkward situations when I felt uncomfortable. I really had a great time and I’m definitely back on the site!

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Lovely friends of my host and co-host. Girls rule!

 

What was your recent couchsurfing experience?

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30 Comments

  • I just read both posts. I must admit to not being very surprised by the first one sadly.
    Personally I’ve barely used Couchsurfing after signing up years ago. Two or three times I think I’ve used it, and only to meet people to find a little social interaction when I’ve been travelling alone and going to places without a big backpacker scene. And they’ve all been positive, but I was never comfortable with the idea of staying in a stranger’s house, I have to be honest and that’s probably more about my hangups than anything else but there you go.
    I suspect most of the time the guys you met were talking bullshit in the hope of, well, sex. the whole ‘well everyone’s doing it, why dont you?’ approach. which is really sad.
    On the other hand, there you go, you’ve had a bunch of positive experiences and that’s brilliant. I visited the couch surfing website recently and it seems a lot more thorough with reviews etc nowadays so I think you can find people to stay with with confidence. more checks and balances.
    Fantastic couple of articles Agness, really eye-opening. thanks for sharing.

  • I know I always get nervous when someone has a bad experience with something. There was a story in the news from airbnb not too long ago about a guy staying it Barcelona, it was terrible! I supposed your experience only proves that you can’t let one, two, or a dozen bad stories get the best of you when there are literally 1,000’s of positive ones out there! Travel safe.

  • I’m so happy you had such a good experience this time! I actually only used Couchsurfing once to stay somewhere (used couchsurfing meetings more often) and haven’t stayed on my own, so I cannot really judge it but it’s definitely a good way to experience a country/city in a different kind of way. And I think it’s completely the way you love to travel, so I’m really happy you could change your mind.

  • I have never used couchsurfing plainly because its members from where I was living when I created my account were using it as a dating site. Lol. I may not use it at all ever but I do think it’s a great option for travelers, it’s just not for me. I’m glad that your latest experience of it was a good one. :)

  • I am so glad to read that you gave Couchsurfing a second chance and that it was such an amazing experience. I haven’t couchsurfed yet, but it seems to be a great opportunity to get to know a place from a different perspective especially when guided around by locals. You have seen and done so much and your article makes me want to go back right away.

    Your article about giving couchsurfing a second chance reminds me a bit of my own experiences with Hanoi. I liked the city from the beginning, but first got ripped off during my first two and than robbed out during my second visit, so despite its beauty the city left me with an uneasy feeling. Nevertheless I always wanted to go back to the city and see more of Vietnam as well. Last November I returned, this time not alone but with my boyfriend. We had such a fantastic time in Hanoi and both fell in love with the city plus we had an amazing trip across Vietnam from North to South. I am glad that I gave Hanoi and Vietnam a second chance.

    • I’m also glad, sweetie. I’m also happy about your experience in Hanoi! Sometimes it’s good to give it a second chance.

  • I remember reading your previous post about your experience couchsurfing. I’m glad you’re back on as the concept of sharing living space with a local, is an enormously good one.

    I don’t couchsurf myself as my “bare-bones” ways of travelling are over and I prefer to get my own space in private surroundings. I also sometimes travel with a child so I would never risk his security or peace of mind, but it’s fabulous if you’re travelling on a strict budget. :)

  • Hi Agness, I was a CSer from April 2008 to Nov.2011. I am from India. My country people always used CS as a dating and a place for finding and having sex with others, especially foreigners.
    They use/used all the means for it, from manipulation to groupism, networking with similar or not even similar minded CSers(be it Indians or Foreigner CSers) to strengthen their manipulation, groupism, commit crimes from theft to ripping off, to dating to sex, to harassing(sexually or otherwise) to raping, to mixing intoxicants in other CSers food to blackmailing, to kidnapping to murdering, and what not :( Some of the foreign CS girls are still in India, working as slaves, as they are blackmailed and compeled due to various reasons to stay in India and work for their sexual criminal maniac Indian masters/organized criminal networks/groups(of both men and women), some of these girls/women you can find in Uttarakhand(Rishikesh,Haridwar), Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas, Leh, Ladakh etc. Some others(actualy many till now) have been married to organized international political criminal networks without them knowing that they are being fooled, manipulated, and their life is being destroyed forever and they will face the dire consequences for it, and/or will have to work for their criminal soulmates to become partners in their crimes(I met many such women,both Indians as well as foreigners, who have become partners in crimes for their boyfriends/husbands/friends etc) and even came in my life for helping their criminal friends/partners etc, still do. I was shocked to experience and know all this, wanted to bring out the fact in front of the people/CSers all over the world, but my CS account was removed due to these networks pressure and drama(manipulations,bullying,cooking up stories,defaming me,assasinating my character etc). I still created fake profiles every now and then, and alerted the CSers, mostly foreigner CSers as most of the Indians were/are either a part of these networks or support/supported them, or ignore such things. Whenever I posted/post on open forum/group on CS, many different person from their group attack my post and even many of them even write there itself openly that it is me, how do they know?(that’s another secret) and get my thread deleted and even my account deleted. They’re using their network still, to commit all crimes and manipulations etc, and ensuring that the fact doesn’t come out in open in front of the entire CS community. They know, I am the biggest threat for them in terms of exposing them, so they spy on me and all other CSers through sensors, cameras, fiber optics etc through which they keep a tab on every CSer as per their wish.
    Hope, you all can understand as to how grave the situation is, at least on Indian CS, if not anywhere else, although, as they have spread everywhere now, to other countries also, especially through CS, now this international network has gained more power, and have become like any other mafia.

  • Hi Agness, I was a CSer from April 2008 to Nov.2011. I am from India. My country people always used CS as a dating and a place for finding and having sex with others, especially foreigners.
    They use/used all the means for it, from manipulation to groupism, networking with similar or not even similar minded CSers(be it Indians or Foreigner CSers) to strengthen their manipulation, groupism, commit crimes from theft to ripping off, to dating to sex, to harassing(sexually or otherwise) to raping, to mixing intoxicants in other CSers food to blackmailing, to kidnapping to murdering, and what not :( Some of the foreign CS girls are still in India, working as slaves, as they are blackmailed and compeled due to various reasons to stay in India and work for their sexual criminal maniac Indian masters/organized criminal networks/groups(of both men and women), some of these girls/women you can find in Uttarakhand(Rishikesh,Haridwar), Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas, Leh, Ladakh etc. Some others(actualy many till now) have been married to organized international political criminal networks without them knowing that they are being fooled, manipulated, and their life is being destroyed forever and they will face the dire consequences for it, and/or will have to work for their criminal soulmates to become partners in their crimes(I met many such women,both Indians as well as foreigners, who have become partners in crimes for their boyfriends/husbands/friends etc) and even came in my life for helping their criminal friends/partners etc, still do. I was shocked to experience and know all this, wanted to bring out the fact in front of the people/CSers all over the world, but my CS account was removed due to these networks pressure and drama(manipulations,bullying,cooking up stories,defaming me,assasinating my character etc). I still created fake profiles every now and then, and alerted the CSers, mostly foreigner CSers as most of the Indians were/are either a part of these networks or support/supported them, or ignore such things. Whenever I posted/post on open forum/group on CS, many different person from their group attack my post and even many of them even write there itself openly that it is me, how do they know?(that’s another secret) and get my thread deleted and even my account deleted. They’re using their network still, to commit all crimes and manipulations etc, and ensuring that the fact doesn’t come out in open in front of the entire CS community. They know, I am the biggest threat for them in terms of exposing them, so they spy on me and all other CSers through sensors, cameras, fiber optics etc through which they keep a tab on every CSer as per their wish.
    Hope, you all can understand as to how grave the situation is, at least on Indian CS, if not anywhere else, although, as they have spread everywhere now, to other countries also, especially through CS, now this international network has gained more power, and have become like any other mafia.

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