Adam Baltieri

Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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  • Fluent in English; learning French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • 27, Male
  • Member since 2010
  • English teacher; translator
  • B.A. Philosophy University of California, Berkeley
  • From Santa Barbara, CA
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me


What's happening to Couchsurfing?


I'm very interested in how any why everything in the world is as it is.

My family is Italian, but I'm from the US. I learned that my great grandfather died in a coal mine in West Virginia after moving from Calabria. I don't really understand how the family then went to New York. My father moved to California.

I play drums and guitar, but now I just play a little bit on the guitar. I used to play in a band that had shows in Los Angeles, but that was a very long time ago now. These days I play acoustic guitar. Mostly folk music and a few songs that I wrote. I also just like to improvise simple things in DADGAD, etc. I also like to press keys on the piano.

I went to college at UC Berkeley where I studied Philosophy. I was interested in all philosophy, but later I focused mostly on Heidegger and related things. I started by studying Bertrand Russell, which is quite different. Recently I discovered Giorgio Agamben whose ideas have reawakened my interest in philosophy. What he has to say about humanity is very intelligent and insightful.

I lived in Italy for a few months and learned Italian before moving to Berlin. I've been in Berlin for about a year now.


I've lived in San Francisco for the past few years. I worked as a substitute teacher and at a restaurant in the Bay Area, also as an English teacher.

I just moved off a 27 foot sailboat in the Bay. This was a way to save money to move to Italy. Rent was pretty cheap. I had to repair the mast: I hired the boat yard's crane to take it down, then used a rivet gun and other tools to fix the mounting bracket for the 'spreaders' (the 'T' shaped part of a mast). After that we took the boat out, ran aground, and broke the rudder. I fixed that, too. Life was good on the water.


Wittgenstein said or wrote this somewhere. It's a fragment that had loosely something to do with this prompt; it is silly to put here but it caught my attention when I accidentally came across it years ago before I knew who Wittgenstein was. With that qualification:

"I can very well think what Heidegger meant about Being and Angst. Man has the drive to run up against the boundaries of language. Think, for instance, of the astonishment that anything exists. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question, and there is also no answer to it. All that we can say can only, a priori, be nonsense. Nevertheless we run up against the boundaries of language. ... This runningup against the boundaries of language is Ethics. I hold it certainly to be very important that one makes an end to all the chatter about ethics – whether there can be knowledge in ethics, whether there are values, whether the Good can be defined, etc. In ethics one always makes the attempt to say something which cannot concern and never concerns the essence of the matter. It is a priori certain: whatever one may give as a definition of the Good – it is always only a misunderstanding to suppose that the expression corresponds to what one actually means (Moore). But the tendency to run up against shows something."

Or: "Deep in my heart there's a house that can hold just about all of you." --Marc Bolan of T. Rex (60's-70's glam rock)

Not to be stupidly glib.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing


At present I have been making a lot of friends through Couchsurfing rather than actually surfing couches. I have met people through conversation exchanges, looking for rooms to rent, meet-ups, and sending messages to people that seem interesting. I have also made a lot of friends by meeting people when they were being hosted by someone else I know. In fact, I have found CS to be an invaluable resource for making connections in my pursuit of establishing a life in Europe.


Two years ago I went on a long road trip all around the United States. I had so many lovely and generous hosts in places like Boseman, MT, Washington D.C., Quebec... I can't remember how I learned about Couchsurfing

I've been to a couple couchsurfing events like tanden groups and general meet-ups.


I am in the process of becoming a writer: short stories, essays, poems.

I like to climb (bouldering) both indoor and outdoor.

I really like to learn languages. I hope to speak Italian well by the end of next year. I particularly enjoy German.

I like to go sailing.

I play drums and guitar pretty well.

I practice yoga when I have time.

I like to ride my bike all around the cities I live in.


Music, Movies, and Books

Here are some books currently open or recently read/skimmed: Hannah Arendt, die Liebe zur Welt; Poems of Coleridge; Harry Mulisch; Ada by Nabokov; Death Sentence by Maurice Blanchot; The Open Giorgio Agamben; Heidegger: Between Good and Evil by Safranski; D.F. Wallace biography by D.T. Max; Claim of Reason by Stanley Cavell; Inner Workings J.M. Coetzee; Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz; Station Hill Blanchot Reader; Roland Barthes by Barthes; The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt; Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Oliver Sacks; V.S. Ramachandran; Eric Kandel; Colgate's Basic Sailing Theory; New York Review of Books; Cabinet Magazine; n+1; Orlando by Virginia Woolf; Susan Sontag; Heart of Darkness by Conrad; The Magic Mountain by Mann; Ulysses, Joyce; Se una notte un viaggiatore...; George Saunders; Ben Lerner; David Foster Wallace non-fiction; T.S. Eliot; --eclectic but living and interesting.

Some music:
Ratatat; Jaco Pastorious; Mahler; Bach; The Byrds; Led Zeppelin; Joanna Newson; John Adams -- My music habits have become quite stagnant and eclectic lately. I used to follow what was going on; now I stumble on things and listen from time to time. I don't know why I listed these over other artists. I listen to the Well-Tempered Clavier a lot, and also a ton of old 60's rock and roll that I liked in high school. I don't prefer it though.

Some movies:
Io sono l'amore Luca Guadagnino; Fellini; Der Himmel über Berlin; Melancholia; Coolhand Luke -- again eclectic and currently stagnating.

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

One time I took a sailboat out in the middle of a squall. We all put on heavy foul weather gear. I sailed the boat out of the harbor. Someone more experienced than me suggested we had 18 knots of wind, gusting to 20. (Not too much, but exciting for my first time). It was raining hard and we sailed around for a while. Then quickly and almost imperceptibly the rain stopped and the wind died down. Everything was very clear and silent. The sun was mild and the sky was blue. It felt good.

I woke up one time.

A couple years ago I backpacked the John Muir Trail with a friend and former poet who fabricated a quite convincing quotation attributed to John Muir to the effect that I should drop my 'fusty books of philosophy' for the wilderness which overcame my reluctance to buy a bunch of expensive hiking equipment (this is a well known trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains that connects all of the national parks there; it runs about 200 miles from Yosemite National Park to Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the 'contiguous' United States--14,505 feet [4,421 m]). it was my first backpacking trip. I go back to the Sierras when I can. I probably won't ever spend 21 consecutive days in the back country again. 5 to 10 days is good.

Teach, Learn, Share

I can teach you: to sail; play guitar; play drums; say some stuff in German; tie a few knots (I'm forgetting the knots);

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