Member Since: 2004
Words of Wisdom: “Couchsurfing made me believe in a world where a stranger is just a friend who I haven’t met yet.”
Giuseppe, know by his friends as Gius, is originally from Italy but has spent much of his life traveling and living abroad. He currently resides in The Netherlands in a place called Groningen. When Gius first got started with Couchsurfing way back in 2004, he was living on the island of Tasmania. Since it takes nearly 10 hours to travel to anywhere from Tasmania, Gius wasn’t doing much traveling of his own at the time and decided to start hosting. He was pleasantly surprised to discover just how many people wanted to stay him and what a fulfilling experience it was to show newcomers some favorite pubs around Hobart and explore the natural beauty that Tasmania has to offer.
“At the beginning, I was worried that my guests would not have a good time because of lack of activities or because of too much pressure from the activities I was suggesting. In reality, it was an amazing year. The Couchsurfers and I behaved like we were old friends. It was natural to do things together; it was natural to spend time apart so that they could do their own exploration. I am still in touch with some of them after almost 15 years!”
Gius says that one of his favorite activities to do with his surfers is cooking together. After many afternoons of boiling potatoes and making homemade gnocchi with his guests, he decided to give surfing a try. He had been hosting for a year in Tasmania and it was time to try things from the other perspective.
“For the first time, I was in the hands of a host, crashing on their couch in their own home. I did not know what to expect and I was afraid we had nothing to share or talk about. Well, it was one of my best CS experiences ever. I was astonished by the kindness of my host, the time we spent together exploring the area, meeting her friends, and just chatting like old friends.”
In 2006 Gius left Tasmania for The Netherlands. Soon after arriving in Groningen, Couchsurfing began its new ambassadorship program and Gius saw it as the perfect opportunity to get to know his new hometown while hosting visitors and showing them around.
“Since I still knew little of the city, I started to co-organize events with the very active local community. There was a monthly meeting, and we started an international cooking club that went on for years and it is still active, organized by new people. In 2007, the ambassador title gave me the possibility to join the CUQ team (Common User Questions) which at that time, was the helpdesk of CS. I always tried to balance my CS activities online and in real life. In Groningen, we started a dance club, we had weekly cooking nights, BBQs, picnics, cinema nights.”
Looking back, Gius says that at the time he didn’t even realize what a great impact that Couchsurfing was already having on his life, even from the very beginning. After only a short period of involvement, Gius says that his perspective on life had already begun to change.
“CS made me believe in a world where a stranger is just a friend who I haven’t met yet.
When I say that CS changed my life, it’s because I met so many people that contributed to make me the person I am now. Every CS experience was a new tile in the mosaic of my life. I don’t know if at the end it will be a good or a bad mosaic. But I am sure that there will be a lot of colorful and happy tiles, thanks to all the incredible couchsurfers I met around the world.”