- 100% response rate
- Last login 10 days ago
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*A note for Ukrainian refugees looking for a 1-2 week host* : See further below
A quick note on navigation
COFFEE Requests go directly to the ‘things I have done / things I can share / hobbies section’.
Do not send me messages via references (Seriously).
HOSTING requests please make sure you have read my profile, keep your request *short* (!!!) and on the requested format, and ensure you have a complete profile for me to look at. (20+ References, descriptive text including hobbies, 10-15 photos)
95% straight decline if I think you haven’t at least browsed through the profile.
I have now relocated to Heidelberg
Work In Ludwigshafen during the day
After about 2000 received requests in the past 5 years in HK and Tokyo and a couple of complaints after declining including some recommendations on how to improve the profile I now out of principle do the 'empty decline' without comments or giving reasons. If you thus get an empty decline it is usually a combination of lack of photos, lack of a reasonable number of references or just short text on your profile, i.e. I do no know enough about you from reading your profile that makes me want to host you and possibly have to conclude that you could not be bothered to really spend a lot of time honing your profile. So to be clear - having a properly filled out profile is the sine qua non condition on getting hosted - or in other words - not sufficient but definitely necessary!
HOW TO GET A HOST - please just write me just 2-3 sentences (!!!) with the preferred nights (max 2), which out of the 5 options A-E is the key aspect you want to stay at my place / think I would want you to stay at my place, then let your profile speak for you. If you are two people then I also need the link to the CS profile of Number 2. That is all that is necessary. So here are the five magic sentences (they by the way also work well with other hosts).
A. "XYZ whom you know / knows you well vouches for me and recommended me to stay with you" (80% 4/5 in 2000 request) - a mutual friend (by far best option) who recommended you to stay with me and would vouch for you as a good guest in a separate message to me- look me up on Facebook and see whether you are lucky to be mutually connected by a friend who would write you a support message.
B. "I like your profile, lets have a bottle of wine and see if we hit it off " (50% 2/4) Or better still "I see we matched on Bumble/OKC/… and thought I would look you now up on CS for due diligence" (1/1 in 2000 requests)- Bumble/OKCupid/ potential romantic interest evaluation (straight option only) - regardless of outcome you are still staying in the guest room, conversation plus optional snog not invitation for ONS. Basically CS/Hosting etiquette is loosely that female/ courteous guest can initiate without putting the male/host into an awkward position, whereas the opposite usually doesn't work/is not cool.
C. "I also went to Oxford/Cambridge and we even studied the same thing" (30% - 3 / 8-10 ) - you are from my alma mater (Oxford (Cambridge also Ok) and we also share a mutual academic interest you want to talk about (see below).
D. "I also row/am a hobby ancient historian / am a social psychologist or sociologist…" (10-40% depending on how much I have hosted that month, am at the moment into this hobby) mutual hobby of mine you want to explore (see below)
E. "I can cook Aloo Ghobi, Tiramisu, program Python or can do Thai Massage and would be happy to teach you " - (5-20% depending) : Skills Barter model: Hobby / Recipe / Capability of yours you wish to share with me. This does not include cleaning and cooking as a service / working holiday model. No bonus points with me for that unless you are Marie Kondo or a Michelin Chef.
F. I had a look at your website, did the survey and have the following comments and would love to discuss these theories from a psychological / sociological perspective ...
NEWBIES: If you are a newbie read the full page here (I put a long description into the section Roommate Situation) and you get a lot of hints how to tweak your profile. Also maybe meet you at the Heidelberg or Mannheim CS Meetup, then feel free to ask me for a bed there and then again. Also after now three similar events, doing a last minute cancellation on a host or not even showing up as a newbie is rude, as your host will have reserved his time for you. Behaviour like this is a key cause in experienced hosts not accepting newbies and you keep aggravating this behavior for everyone else!
In Tokyo and Hong Kong I used to get about 40 requests per month (100 in prime season) and aimed to host about one or two singles/couples/friends travelling together. I look primarily at the profile, read it thoroughly ( I will spend much more time on your profile than your message, I do want to know who I host in case I decide to), and then hit the accept or decline button, as I see fit. Usually after reading a profile I just know whether I want to host you or not basically going by a good gut feeling developed in having hosted about 100 times now. Thus don't spend a lot of time on writing a long message, just which two days you wish to be hosted and why you want to meet me (as opposed to go to a hostel or another host) - please select and mark one of the options given above - really no need to write more than 2-3 sentences:
I also try to maintain the days when I am hosting and when I am not, but if I am busy I am busy and will just write that. I am tired of people writing an essay and then get annoyed if all they are getting is a `decline/ I am busy that day/empty decline'.
In combination with a good profile (see room mate situation, though 20+ references, 15 photos and a long description of your hobbies and travels is a good start and vice versa lack thereof is not a good start, I.e. no references no hosting offer at least from me) , this will give the activity of a conversation with you a good chance of being considered as a great alternative to me meeting friends, drinking with colleagues, going to the movies, reading a book or playing a computer game, which would be my normal evening / morning pastime in HK. And for most people - this is in some form or another the decision matrix when deciding on whether to host you or not.
Please note I host for two nights at a time, extensions are offered spontaneously, but not on request and not before. Requesting for more than two nights means you either have not read the profile or have a good reason to believe I would want to host you for more nights.
A note for hosting Ukrainian refugees
My place is only suitable for a first stop for maybe two weeks max. It is rather small, others have better places. However if rather than going to a public housing or a family you rather stay with me, please just contact me, I am genuinely happy to help, can put some food on the table, and have a safe space where you can just relax for a few days, listen to music, read, and just "arrive". I would empty my working room and put one or two matraces on the floor. My apartment is not really suitable for registration.
I am a good host as a Couchsurfing host, but may not be the best as a refugee / family host. I have been hosted a few times by couchhosts when I was backpacking in Odessa and Kyiv in 2010/2011, and am very happy to return the favour.
However if we really get along well and genuinely click, all bets are off. I have had old friends stay for several months in my apartment, and when I was in Tokyo a couple of couchsurfers stayed also several weeks. But for that we need to get on really well so no guarantees.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I love meeting people and getting to know them in a short time while they are here. I have had phenomenal conversations, funny, deep, and in two cases almost turning into romance were it not for the rigid travel plan of the guest. But the latter is the exception - however the case of making a friendlike acquaintance to look forward to meeting again on a different occasion is something to be aspired to.
I like interesting discussions (psychology, philosophy, ancient history, travelling experiences) and hearty people (infectious laughs, spontaneity, ‘banter’, british comedy – after staying a year in Brazil I came to love the south American positive view on enjoying life (epitomized for me in the small cities carnival and the book a caricia essencial from Shinyashiki) ). I also like Whisky and wine, specialty coffee and honey, and if you these happen to be your hobby as well, we can sample a bit. I make an excellent hot chocolate and can even give an open ear if the traveller blues happen to hit while at my place.
I take hosting ethics extremely serious, so obviously unwanted advances are a complete no-go, and indeed Couchsurfing truly should not be considered a dating platform as some female guests of mine have told me a lot of male counterparts have apparently started treating it as, but two past couch surfers pointed out two very thoughtworthy observations:
1. A bit of frolicking and a few snogs (B.E. for kissing) can be excellent pastime after a few glasses of wine watching the skyline, if the other person is likewise inclined and both are single
2. there are not many funny, intelligent and well-travelled people in the world to go around, and CS definitely has a much higher percentage of them than the average pub population, and if one ended up talking all night on life, the universe and everything, and then the other party also knows the one and only answer, life is too short to just put on the professional mask and bid a polite farewell.
3. The mechanics are also straightforward - the lady has the onus of initiating as the host (usually guy) is restrained by the duty not to put the guest in an uncomfortable position.
I have couchsurfed in Eastern Europe and South America, but now being more stable in Asia, I have now the world coming to me.
Ancient history, mathematics, travelling, cultures, languages (both modern and ancient), psychology and philosophy (ancient greek philosophy, Existentialist, Yalom, Fromm, ...), getting to grips with my Nikon D7100 and lenses, learning about coffee, cooking (I have a Thermomix and love it)
- massage therapy
- video games
- craft beer
- ancient history
- big data
- ancient cultures
Music, Movies, and Books
Books: Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, To Have or To Be, The Art of Loving (Fromm), travel books, Financial theory and corporate policy, Hull Derivatives, ...
Movies: Many, quite a cinemaniac. But I suppose the Fools rush in, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Star Wars, Star Trek, Keeping the Faith, Mary Poppins, My fair lady, Tatort, Loriot, many others
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
2 months volunteering as maths teacher in Nepal
6 months spent in Sao Paulo including visit to Iguacu
Camel Trip in Rajasthan and general backpacking in India
1 month travelling the Silk Road (Urumqi/ Turfan / Dunhuang / Lanzhou / Xi An / Guilin / Chengdu).
Teach, Learn, Share
Studied Mathematics at University and thus should be able to explain a few things. Loved reading philosophy and psychology books in the last years.
What I Can Share with Hosts
Rowing ergometer if you need to burn some calories
Pavoni Espresso and Bialetti Mokka
A reasonably sized philosophy and psychology library
Whisky, Wine and craft beer to supplement conversations.
Countries I’ve Visited
Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States
Countries I’ve Lived In
Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, United Kingdom