Hey folks, for this post, I decided to switch gears a bit. Instead of me telling firsthand experiences from my many adventures I prefer to showcase shocking two stories I’ve been told while I was traveling. And I’ll also share two relatable cases that made it on the news as a “this could’ve ended worst” scenario.
I will graphically detail harrowing, slightly frightening, funny and weird stories throughout this series, so stay tuned. This post will be a mix of things, but I know that many of you readers will dig it and find meaningful contents that too, may guide you.
Now that the intro is out of the way, vamos! (“let’s go!” in Spanish).
One of the most memorable stories I heard was from an Albanian-French solo female traveler I was hosting. She was a bit younger than me but yo! She was super energetic, open minded, funny, and fearless. I forget exactly how many days I hosted her for (maybe 3 or 4 days) but her story still resonates with me and pops up occasionally. Just a heads up, this is one of those slightly frightening stories lol.
She explained the story like this, prior to her being hosted by me, several months prior to be exact, she had found a host via CouchSurfing (“CS”), (click here to read all about the pros & click here to read 3 cons…).
Her host was a European male who lived alone. She said she didn’t see any red flags from his CS profile, by his demeanor, or anything until it was time for them to go to bed on her first day of him hosting her. The host had been out earlier in the day drinking alcohol (& possibly doing other drugs), she wasn’t with him, but she recalls smelling the alcohol smell on him. He asked her to sleep on his mattress even though he had a couch available for her to sleep on. This was the same “couch” he advertised on his CS profile. She politely said “no, I’m fine” and she started for the couch. Trigger warning! Moments after she got on to the couch and tried to go to sleep, she recalls hearing the host pacing back and forth around the couch and he was breathing hard!
She tried to act like she was sleeping but her instincts started producing adrenaline which kept her awake, alert, and on edge. She told me how she tried to process what was going on in his mind and for her to find a safe escape.
After about 10 minutes or so of him pacing back and forth near the couch she was pretending to be sleeping on, he finally went to the restroom or went to his bed and she leaped from the couch, grabbed all of her belongings and left his apartment! Lol!
I was lost in her story because it had still been so recent for her you know?
It was so chilling, but I am happy that she was smart enough to listen to her instincts and she used common sense. She doesn’t know what that host would have done to her had she stayed but as I often say, “be vigilant of your surroundings and listen to your body.”
The next story I will briefly describe next is not from someone I knew personally however, they share some similarities to my Albanian-French Surfer weird and eerie encounter. In 2016 in Brooklyn, New York there was a German woman who found a CS host by the name of Mirzo Atadzhanov (btw he recently was charged with murder for murdering someone in 2022) -__-. Mirzo accepted the German surfer’s request but later in the day or the following day attempted to rape her, luckily, she used a knife to defend herself and was successful… There are unfortunately other cases where traveler’s and tourists alike are not as cunning or brave and they tragically become victims of theft, rape, murder and kidnappings. (Click here to read ways to safeguard yourself while you’re traveling). Be careful out there- folks!
The second story comes from a Chinese surfer I met up with while I was living in Beijing, China. I had been living in China for over a year then and had wanted to meet more Chinese locals, so I used the CS meet up feature and we started chatting about traveling, food, etc. Weeks after, we agreed to meet in a public place.
The guy was a 40 something year old Chinese male who had no children, had never been married and loved traveling. He was an anomaly by Chinese standards, but to me he seemed interesting lol! We met outside of a bar where we exchanged stories about adventures and misadventures.
One of his unfortunate stories went like this. He had been aimlessly traveling throughout Vietnam and he for one reason or another never decided to lock his apartment door (idk why). After doing that for several days/ weeks he unfortunately came home one day from exploring the city and saw that all his possessions had been stolen. He didn’t know by who, he tragically didn’t speak Vietnamese and did not report the theft to the police. I don’t know if still to this day he decides to leave his door unlocked lol.
A relatable news case ironically happened in Beijing several years ago where a CS Surfer became a serial thief while he was being hosted by several Chinese hosts, he met from the CS app/ website. The sticky fingers surfer would steal his hosts most expensive items like (i.e. laptops, cameras, tablets) while his host were away, and he would leave his host’s housing without notice after he had stolen their belongings. Fortunately, though in this case, the police were notified, and the thief was arrested and charged.
And to piggyback on that I too experienced theft, twice — while surfing (click here to read about those misadventures). it happens to the best of us sometimes lol *shrug*. You live and (hopefully) you learn.
There you have it folks! Which story resonated with you the most? Have you experienced something similar?
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