Happy 12th International Couchsurfing day! I'm celebrating today by couchsurfing with one of the founders of Hejorama, here in Paris and going on an Art Crawl with some local Couchsurfers.

  • Story Roy
  • Illustration Roy
  • Soundtrack of the report
  • Main Theme
  • Matrix

So is Couchsurfing really 12 years old? Well, that depends on you perception of time. The domain name was registered on this date 12 years ago but the beta site was only up in January 2003. was publicly released in January 2004, around the same that the domain was registered.

Why is any of this important? Because by making Couchsurfing seem 12 years old, it predates most other internet based hospitality networks, significantly its next largest "competitor" which was registered in 2000.

Am I being pedantic? Of course. Website age doesn't even matter in the Internet world (Unless you are on a dating site.). But anyway, look at Facebook, it's only a few years old. Or is it? The domain was registered in 1997. Besides, if the Catholic church is allowed to rebrand the winter solstice as the birth of Christ, what's the harm in having a couple more white lies? By the way, I just celebrated my 21st birthday this year.

More importantly, can there really be a competition for "best hospitality" network? Isn't that similar to competing for the kindest person? Or are the motivations more about profit? People need to eat after all.

Perhaps especially since there are fairly new companies entering the market like Tripping and Triptrotting, (making open-source initiative Bewelcome the only official non-profit organization in the hospex arena). Each of these networks have their own unique features, although I find it hard to pinpoint any killer features which would tempt me to switch from Couchsurfing. After all, the power of any network is not the functionality but the strength and number of it's links ie. people.

“Taking that into account, Couchsurfing is a behemoth.”

Taking that into account, Couchsurfing is a behemoth. It's a network of interesting people doing remarkable things with their lives. You may not agree with every organizational decision but you can be confident of visiting almost any country in the world and meeting awesome people there effortlessly. And that's certainly reason to celebrate. Even if you're celebrating it on the wrong day!

Are you celebrating International CouchSurfing Day? Find events here.


Roy is a perpetual traveler. He's lived in 7 countries, traveled to 40+ more and right now usually works on a cruise ship. He also likes to contradict and talk about himself in the third-person. You can follow his travels on