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Arjun Swami Persaud

Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

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Last login about 2 months ago

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Overview

  • 41 Positive References2 Neutral
  • Fluent in Dutch, English; learning French, German, Persian (Farsi)
  • 26, Male
  • Member since 2008
  • Studying; talking; listening; solvin...
  • Currently finishing undergraduate An...
  • From Nijmegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

Currently finishing my undergraduate's in cultural anthropology at Utrecht university. It took me a lengthy five years but it's about time.

I'm greatly interested in how the big bad world shapes human lives - and vice versa. International politics and corporations, conflict, identity and nationalism, (macro) power relations... It's stuff which is endemic in all people all over the world and even though it's not humanity's greatest or prettiest asset, I find it fascinating to explore. I try not to judge but rather gain an understanding of what motivates people to do things that are considered immoral, irrational or plainly wrong... In the eyes of some.
I love talking and discussing and being proven wrong – because that actually means I have to stop being stubborn and embrace someone else's vision, broading my horizon :)

Aside from these sinister interests, I'm actually quite an incessantly-optimistic and cheerful guy who thrives on stories – both listening and telling makes me happy :). I enjoy old people's stories of old times as well as children's future dreams and I try to be both – living the dreams and whilst doing so, making up great tales for later!

I travelled quite a bit in the past 6-7 years, hoping to reach the 50-country milestone in a couple of years! The Middle-Eastern countries, and especially Iran, have stolen my heart. I like traveling to places I never heard of before, to sort-of be an 'ontdekkingsreiziger', a Dutch word translating to 'discovery traveller', to draw a kind of map in my mind, filled with subjective experiences, colors, sounds, smells and people I never knew existed.

Why I'm on Couchsurfing

For me, Couchsurfing started back in 2008. I wanted to go and 'explore' for the first time. Went to Iceland but didn't really think of the financial part of the trip. I stayed at a beautiful artsy couple's house and met great people. I found out that Couchsurfing was actually the very best way of exploring!

The best time on Couchsurfing was in 2009: I surfed for a month and a half all throughout South Africa, met brilliant and inspiring people who I've probably never thanked enough.

Back at home, I've hosted occasionally but never as much as I would've liked... I generally try to help travelers get around and make them feel welcome, just as all those kind people have done for me.

THANKS to everybody who ever helped me out hosting, hanging out, or to those unexpected angels, helping out unconditionally when traveling. I admire you all. Your help is invaluable! :)

Interests

Stories. When I'm big I want to be a storyteller. Fantastic stories from surreal continents, filled with unintelligible people holding even more secrets and stories.

Music, Movies & Books

I'm a music maniac and like almost everything, from ethnic world music to death metal, psychedelic rock to hiphop, singer-songwriter to techno. As long as it's well-meant and good! Some real favorites include The Doors, Archive, Jeff Buckley, Patrick Watson, De Kift, Bach, Idan Raichel Project, Devin Townsend, Nick Cave, Opeth, Paul Simon and Tool.

Described by Aurora, one of the most memorable hosts ever, as 'rather schizophrenic'; I must say I'm quite content with it.

Come to think of it, I like books and movies about general stupidity/naivety of mankind. For example: I find it exhilarating to realize that at any given moment in time (now, now, now and even now) there must be hundreds, probably thousands of people, _pushing_ a door which has a sticker saying 'pull'. They awkwardly bump into it, stealthily look around to make sure nobody's seen it, pull themselves together, and continue like nothing happened. It happens again, now, now and now, thousands of people at a time! Humanity at its best!

Some great novelists I like: Douglas Adams, Herman Brusselmans, Haruki Murakami, Jonathan Safran Foer, Gabriel García Marquez, Kader Abdolah, George Orwell, Salman Rushdie.

Although not novels, I've been impressed by the writings of Philip Gourevitch on Rwanda; Daoud Hari on Darfur; Ishmael Beah on Sierra Leone; Joris Luyendijk on our (whose?) perception of the Middle-East.

Movie-wise, I'm quite illiterate. I'll try:
I like almost everything by the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski and A Serious Man tops).
I talk along all parts of most Monty Python sketches and movies.
The Lion King is the movie I've seen most in my life and re-watch most.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Machete and other over-the-top stuff makes me laugh.
Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream feel vaguely warning, like a ominous dream.
Waltz with Bashir and Schindler's List are beautifully depressing and rough.

One more thing! I like to offend people. Not to get in a fight, but to create awareness. Question stuff. Be critical. Grow! There's no such thing as being offended (though some people unfortunately do take offense to that statement) and I would love it if everybody would just stop withering in self-pity. If you think you're awesome, you are. There's nobody ever who can possibly prove you wrong! So don't take offense to others thinking otherwise. This makes me hate censorship of any kind and like comedians such as Louis CK, Doug Stanhope and Jim Jefferies.

One Amazing Thing I've Done

Arrived at night at Bulungula in South Africa. I did not think it possible that such an amount of stars actually existed...
Something semi-unrelated happened after that: the German guy I met over there at Bulungula, bumped into me again, a couple of years later, on a September day in T'bilisi, Georgia. I had to reconsider what I thought of as 'unlikely' after that.

Traveling to Iran has been my most rewarding travel experience ever. Contrasting: crossing the border from there to Iraqi Kurdistan has been the worst travel experience ever.

Teach, Learn, Share

Do. If there's one thing I could share it's this lesson: never postpone. Do it. No excuses. Ever.

I'd like to share Jim Jefferies' suggestion of the One Commandment but I'm not allowed to by Couchsurfing. Even though it's really very positive advice. I suggest you google it. Here, I did it for you! http://bit.ly/1w75nhH

What I Can Share With Hosts

Haha I really don't know. I think the rest of this page pretty much sums it up. I will definitely cook for you and, when I'm comfortable, tell you some bad jokes. I'd appreciate it if you have some in return.
Nah but really, I'm quite considerate and easy-going and I'm always able to entertain myself so don't feel obliged to anything but being a nice host :).

Countries I've Visited

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Malawi, Namibia, Norway, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City State, Zambia

Countries I've Lived In

Netherlands

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