Sunday, December 1, 2013

My First Not-So-Couchsurfing Experience

A global community of 7 million people in more than 100,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.
With Couchsurfing, you can stay with locals in every country on earth. Travel like a local, stay in someone’s home and experience the world in a way money can’t buy.

I first heard of this website while researching an itinerary for the South Korea trip. I came across the blog Chronicles of Marianne and I've read about the author's couchsurfing experience in Korea. I thought it was interesting to get free accommodation whilst getting to experience a place on a local's perspective, safely away from the tourist traps.

I immediately signed up and was surprised with how massive the Couchsurfing community is in the Philippines. It turned me off a bit though because most of the meet ups in Manila are in a bar on a Thursday. Being that geeky introverted person that I am, I knew for a fact that it is not my kind of crowd.

But still, I imagined myself couchsurfing in Korea even though at the back of my head I knew it wasn't feasible because there were five of us that were flying to South Korea and I know how noisy we could get which might be too much for the host (the person/local that is offering their couch/place). 

And so I settled for the next best thing, I arranged a meet up in Seoul since I noticed that quite a few Couchsurfers from other countries are coming to Seoul the same dates as my stay. I posted a meet up invite in the Seoul group and quite a few people responded. A girl from USA that is staying in Japan, a girl from Indonesia, a guy from the Philippines, a girl from Seoul, and another guy from the US.

We were suppose to have dinner at a certain South African restaurant in Itaewon that the girl from Japan suggested but minutes before the meet up, everyone stopped responding to me. Well everyone except for the guy from Philadelphia, USA. He is already in Itaewon with his friend and I am also coming with my friend so I thought it wouldn't hurt to push through with the mini gathering. 

That is until we entered the South African restaurant and was zapped inside a different world. Well not really, the place is like a typical bar that I see in American movies. The type with tall chairs and tables, dark lighting, and with a lot of white people that are talking over each other. It was too much for an overly emotional little Asian girl to take. I could not breathe and my friend felt the same so we opted to get as far away as possible from that place.

Cut the long story short, I stood them up.

A couple of months later, I decided to test my social skills yet again through Couchsurfing. A Couchsurfer from Singapore was staying in Alabang for a few days and he invited the people from the group CS South of Manila for a meet up. I was one of those who actively responded and the date was set.

I am the one who suggested the date and the place and so I could not chicken out this time. And I did not..

CS South of Manila

I enjoyed myself a lot in listening to the travel stories of the people I met. Although I wasn't contributing too much to the conversation which made me feel a bit bad and uncomfortable, I tried to ask questions. I think I am good at getting a person started in telling their story, it's just that I am not good at telling mine. I am not used to speaking over someone and having the attention of a group to myself.

I think most Couchsurfers are extroverts. People who are outgoing and loves mingling with other human beings. People that uses up an introvert's energy. Yes, my energy was indeed drained that night but I did have a good time. I learned a lot about different perspectives of traveling. I learned how I am still a noob when it comes to globetrotting. I learned that I need to learn more on the different countries' culture and geographic location. I learned that there is still a lot of the world that I need to see.

I'd probably think twice in joining another Couchsurfing meetup. Maybe next time when I already have more courage and more stories to tell. :)


  1. Hey, didn't know I was the one who influenced you to join CS pala!
    Actually parehas tayo, usually pag nasa meetups din ako or I am with tons of CSers tahimik lang din ako and lagi lang din ako nagtatanong, I think because I'm not that as well traveled as they are, usually sobrang extroverts din nila sobrang party lagi! haha Pero like you've said it's fun that we can also learn about their stories and "absorb" their energy. Though meron din ako nameet na hosts na mas introvert pa sakin, though usually hindi sila pumupunta sa meetups, nagho host lang :)

    1. Mariane!!! Hello Idol! :) yes, lahat ng CSers (pati ikaw) nakakainspire na magexplore pa ng madaming madaming. :) Hope to see you soon dahil parang pareho tayo ng spectrum sa pakikisalamuha sa mga tao!! :) Travel On. :)

  2. Hi there!

    I am surpirsed to see a photo of me in your blog! How have you been since the meet up? Actually, I am searching for CSers in La Union and your blog was the 1st of the many results, so I checked it up. And there it is, my pic with you and there rest of CSers who showed up that night. Glad to know you had fun! :)

    PS: I'm on the left in white :)

    1. Yay! Hello!! Glad to find you again, I can still remember your stories about India and Italy. Right? :) Thanks for that awesome meet up and thanks inspiring me to travel more. :)