This is a map of everyone I've ever hosted on couchsurfing. It's made with OpenStreetMap, Elasticsearch and the (reverse engineered) couchsurfing api. I have an analog version of this map at home with actual map pins. One day a friend knocked a couple of pins over and I realized I didn't keep any backup notes of where said pins were supposed to go. So I decided to acquire that data from the couchsurfing site. Once I had the location data, it seemed like a shame not to plot it out on a digital map. And the rest, as they say, is just a micro service with a bootstrapped front-end.

If you've never heard of couchsurfing, think of it like Airbnb minus monetary transactions. Instead, the currency is cultural exchange and sharing mutual experiences. After I graduated from college, I took four months to backpack across Asia. For these four months, I travelled almost exclusively by couchsurfing. I met people from different countries, professions, and faiths that despite many cultural differences all shared a common thread of hospitality and genuine kindness to strangers. Some of my hosts were not well off financially or had and were going through difficult times in their lives but nevertheless opened up their homes and hearts to myself. This is what inspired me to pay it back and start hosting once I was done with my travels. So if you're thinking of visiting Seattle, feel free to send me a request. I host pretty frequently.

Note that because this site is served from Lambda, it might take a few seconds for the map to be populated due to the cold start problem. This page was an experiment to serve a dynamic web page with a serverless back-end, with almost no latency optimizations . Have a few backlog items to increase the page speed but in the meantime, it may take several seconds for map pins to drop.