Couchsurfing can be a really beautiful travel experience – and most of the times it is. But I also had some crazy, scary and weird times sleeping on a stranger’s couch – get ready for my weirdest experiences with CS!
➡ Learn more about the beautiful side of Couchsurfing in Sleeping on a Stranger’s Couch Vol. 1.
Paris, France – The Party DJ
Paris, the City of Love. One would think that all the people who live here have the same attitude, but no. I and my friend thought we hit the jackpot because the flat of our host was next to the Eifel Tower – a hotel in this area would be unaffordable. Our host was an artist, a DJ to be specific. “How cool!” – was the first reaction, and after the first 2 nights out with him, we were really happy, because he knew the best nightlife spots in the whole of Paris. But the third night didn’t go so perfectly. We had an early flight to catch and told him we need to sleep early, and he apparently was ok with that. We got cosy on the couch and started to drift away, as suddenly the door rang and a group of shouting, laughing people entered – looked like he had invited his party friends, how considerate of him. We were sleeping in the living room, and there was no other place for them to hang out. So they literally sat around us, opening their beer cans, smoking cigarettes and putting on some French rap music. We were close to going crazy, as one girl sat down on the couch next to my head and started to bombard me with questions and stories. It should be noted here that I had my eyes closed – should be a clear statement shouldn’t it? I can say with certainty that this was one of the worst sleep (or better laying on a couch with eyes closed) I ever had.
Cork, Ireland – The Crazy Collector
Once upon a time, there was an Irish guy who was really crazy, crazy about food. The funny thing was, he didn’t really love to eat it, he just loved to buy food, and a lot of it. His kitchen was stacked with all kinds of sweets, pastries, cans and drinks. I have never seen a fridge this big in my life. And yes, he lived alone, so there is no way how he could eat all of this. Good thing was, we were allowed to serve ourselves. But the guy also had another strange tick. He had to touch something all the time. Sure this is a medical condition, but as a couchsurfer it has a huge potential to make you feel really uncomfortable. Sometimes he just randomly touched my back or even worse, himself. He even suggested to join us in his big bed, because it’s cosier…. enough reason to leave Cork earlier than planned.
London, UK – The unexpected pervert
Actually, this story makes me laugh now. But at the moment, I was terrified. This was the worst Couchsurfing experience I ever had. Our host was really friendly at first, showing us his flat and even taking us around the city. The first thing that made me suspicious was that there didn’t seem to be a couch, only his bedroom and one bed in the living room, where apparently his roommate slept. Well, night came around and we got ready for bed. We entered the bedroom and there he was – a naked guy in the middle of the bed. Our shocked faces spoke for themselves. He patted either side of him and said: “Come join me, there’s space for everyone.”
One thing we had to make very clear at this moment was that we are doing couch surfing, not bed surfing! Full of panic we went into the bathroom and held a crisis meeting. The problem was we couldn’t go anywhere else this night, as it was super late, we didn’t know anyone in the city and the next hotel was far away. So we decided to make a deal: clothes on and no touching! So we slept in the bed, all three of us. I was basically glued to my friend. In the middle of the night, he suddenly went outside, because his roommate came home. That was the moment when we really started to panic – what if they are serial killers that want to kill us? Okay, seems a little bit over the top but just imagine yourself in that situation! Out of desperation I took my hair spray (the next best pepper spray) and held onto it the whole tight, ready to defend us. Luckily, nothing happened in the end, but needless to say that as soon as the first rays of light appeared, we packed our stuff and were gone forever.
As you can see, you can be unlucky with CS as well. But looking back at those experiences now, they taught me some precious things about this world.
Apart from the weirdness of our hosts, one needs to see the good things. All of them offered their house, food and trust to us, which needs to be appreciated. Ask yourself this question:
Would you open your house to a stranger?
The confidence and openness to people from other cultures and countries is something we all should cultivate more.
Life is not as you want it to be, life just IS.
There will be many situations in your life that you didn’t expect or imagines to be very different – and the only way to not go crazy is to accept every moment as it is. Sounds easy, but in reality, it costs most of us a lot of work. If we stay in our heads, we will always try to change life in order to be happy, but if we live from our heart and learn to accept, everything will flow naturally.
Not only with CS, but actually in every situation of our lives we have to learn to follow our intuition. I am a person that trusts a lot in people, but the truth is not everyone is trustworthy. How do you know if someone wants to really help you or just take advantage of your good heart? Start to listen to your inner voice. Deep inside you know which person wants to do you good and which doesn’t. It is really that easy:
We need to learn to calm down all the noise in our heads and what will remain is the silent whisper of the universe.
Thank you for appreciating my art!