Our First Time: It’s Like Hosting Old Friends – Staying with Staff

Mitch and Ellaine climbing


We’re hosting travelers, organizing events and will be out surfing around the globe.

Name: Mitch and Ellaine
Role: Product Manager
Hosting Travelers from… Wellington, New Zealand

You know how when a great, old friend comes to visit, time flies as you tell stories, share meals, and enjoy each other’s company? That’s what it felt like hosting our first Couchsurfers, Michelle and Ian.

I started working with Couchsurfing a few weeks ago, so my wife Ellaine and I decided to host some travellers coming to San Francisco. When Michelle and Ian joked that they mostly just wanted to meet our dog, Sierra, but would appreciate a place to stay after, I suspected they might be a good match.

Our Guests

“We were looking to meet and hang out with locals.”

Michelle and Ian are a young, professional married couple from Wellington, New Zealand. Not sure what to expect as first time Couchsurfers, they decided to try staying with a host for just a couple nights of their trip. Ian explained that more than saving money, the biggest reason he and Michelle wanted to Couchsurf was to have a more authentic travel experience by staying with locals.

The four of us in Dolores Park
The four of us in Dolores Park

Our First Time Too

As equally naive first-time hosts, Ellaine and I were a bit nervous and unsure of what to expect of the experience. Rather than being a burden at all, however, it turned out to be a delight. It was fun hearing about life in New Zealand and explaining what it’s like to live in SF. Unlike hosting long-time friends, after hanging out for dinner and a drink on our front stoop, it was easy to simply say “I need to catch up on some work.” It was clear they both appreciated hanging out and had no expectation of us entertaining them all night.

Beyond a Place to Stay

Wanting to make the most of our first time hosting, we shared a dinner out with Michelle and Ian, which was definitely worthwhile. We learned a lot about them, and got in a lot of good laughs while trying a new neighborhood ramen place.

When Ian told me he was training for a half marathon, we decided to wake up early the next morning to get in a workout. I took him on one of my favorite routes, up to a viewpoint overlooking all of San Francisco. It was a fun way to get in some exercise, and it was clear Ian was stoked to get a personal running tour of the city.

Michelle and Ian with our dog, Sierra

With a baby on the way in just a few weeks, Ellaine and I probably won’t have time to host again for a little while, but I’m already looking forward to our next time!

Have your own Couchsurfing story you’d like to share? Tell us!

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