Couch Story

Míša, Czech: The best way to start is simply do it. You don’t even know how but you are in

nahledI have asked Míša to talk to me because her profile at couchsurfing.com didn’t make sense to me. She introduces herself as a person who does not like people but at the same time she has hosted more than 70 people.

I have found it a bit strange. If you host people you should like them. Now, after talking to Míša in person, I understand.

Míša is a vegan and that’s why her house has some special rules. I didn’t forget to ask her about it as well.


 

How did you start with couchsurfing? 

She was travelling somewhere and she wasn’t going to stay in hotels. She was going to try couchsurfing.

It was a coincidence. I am a member of a Facebook community for sharing travelling experiences and one of the members mentioned that she was travelling somewhere and she wasn’t going to stay in hotels. She was going to try couchsurfing. I am a curious person so I started a search and found the couchsurfing website. I clicked for the first time, the second time and my profile’s created. I left the first request from a guest without reply. Second day I received 5-6 emails so I have told myself that I should do something because I cannot leave those people without reply.

How do you choose your guests? 

My home page is pretty crazy. Just to get over it and to write a good request is a great test itself. So if somebody really writes a request based on the points I ask for, they have almost 100% chance to get to me.  Guest has to reply everything I ask. Only after that I can be sure that he knows what is it like in my home. For example he knows that I have cats and that a guest cannot take anything he wants. And that I am a vegan and don’t want people to bring any food to my home.

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Not even water? 

Any guest has to respect rules and habits of the household.

Water is OK. But some people used to bring ham or cheese and used to say: “Come on, it is not for you. It is my breakfast.”  I felt uncomfortable. People don’t know what kind of food should they bring into a vegan’s household. 
For me it was easier to say: “Do not bring any food at all.”

Why do you mind it? 

Just imagine. We are having breakfast and the guest is eating a dead animal in front of my eyes in my flat. Any guest has to respect rules and habits of the household. If he doesn’t like it, he can choose somebody else. I am not forcing anybody to do anything. It’s simple – take it or leave it.

Why do you host? 

I want to help people in Prague to have a good time.

I got the same question from my boyfriend. Maybe it’s just because of my kind heart. I want to help people in Prague to have a good time. It is very simple to travel somewhere, to do sightseeing, move around. You get enough entertainment during the day – but what about evenings? Do you want to go alone somewhere if there is nobody you can spend the time with?

I have experienced it at Cyprus – I had many things to do during the day but I was alone during evenings. I found it stupid to go somewhere on my own. And it would have been great if I had had somebody local to take me somewhere just to have a beer or a drink. And that is what I like about it. People have somebody to spend time with while they are in Prague.

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In your profile you say that you don’t like people. But you take them to your home. 

It is a paradox. But it is more about my privacy. I like it. I wouldn’t host if I had to stay with my guests for 24 hours. I can’t be a guide service. I need my own space and peace but I don’t mind spending time with them in evening. I am not a person who opens up completely. I keep my boundaries and it is fine with me.

Have you changed since you started to host? 

I think I got outside my shell.

At the very beginning I rarely invited my friends to my home. I have kept my privacy. As soon as I started hosting it became normal that there is always somebody around. Today I invite people for a visit – they are not invaders  to me anymore. I think I got outside my shell.

Do you use couchsurfing as a guest as well? 

I do not feel well as a guest, I really prefer to be the host for much more. I’m not as open and spontaneous as the people who stay over in my flat. Most of them are friendly and spontaneous, I have never met anyone stiffed. They are open and love discovering.

Jarka

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