Featured Ambassador: Celebrating 10 Years of Couchsurfing with CYBERCHI

Chris, also known by his Couchsurfing username of CYBERCHI, is a Couchsurfing Ambassador, Host, Event Organizer and much more. Today, September 10, 2017, he’s celebrating a whopping 10 years on Couchsurfing!

Chris first joined Couchsurfing in 2007, shortly after he moved to London and joined Couchsurfing for the variety of offline and online interactions that can be found on Couchsurfing.

“On moving to London, I was looking for a new community to get involved with that covered online, offline and global concepts and had the bonus of getting me involved in an instant social scene (anyone that’s landed in a new big city not knowing anyone knows this is kinda essential!). I actually unfortunately missed out on the London calling event of May 2007, which was one of the key London events to date, instead joining just before my birthday in Sept, but early enough to join at a great time in the life of CS. ”

When he first joined Couchsurfing, he started chatting in the forums and participating in a few different groups. As many of the regular London Couchsurfing hosts and event organizers were taking a break from a summer full of events and hosting, Chris began organizing regular weekly events. The weekly events became nearly nightly, and he was soon invited to become a City Ambassador. At the time, Couchsurfing was run nearly completely by volunteers, and Chris got involved in several different teams, including the Ambassador and Groups management teams and the safety team.

“The people I’d meet and interact with on a daily basis – the old ‘CS spirit’ – became addictive. It was at a time where it really was about the people and community, not the number of couches surfed or profile ‘friends’ you had, people heard about it only by word of mouth and not mass media, it had a real connection which I loved.”

As Chris got more and more involved in Couchsurfing, his social life became consumed by Couchsurfing – and he never regretted it.

“CS has given me enough stories to fill a book, from the socials such as the 3-4 day Florence invasion weekend with about 150-200 people simply as a result of saying hi online to Massimo (RIP) a few months before, to 6 months hitching around Europe and Oz staying only with surfers that I met as a result of people I’d crossed paths with (only 3 requests sent that entire time!) to memories of friendships that’ll last a lifetime.”

He remembers posting in a local discussion group, asking if anyone was willing to show him around and hang out that night, and having a whole onslaught of people show up at the bar for a spontaneous meetup. One memorable night, he arranged a Couchsurfing meetup for a surfer who had never attended a CS event before. That night, his surfer ended up meeting her future husband, a temporary London resident who attended the meetup.

“More times than I can count, I’ve been asked how did I keep up the energy or the enthusiasm for it, when you’ve hosted 20 in 2 weeks and still seem to want to host more? The simple answer is –  treat every hosting as if it’s your first. It’s the first time you’ve met them, the first time you’ve shared stories, the first time you cooked a meal or shared a drink together so just got with the flow and don’t worry.”

To other hosts, Chris recommends that you always stay true to what you want to get the most out of your Couchsurfing experience.

“At one point I remember receiving about 35 requests in one day, with my then partner who I lived with, receiving another 15-20, we said no to pretty much all of them. Never feel you have to say yes to a surfer, only say yes to those you want to, those you feel you want to spend some of your time with and think will bring interesting stories with them. I know some hosts will disagree with me and just host everyone, that’s a personal choice, mine was to be fussy, regardless of how many or how few requests I got. Just enjoy it.”

After an entire decade, Chris is still an active member of the Couchsurfing community. Chris, we’re lucky to have had you in the Couchsurfing Community for the last 10 years, and look forward to seeing what the next 10 bring!

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