So… I couchsurfed for the first time this week and unfortunately it wasn’t the best experience. The guy tried to hook up with me, I felt really uncomfortable and had to leave 2 days earlier than I planned.
I almost feel embarrassed to write this post. I didn’t want to write it because I feel anyone who reads it will be thinking “what did you expect?” but I want other girls who may be thinking of Couchsurfing to be aware. And I’m not going to let this experience put me off- I know there are many people on Couchsurfing who are kind and genuine. I refuse to stop trusting everyone just because of a few shitty people.
I came across this guy’s profile and it stood out to me because he ran a learning centre from his home. I love kids and teaching so I thought it would be a great experience. He had more reviews than the women I was considering asking to stay with so I thought this was the safer option. I checked all of his reviews and made sure the profiles of the reviewers were legit. They were mostly from European females travelling alone but they had all said he was friendly and a great host. I don’t know if he tried it on with any of them too but none of them had mentioned it. He quickly accepted my request to stay for 3 nights.
After waiting for 2 hours he finally arrived to pick me up (on foot) at a hostel. He was pretty normal other than the fact he spoke so highly about himself. Nothing wrong with a bit of self love but I lost count of how many times he ended a sentence with “that’s why I’m so amazing/talented” or “that’s why everyone loves me”. Cringe. As he listed his skills to me, I almost felt like I was on a prank show. He told me he was the best at pretty much anything you can think of. Dancing, producing music, playing music, football, teaching…you name it.
He took me to his mum’s house which I didn’t realise until the next day is NOT where all of the other Couchsurfers had stayed. His brother was living at the other side of the house with his wife and 3 kids. He opened the gate for us, said “evening” without making eye contact, then walked away. The brother’s wife saw me and gave me the dirtiest look I have ever seen in my life. Good start. We walked to the market to get some vegetables for dinner and I found out this guy was also the best cook in Kingston- who knew? There were goats running around everywhere, causing riots at the food stalls and I got stared at even more than usual. We got back and he cooked me the Jamaican fruit ackee (looks like mini brains, tastes like nothing) with some other stuff. He also gave me something he called “ghetto juice” which was sugar mixed with water. It was gross so I took one sip and left the rest.
Pretty normal(ish) so far. He told me he had to go away to pick up some other couchsurfers and I would get to meet them in about 1 hour. This was at 7pm. By midnight he still wasn’t back so I went to sleep on the dirty bed, using my bag as a pillow. At 2am he came in and woke me up to tell me he was back. Great, thanks. The other couchsurfers were nowhere to be seen and he told me he’d taken them to stay at his workplace downtown (which is where I was meant to be staying too).
Then he suddenly starts declaring his undying love for me. He wants to marry me and move to Scotland and was going to miss me so much when I’m gone. Yup. I told him he didn’t even know me and I didn’t come for that, I just wanted us to be friends. And I wanted to sleep. No problem he says. Cue the 967 attempts at trying to kiss/touch me and me telling him no. Each time he would say “Ok I understand”, then try it again a minute later. He said he had never been with a white girl before and that was his dream. I was getting so pissed off so I gave him a huge lecture about Couchsurfing not being for hook-ups. If he wanted that he should’ve used a dating site. I told him I came to stay so I could feel safe in a place where I didn’t know anyone but now I felt more unsafe than ever. He immediately started apologising and didn’t try anything again. He said “usually women say no but they actually mean yes and I thought that’s what you were doing“. I can’t even tell you how much that infuriated me but I could see he genuinely believed that. I was still too scared to sleep but I couldn’t leave in the middle of the night in such a dangerous place. I was completely reliant on him and had to act like everything was fine otherwise I’d be lost in the middle of nowhere.
The next morning after about 30 mins of sleep I packed up my stuff to go. I couldn’t shower as the house had no running water so I felt pretty gross. I told him I was going back to the hostel to see my friend before he left. My friend wasn’t even there anymore but I didn’t want him to try to convince me not to leave his place. He said he would take me there but first took me downtown to meet the other couchsurfers at his workplace. I saw there was plenty of space for me there so he had obviously taken me to his parents’ place so we were alone together. Creepy. On the way there a man asked if Couchsurfing guy was my boyfriend and I mistakenly said no- he decided he liked me and I sat for about 5 minutes telling him I wasn’t interested but he kept bothering me. Couchsurfing guy said to him once “don’t disrespect her she said no” and he left straight away. I wanted to punch them both. To be fair, Couchsurfing guy did keep saying he learned a lesson from me so here’s hoping (still gona report him though).
Obviously it’s Jamaica and I knew it wasn’t going to be very comfortable but here’s where I would’ve been staying if I stayed another 2 nights…
The two other couchsurfers were girls from Colombia who were about the same age as me. The first thing I did was tell them what happened the night before. One of them told me it had happened to her both times she had couchsurfed on her own but never when she was with another girl. That was so depressing to me but they weren’t even phased. They’re still there now. I ended up spending the day with them even though he was still there too because I felt safer being with other girls. When he took me to the hostel at night I had to play along with all of his invitations to go party and explore with them in the coming days. I told him I’d text him…
Luckily I’m safe and comfortable at my hostel now. There’s a big security gate with cameras so you can’t get in unless you’re staying here. I’m just glad I’m alive and well and that the outcome wasn’t much worse. Just another lesson to learn from!