How Did You Become a CouchSurfer?
Nova Zagora, Bulgaria
I often ask our hosts how they got into CouchSurfing. Sometimes an article they read or a good friend got them into it. Some had been doing it for years on Hospitality Club. But many started up a profile because they themselves have or want to use it for travel. But our new hostess, Mariyana, had quite a different story to tell.
Her English is accomplished these days, but back when she officially joined (in April 2006) it was quite the opposite. She was searching online about plants and flowers, a new hobby of hers, when she came across a forum discussing such things. She watched and read for some time, then joined without understanding much of the registration process, occasionally contributing to existing discussions or starting new threads for new questions.
Laughing as she told us the story, she remembered how quite a bit of time had passed before she even realized that site hosting the forum wasn't just about flowers, but about hospitality exchanges! (There are thousands of message groups users participate in on the system)
As her English improved, she grew to understand the CouchSurfing site better, eventually filling out her profile and making the decision to accept guests. But she did this figuring that no one would ever contact her to stay in her little town, generally absent of tourism, in the middle of nowhere special.
She was wrong.
Less than a year after she established the account and opened her door, the (then) 27-year-old had corresponded and created relationships with people from all over the world, and hosted a total of seven people (in four separate sessions). Regardless the state of her bank account, the world was coming to her.