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So long, and thanks for the fish

Also posted in: ambassador’s public

It’s finally time to let go of all my remaining ties to volunteering in CouchSurfing, a few words about the why, if you will…

It wasn’t a bad year (1) In fact, it was a very good year. How often do you get a chance to see the world, settle down a bit in places, work for the things you believe in and meet the people you’ve been craving to meet all your life?

I’m still coming to terms with my feelings of this year, and CS more specifically. There’s a strong component of unjust treatment, and many questions which are to date not answered. I could probably write a book about all this but this will have to wait until a later date (you might want to check here in the near future though ;) (2)

There’s definitely some anger: after all, I started doing CS work after already been burned once in a volunteering setting (3) and for this reason really did not want or need a second similar experience. However, I got one. What makes me angry is not the “wasted time” itself, it’s more the fact that had I known the fundamental attitudes (4, 5) of the leadership a year ago, I would probably not have started volunteering to such an extent – my anger is more directed towards concealing these attitudes (with lack of real communication there was no way of telling what the admins were thinking) rather than having them in the first place – for at least it would have offered an opportunity for me to choose if these were the kinds of people I’d like to work with (or as it seems, for). This by now almost feels like purposeful deception to lure in willing volunteers (6).

There’s also sadness: thinking of what might have been, the possibilities for creating real difference, all in vain. And not because people, the community didn’t want it, they were ready to take CS to the next level, to decentralize (7) along with the mission crafted up after the big crash of 2006 (7, 8 ) to create a better world, one couch at a time. No, it was the attitudes of the leaders, lack of any real communication by them, lack of meaningful, respectful dialogue with the community or even volunteers who are actively striving to make things better that stopped (sometimes even reversed) (9) the momentum of the community to decentralize itself. I also feel sad that this potential of the community was never recognized by those in power and that corporate structures, top-down management and weeding out all possibility to self-organize were seen as the only way to go forward – where’s the space for diversity, more bohemian attitudes towards life and independent thinking that are very present in the spirit of this community?

But there’s (always?) a silver lining: if it wasn’t through CS, it would have probably taken me years longer to find the people I connected and hope to continue working with (some, though by means not all ;) of them here: 10,11) to create a better world, one whatever (Line of code? Guest bed? Idea? Freedom?) at a time!

I’d like to thank all the great people I have worked with and met on my 21st century version of the”Grand Tour” (11). Regardless of my issues with the leaders at the moment, I believe the rest of you are still good people and deserve far more credit and appreciation than what you’re given now.

Finally, just a fair warning from someone who cares about all of you: please keep your eyes open before jumping in the deep end with CS or if you’re there already, and don’t stop asking the questions (13) in case there’s something worrying you…

Goodbye, and happy surfing,

9. (original) (backup)

4 Responses to “So long, and thanks for the fish”

  • Anu… i think this should be posted somewhere other than ambassadorpublic… i’m sure it will get moved from BS, I don’t know if you want to post to whatever region you represented as a global amb, or perhaps even to Independent Women, but definitely this could go in Politics and Policy.

    I’m sad this has been your experience, and I believe CS has suffered a great loss with your leaving, but IF the LT doesn’t see it that way, then you are definitely right in going somewhere you are more appreciated. :) -Hugs and thanks for all the great stuff you did.


  • “Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it’s letting go.”

    “Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head”

    “True love doesn’t have a happy ending, because true love never ends. Letting go is one way of saying I love you.”

    “People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”

    Jim Morrison quotes (American Poet and Singer. Member of the American band The Doors and one of rock music’s mythic figures. 1943-1971)

    “It’s all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.”

    Mick Jagger quotes (Rock musician, songwriter, actor, producer, b.1943)

  • Anu, thank you for all your hard work. I hope you cherish the good experiences and grow from the bad experiences. Also, just remember that your work has directly or indirectly helped 300,000 people. That’s awesome :)

  • Hi Anu,

    Sorry to hear about your leaving the CS ambassadorship. Thanks for all the good work you had been doing and I am sure you will still be doing in your personal capacity as a CS member now. Do keep in touch whenever you are in my part of the world!!!


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