I’ve just spent a couple of hours reading through the Couchers forum. I’m not convinced that any couch surfing site will work long term. I invite everybody to comment on that statement as, on the contrary, I am keen to see it work.
I think that one could argue that CS was a fad that won’t stay the course any longer. The success of WWOOFing, Servas and other very successful exchange programs, is their requirement for payments to fund a strong safe system and one where all members abide by the values of that exclusive community.
Where couch surfing sites are potentially failing today is in not realising that those people travelling for free, and the people wanting cultural exchange via hosting without paying, are most likely not wanting to be restrained by rules, policies, $'s and walls of cybersecurity. We want freedom. Well, using an exchange site isn’t conducive to a free life where one can be flexible, non-committal and just get around on a few pennies.
The true way of travelling on the skimp is to not use technology and simply talk, meet and offer yourself in person as a hardworking, trusting and affable person.
I wonder now if we can just open our hearts to travellers that arrive in town by communicating our open homes via noticeboards in community hubs. It feels more real.
Hmmm… my thoughts aren’t entirely cohesive, but it seems that angst and insecurity has replaced goodwill in the organised online couch surfing communities.
Please, fire away with your thoughts. I very much look forward to a discussion around the viability of couch surfing online.