Monday, November 29, 2010

getting hosted?

Back when I joined Couchsurfing there was less then a million people now its about 5 million and growing rapidly. So since its becoming so popular you know there are lot of people joining for the wrong reasons.

- There are people in it for the free couch, usually pretty easy to spot they fail at updating their profiles, don't usually bother with pictures and write really sloppy request messages. They very rarely use the CS request. And they never read your profile they probably spam every host in the city.

- Guys (or girls) looking for love. I am so wary of guys who say "female only" on their surfer preferance. Or vice versa (though a lot less common I've noticed). How can I stress COUCHSURFING IS NOT A DATING WEBSITE. And living in Darwin where there are so many guys compared to females I end up with a lot of the overflow blokes who have a hard time finding a couch because they lack the nessacary appendage.

-Scammers. Gee there is tons of those out there nowadays. Their profile basically empty with a fake picture saying they are from england and then their last login is Nigeria and their english is horrible!

-Penfriends! People who message you online to chat and be friends and they live about 10,00000 miles away. Generally from India and often have never surfer or hosted before just see the website as a way of stalking people. This is definitely not what couch-surfing is about. Myself personally I only add people I know.

I have not had a bad experiance like many of the other hosts I know. I have had a few neutral experiances but nothing bad. One girl who just sat and watched TV for the whole two days and never engaged in conversation and two girls who seemed to be more interested in the comfort and people waiting on them then my kind of couch. Both seemed to be in surfing for the wrong reasons however their profiles and messages to me didn't betray that. Still they never stole or wasted anything of mine so it definitely wasn't negative.

So how do I pick people?

Everyone always asks me and I don't really have a set way to pick people but there is a few things that will make me pick you over someone else.

-pictures. At least one where I can see your face clearly. A lot of the time I have picked people because they had an awesome artsy photo as their profile picture. Lots of interesting travel shots (with you in them) are a drawing point as well.
-personalised message. Saying my name is a starting point some people don't even do that! But reading my profile a little and commenting on some things you would be interested in is great. Mentioning snakes, awesome, cooking pretty much gets you instantly :) One couple started off with "name loves a good clean!" sure they could have been lying but commenting about cleaning is right at the bottom of my profile and means they must have read most of it!
-timing. Sometimes I have just picked people because they message me at the right time. Very rarely I have room for last minute requests especially since I have a whole family to check with. But one guy messaged me the day before a camping trip and I had one seat left so I accepted him. He turned out to be awesome and stayed with me for two weeks!
-knowing my other surfers. If one of my other surfers you met across the world and they reccomended you contact me, let me know. I have taken many "friends of friends" and always been happy. I had a french couple stay with me who were lovely and they saw me going through my surfers and I was about to deny one guy and they looked at him and realised he was someone they knew from Broome. They informed me he was really nice and that I should host him. So I didnt have the room but said yes and he ended up becoming like my brother and moving in staying for three months!
-having hosted before. No explanation nessacary.
-come to one of the CS meetings/parties I host. I had to decline this one german guy and his friends as I had no room but met him again at a party a whole lot of surfers went to. Discovered he was camping behind macdonalds and as I had the room again later offered him to come back. He and his friends returned and we had an awesome 2 months together!
-FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE Im looking for people passionate about sharing who they are with me. If you have two lines sying "i like walks on the beach" that tells me nothing and I'm less inclined to want to meet you. I don't want to host boring people I want to host passionate, different people from all over the world.
-Be from some obscure country. I've had so many french and germans (all great though) that I really want some variety. Hungary, turkey seriously message me if your from somewhere I've never hosted!!

That being said you could be all of the above and I just dont have the room. I get so many requests a day I can't host you all although I wish I could :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I had a new surfer arrive Saturday morning so I picked him up from the airport around 6:15am. His name is Simon from the UK. He had arrived at 3am but I don't usually pick people up at that time as I do like my sleep.

Anyway it was my work christmas party and he decided to come and be my date since it was free bar tab and a nice boat cruise around the harbour.

Simon enjoying a beer as we cruise away from the harbour

The sunset was spectacular

So after the cruise we had a 21st to get to and a Housewarming. by now I had been drinking since 3pm so was quite wasted. My mum picked us up and took us to the housewarming which was convieniantly behind my house so all I had to do was take the ladder over. The atmosphere was great and full of good people and then I got to drunk and passed out and never made it to the 21st....

Sunday morning mum picked up Nick my belgium surfer from the airport. He had been up for two days so passed out on the balcony. I woke him up about 10am as we were picking up baby freshwater crocodiles for my dad to see if he wanted to come. He decided to join us and the little baby crocs were so cute :) My dad utilized the boys to help move a massive fishtank.

I ended up with about a million mosquito bites from somewhere..

That was my weekend :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Couchsurfing is not a dating site

Yea but I’m single, you’re single. We are like-minded people and become instant friends. Couchsurfers are generally such open giving people you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with each surfer who passes by. Despite this philosophy I did stand by my untarnished record of never getting involved with my hosts or surfers. I never intend to become romantically interested but more often than not I found myself wishing something would happen and then right at the last second changing my mind because I knew they would leave me or I would leave them and losing a friend is hard enough.

Random piece of information here but whoever believes that there is only one person out there for you has never been a couchsurfer.

Now I should admit I did break my record one weekend and it was not premeditated it just happened. First we were out having a few drinks, dancing, enjoying life next thing you know I’m making out in the back of my sisters car! Two days later he was gone and I was back to my old self. I’m not exactly sure what made this guy different from the rest, I was taking a long time to get over my ex boyfriend and had just enough drinks in me to lower my inhibitions but not passing out somewhere which seems to be a bit of a common occurrence with me. Not a one night stand kind of girl this fling had just enough emotion it was like hooking up with an old friend. I still talk to him and feel no animosity towards him or myself like a couple of my other flings have caused. I am happy, it stopped me thinking about my ex as much and made me realise I am still open to feeling something for another person. I hope we will remain friends forever because he really was someone special to me. Sure you wonder sometimes what would happen if you were both in the same country but for now I am just happy to have met and shared that time with him.
Speaking of hooking up with surfers my little sister did the same thing but theirs was a lot more serious. I’m pretty sure they are planning to go away to another country and work & live together he even flew back to Darwin to see her before he went home to Germany. Now if I do hook up with someone from another country and fall madly in love (although with my track record that’s unlikely) I need to pick a country where I will appreciate dual-citizenship. Europe? Africa? China?

On a different note, I took three of my surfers out to a party at my friends place. By the time they arrived I was 12 coopers, 3 cocktails and a shot of absinthe in. Its pretty blurry but Dan, my Kiwi surfer at some point rescued me from drowning in the swimming pool. I still stand by the fact I was fine and wouldn’t have drowned ;) Still, I appreciate it. The rescue left me a couple of bruises on my ribs heh. They seemed to enjoy themselves even though I was passed out by 9pm. I did wake back up at 1am and party till 4 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Might need to scrub myself clean

So I left my first "neutral" couchsurfing referance and it does feel a little unclean. I don't like to leave bad referances but sometimes it has to be done. A girl asked to stay with me saying she was arriving on the 9th. She never called or showed up and then contacted me on the 11th to say she had stayed with Richard instead. She then told me she had no internet access to let me know.

This bugs me, people think I am stupid or something because I'm pretty much the master at working people and things out - I think in my past life I was Sherlock Holmes (we will ignore the fact he is fictional like we ignore the fact Elvis is still alive!)

Anyway she obviously knew she was staying with Richard while she had internet access as she would have had to get his details and she could have let me know then. I also noticed she stayed with Richard two days before contacting me I know Richard offers internet access to his guests. I just found it disrespectful and I had turned down several surfers to host her. I think the neutral referance will let her know its not on. I find there is a huge problem with surfers nowadays not realising that hosts give up thier homes & time for you and you should respect that. I don't think she is a bad person and I hope that she will learn from this and not do it again.

In other news after scraping around for the last four months borrowing cars I am finally the owner of a 2009 Mazda 3 Neo Sport. Its got just under 9,000km and basically awesome condition. It will be so weird to be mobile again and such a sense of freedom. I will really be able to look after my surfers! So I am just waiting on the loan to be finalized and then I can get the keys in my hot little hands.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bluewater Fishing

I'm already sick of writing about this and that in great detail and I want to get this journal back on the track of my travels, which we all know I'm not traveling right now but I am couchsurfing, or hosting as it is which is another form of traveling I seem to have a constant stream of Europeans through the door.

Anyway we have a bunch of random nights & days with a bunch of colourful characters that I might as well write about that.

Glenn is actually a local host in Darwin and he contacted me last week to see if I wanted to join in on a fishing trip. Hell yea I thought I'm not a very good fisherman but I do enjoy hanging out on boats, drinking beer and pretending to fish. I had a small task of getting out of work Saturday but the show was canceled anyway, fate I guess.

The weekend started with Friday night driving out to his friends island just off Dundee Beach. It was about an hour and half on the boat and the drinks were flowing. We stopped to wait for his mate and they threw some lures in the water pulling up one little golden snapper. There was a beautiful sunset on our way there.

The island was awesome they used to run charters off it so it had little dorm rooms all set up. I was pretty drunk & stoned and passed out quite early around 11pm. I woke up two hours later and couldnt find the door to the room which was literally right next to my bed and stumbled around looking for the toilet.. Needless to say I found my torch and eventually escaped!

Day 2 was an early 6am start and a lot of fishing. I managed to catch some good fish including the biggest coral trout! I also caught the only dewey of the whole weekend. Of course at the end I really wanted to gut my trout and the boys let me, they tried to give me gloves but I was certain that I was going to do it like they did.. silly me because I cut all my hands up with all the spikes. And I did three fish to their 30...

That night I was drunk (surprise) and went to the toilet but got lost on the way out which is virtually impossible.. I ended up walking around barefooted on the island in the middle of the night and ended up on the airstrip about a km away...
Lucky I didn't step on any brown snakes or anything!!

Next day wasn't the greatest day for me but they all caught some huge snapper and we got in around 5pm for weighing. All in all it was a really good weekend. Glenn was super nice & patient with my lack of fishing skill. His friends were nice however I wasn't to sure what to talk about since I am an uber geek obsessed with traveling and snowboarding and they had never even left Darwin, were 10 years older then me and to be honest im not really sure what they did but I found I was lacking in conversation because anything I wanted to talk about, my interests and stuff sounded like bragging... yet I couldn't seem to get their interests out of them!! Glenn I didn't really get much one on one with so I will have to have a drink with him another time and actually talk about things I felt uncomfortable about talking about in front of his friends.. travel, couchsurfing etc.

Anyway just another day in the territory!