Couchsurfing, Helpx and Co.
Since July I was using websites like helpx, workaway and couchsurfing a lot. When you travel with a low budget and if you really want to get to know a country, then volunteering work (www.helpx.net and www.workaway.info) and couchsurfing are a great option!
In general, I had positive experiences but occasionally there were also negative ones and in such a case I’m always wondering:
Negative review – should I write it or not?
Both parties depend on positive feedback. And for both parties it’s a problem.
Hosts don’t want to have an unreliable, lazy helper or Couchsurfer who are dirty and drunk and eat all your food out of the fridge.
Helpers don’t want to be exploited and Couchsurfer don’t like to sleep on a balcony.
You read both in a review and sleeping on the balcony actually really happened to me…doing helpx in Amsterdam. At least there was a couch on the balcony, surrounded by cannabis plants and accompanied by the musical buzzing of the highway.
For some this might sound like a dream, ‘surrounded by cannabis plants’, but after a short while I was already annoyed by the smell.
The WHOLE SITUATION was just annoying.
The days before I already hadn’t slept much because I had slept on a mattress in the living room (behind a curtain to ‘have more privacy’).
Incidentally, my host made her very own special oil out of those plants and conumed it.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against the OCASIONAL consume, my doctor would have given me a prescription for CBD oil last year if it would be legal in Germany. It actually is supposed to help with quitting smoking because it has a relaxing effect.
My host was going through a rough time and I guess she apparently used it every day. She appeared to be very slow and confused. A few times we had to drive to a property out of town and every time she asked me to drive because she wanted to write emails on our way there.
We always switched when we arrived in the village and she drove the last part and I’m still wondering that she hasn’t killed anyone yet.
Well, she nearly did kill both of us on my last evening. She took, again, some of her CBD/THC oil, had a beer for dinner and on the way back to her place she ALMOST DROVE INTO THE CRASH BARRIERS ON THE HIGHWAY.
„Shall I keep driving?“
„Yeah, that would be good, I already fell asleep twice.“
And she kept driving, didn’t want to stop at the emergency lane and asked me to keep her awake until we reach the next gas station.
Maybe you can imagine my loud and requesting voice.
So we saw the gas station, drove off the highway and she made an abrupt full stop on the exit lane..
“Oh yeah, automatic car, the break wasn’t the clutch”
Even she was fully awake for the next 5 minutes and her adrenaline rushed through our bodies.
I was so mad at her. Mad that she put us in such danger. Mad at myself that I had let her drive because I believed she was in full control of her drug consumption.
But my host was also very nice and was going through a rough time
but is that enough to write a positive review although she nearly killed us?
Even if I would write positive („she’s nice“) feedback as well as critic („be aware of driving with her when she took drugs“) she would maybe have less helpers. Well, who knows, maybe she would have even more requests because of her plants (and other ‘treats’ in the fridge) she likes to share.
I decided to not write a review.
And I’m getting a bit annoyed about myself because I have done the same with a Couchsurfing host in 2016 (interesting, that was also in Amsterdam).
My couchsurfing host had warned me in advance that he had ‘fired his cleaning lady’ and therefore his place wouldn’t be very clean. My friend and I didn’t care at first because we were planning to do sightseeing in Amsterdam. Well, we all make mistakes…
His place looked like as if he hadn’t cleaned in weeks.
Very dirty, dog hair everywhere, disgusting. We were glad to have our sleeping bags.
Our first evening was really nice. We hung out on the rooftop patio with our host and his friend. My friend and I actually wanted to go to bed early, but the two guys kept talking and talking. Especially talked about flaky business they were doing. The next day we walked around for 11 hours and in the evening we were just exhausted.
Our host was anything but pleased.
He had expected to have drinks and go partying all night with us.
You know, it’s always easy when COMPLETELY EVERYTHING GOES WRONG. But what if it’s something in between?
Yes, he had warned us about his dirty place. But it was just not a pleasant stay, due to his behavior.
When you give negative feedback you risk to get one too because your host could feel treated unfair. Then you will find yourself in a tight corner.
I haven’t found yet the “right” way, if there is such thing. Fortunately I haven’t had many negative experiences so that I’m not used to that 😉
What is your experience?
Write a negative review – yes or no?