25 January 2016

The Loss of Couchsurfing

I realized recently that I haven't hosted a guest in Couchsurfing for a while. At the same time, I haven't really used Couchsurfing recently, even during my recent travels to the Balkans. I don't know, maybe I used to be more enthusiastic about this idea before, and now my interest in it is slowly fading.

Don't get me wrong, I have met a few very interesting and amazing people through Couchsurfing. In fact some of these people I still keep in touch now on a regular basis. However, for the most part, I guess I don't have a desire to open up my life to strangers recently, and prefer to spend it in a private way. I guess it also echoes what I have said earlier about this blog, how it used to be very open and now I am slowly restricting it to a limited type of information.

I realize that there are several factors why I am losing my interest in Couchsurfing. First, I was interested in it before because a couple of years ago I was still building my social circle here in Berlin, and so Couchsurfing was a way to meet people, such as travelers who were interested in discovering Berlin. Now I guess I have a set of people who I discover Berlin now, and therefore the need to meet new people to do the same thing is not as high as before. Plus, I have also discovered Berlin quite a bit, and chances are I have already seen what the visitors to Berlin want to see. I have nothing against discovering things again, but I would rather do that with friends than with strangers.

Second, I think it has something to do with age. I definitely am not in my twenties anymore. I can feel that. I see people flying to Berlin (say from a big airport like Frankfurt) and I tell myself how young these people are. I am already in my thirties and I think I would like to focus on other things. Some people in their thirties focus on bigger things, like building a family, or settling down, and while I don't want to build a family, I definitely would like to have a career that would allow me to settle down and plant some roots eventually. Some of my friends deal with issues like sick parents, stress at work, and so on. I feel like these issues are totally different from the issues that young people using Couchsurfing are dealing with.

So yeah, I have become picky. I still browse the website every now and then checking out who is visiting town, and if there is a profile I think would match my interest, I send them an invitation. But for the most part, most visitors to Berlin are young people who are mainly interested in partying, and unfortunately that isn't what I am interested in.

I won't even touch on the issues that Couchsurfing the company has been facing. That does bother me, the fact that they are becoming too commercialized, but I won't sing the tune of old-timer Couchsurfers who say that the original Couchsurfing spirit has been lost. I am not an idealist. I am a member of Couchsurfing for purely selfish reasons, because before I saw the value of meeting interesting people and inviting them to my home, as well as staying in interesting people's homes when I travel. But now I have this idea that this value has long been depreciated.

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