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Overview

  • 96 references 85 Confirmed & Positive
  • Fluent in Chinese; learning Italian
  • 62, Male
  • Member since 2015
  • P/T Student of History and Sociology
  • BA Sociology and History (P/T); MBA; M.Env Mngt (Hons);...
  • From Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

Hello all,

I am currently travelling in Europe. I have found a permanent abode and will be moving to Melbourne in March on my return to Australia. I will then have a place where I can actually host people I look forward to meeting you all after March 2024.

Me:
I have had a fairly good life to date. I spent 6 years in the Navy from the age of 15 then another three years as a merchant seaman interrupted by a one year stint as a student finishing my high school education at the age of 23 (an adult class). I actually gave up going to sea because I had such a great time ashore studying. Not that I then continued studying. Instead I went farming growing small crops (vegetables) for almost three years. That was as isolating as being at sea. Still, no regrets!

After working crazily in the blazing Australian sun, I decided I had better think about using my head instead of my hands. Being terrible/completely incompetent with machinery really helped with this decision. I seemingly have become more so as time has moved on. So, I went to university and studied Chinese and Economics. This was interrupted (nothing like the odd interruption) by a wonderful year in Taiwan studying Chinese at Shi Da in Taibei. From there, it was back to university to complete the BA and off to Beijing First Foreign Languages Institute for another year of Chinese study on a university language scholarship.

There, I fell into a job representing Australian companies in the agricultural sector (after a year working for IBM) and stayed 8 plus years until 1991. This included 3 years in Hong Kong and working back into China. I was also working into Indo-China, S E Asia, Japan, Korea and India during this period. After returning to Australia in 1991 and just representing a small horticultural equipment manufacturer, I worked into Europe, Japan and the US until 1998. Then it was back to Uni whilst being the local Convenor of the Australian Conservation Foundation to do a M. in Environmental Management (Hons).

Since 2001, I have been a public servant, an electorate officer (working in a politician's office for 4 plus years), post graduate student again, a research assistant at Griffith Uni, Permaculture farm administrator, an environmental coordinator, manager and educator at an urban farm, a carpenter's labourer, school cleaner and then a P/T casual hospital orderly. The latter was probably the best job I have ever had as I was paid for helping people, talking to patients and getting heaps of exercise (often walking 10-15kms a day) and that pretty much met my requirements for a good life. That is, having a meaningful but relatively stress free job helping people while making a modest living and getting plenty of exercise.

I have now given that away and spending my time reading novels, exercising and studying History and Sociology at university as a P/T student. In trimester 1, 2023, I took Italian as a challenge. A challenge it has been and if I pass the course, I am going to take another trimester to build on what I have learned.

During 2015, apart from almost falling off my perch (dying) and confronting, in rather stark terms, my mortality, I completed probably one of the most interesting courses I have done in Holistic Management as developed by Alan Savoury in Zimbabwe. Whilst it revolved around agricultural planning and management, the decision making process involved is applicable to all businesses and life in general. My retirement objective was to again obtain some land and implement the principles learnt in this course with a view to contributing in a small way to the regeneration of ecosystems. However, property prices have put paid to that. I am hoping I can engage my passion for farming in house sitting in rural areas and if possible, farm sitting overseas as well as in Australia.

I abhor all forms of discrimination, intensely dislike neo-liberal capitalism but love the diversity one finds in the human race, be it ethnic or gender related or whatever. People in general are wonderful though I think we could all do a lot better! There really is too much hate, destruction and focus on "me" and what "I" can get out of others in this world.

More recently, I have been fortunate to be provided with a service dog. Her name is Leila. In order to preclude people asking, having a service dog relates to my time in the navy many moons ago and it is a little personal.

Leila has her own Instagram page and an examination of segments of her life from her perspective can be found at @leilathespringerspaniel and a blog at charlesandleila.com She gets on with cats very well and no, she doesn't chase them. Loves them is more the point 🤦‍♂️

Leila is not a pet and it would be ideal if interaction with her could be kept to a minimum. She is always up for a love but much of a good thing is not good for the work she does for me and would eventually mean we both have to go through the grief of being restrained. The worst that could happen is that she could be taken off me and that would be horrendous for both of us.

I appreciate your consideration 🙏

Life has been and still is pretty good overall all said and done. I have certainly messed up on many occasions but as per above, no regrets! It's been a learning process and I hope I haven't done the wrong thing by too many people! As long as one learns from one's experiences.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing

To learn more about the world, its people and planet in/on which we live and importantly get to know local people in places I am visiting. It’s a platform that unites people beyond the national borders and makes the world a little bit more intertwined. Essentially, a great way to meet people, an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had. And, when home in Australia, I can complete the circle and host people.

There is nothing quite like connecting with someone who comes from a completely different background and culture and the joy of enjoying each other's company.

Great article that is applicable to Couchsurfing:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/29/make-yourselves-at-home-the-meaning-of-hospitality-in-a-divided-world?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX1RoZUxvbmdSZWFkLTE5MTEwMg%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=TheLongRead&CMP=longread_email

And another pertinent one:

https://blog.couchsurfing.com/the-7-deadly-sins-of-couchsurfing/

Interests

I am moving to Preston in Melbourne in 2024 and use it as a base for hosting, house and farm sitting in Australia, and again travelling overseas. In the meantime, still looking for a permanent base in Brisbane.

  • reading
  • traveling
  • socializing
  • studying
  • food security
  • history,
  • regenerative farming
  • holistic management

Music, Movies, and Books

David Graeber's books Debt: The First 5000 Years and The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy are two books I have enjoyed. Also Lolita in Tehran: A Book Memoir, an incisive examination of the theocratic takeover in 1979 and life in Iran, especially for females, into the next decade. One book I think everyone should read is Crazy Love by Leslie Morgan Steiner. Attempting to understand how and why domestic violence takes place is critical for everyone in the population.

Music - Hey I am a child of the 60s so love Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, Leonard Cohen and for something different, Abba. I also really enjoy Andre Bocelli and other like classical music. Favourite albums are Morning of the Earth (memories of a mis-spent youth on the beach) and, Rubber Soul

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

Not sure it was amazing in terms of individual "things". However living and working in China and Taiwan and S E Asia for 9 plus years and, then working into the USA, Japan and Europe was pretty amazing. I have been extremely lucky overall having had a great life full of amazing experiences.

Then there is Couchsurfing! Maybe not amazing in the sense it is meant, but a truly stimulating experience. I have met some seriously wonderful people. Travelling is more than just seeing the individual sights. It's about getting to know, at least a little, the places being visited through the people one meets. I actually don't understand the psychology behind 'bucket lists' as people are seemingly excluded and people are what is important!

Also, nearly died once in 2015 and the inner peace that came with that afterwards was truly amazing. Don't recommend it but it is a great wake up call; aids in the recognition of one's mortality and the acceptance of death as a part of the natural process of life.

Finally, as of 26 January 2020, I completed a 10 day Vipassana meditation course at the Vipassana Centre in Lutirano, Italy. Truly amazing! I might suggest this is probably a better way to achieve inner peace.

Teach, Learn, Share

Am up for lots of sharing of experiences and life. Not sure I can teach anyone anything all said and done. Wisdom, for me, seems to be taking a long time to acquire

My objective is to continue to learn. Learning about people and what makes them tick, and, the history, society and politics of the countries in which I am travelling.

One thing I do know and is very "shareable" is: "pain is inevitable but suffering is optional"!

What I Can Share with Hosts

A fairly wide range of experience, some good chats and a friendly personality.

Countries I’ve Visited

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam

Countries I’ve Lived In

Australia, China, Taiwan

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