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'Smile, breathe and go slowly.' ~Thich Nhat Hanh
A former history teacher and an architect = more information about Austria than you can ever take. BONUS since 2013: tons of happy baby smiles!
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
We are here to make meaningful connections. So far, we've had several great experiences and have met a lot of great people through this site!
CRITICISM OF THE CS PLATFORM:
When we're at home:
* spending a lot of time with each other
* spending a lot of time with our friends and families
* music and going to concerts and small festivals
* moving our minds & learning new stuff:
... whether it's by reading books, newspapers, websites, or blogs,
... watching documentaries on TV (especially anything like BBC Planet Earth!),
... listening to the radio and to podcasts,
... doing the pub quiz at our local pub on Tuesdays,
... going to museums, exhibitions, or the theatre,
... finding solutions to problems (a la "learning by doing"),
... talking to our friends, family, each other...
... or to CouchSurfers!
* moving our bodies, especially outdoors
- Werner: skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, snow camping, tennis, badminton, football... whatever, really.
- Christine: cycling, dancing, Zumba
- both: hiking, swimming (especially in rivers and lakes, not so much in pools), snorkelling, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, paddling
When we're travelling:
* meeting people who can teach us something new
* being outdoors
* exploring cities by walking everywhere ...
* learning about the history, current politics, and culture of a place
* learning new recipes
... always cultivating our minds, bodies, and souls - learning more about life.
... no wonder we love CouchSurfing!
We love life. Not just the big things like trips to the other side of the world and once-in-a-lifetime adventures. But also - and rightly more so - the little things that make up our everyday lives. We're always curious to find out about how that kind of everyday life is different around the globe... We're interested in social cha(lle)nge(s), and are trying to find out what it takes to actually make change happen.
We're no freeloaders. We're not happy to be lumped together with many others who define their way of travelling as "budget travel", defining their style of travelling by the money they spend. Yes, of course we also travel with a backpack instead of a Swarovski-crystal-encased Dior suitcase. Yes, we try to stay in cheaper family-run hotels instead of large chains that look the same the world over. But we know that responsible tourism can't or shouldn't be dirt cheap if it's supposed to sustain, not exploit, local communities and wildlife habitats. We see what mass tourism has done to the Alps: it has brought comparative wealth to poor mountain regions, right, but also questionable cultural practices (apres-ski anyone?), environmental issues, horrible architectural eyesores, traffic jams, and social problems. We acknowledge that it takes responsible politics, vocal communities, and travellers with a heightened awareness regarding these issues to find the right balance to get as many of the advantages as possible with as little damage as possible... and on our journeys, we try to be guided this idea, too.
That said, a lot of the best stuff in life is (almost) free anyway, no matter whether it's at home or on a trip. We like sharing and dislike shopping - spending a day at a mall sounds like the worst punishment for us. Instead of looking in on a fake version of a better life through shop windows, we like participating in what's right before us.
We also like being able to do and make things ourselves. No matter whether our stereo is broken, a bike brake needs to be bled, a DVD drive needs to be exchanged,... why not at least try to learn how to fix it? We also like making things. Doing instead of consuming - so much more rewarding.
Most of all, we constantly learn from our friends, from our families, and from each other: we are very different but equally passionate about things (which makes us stubborn in discussions, beware!). Of course there are many things you never read about people in their profiles - about how they're sometimes just as grumpy, petty, and prejudiced as everyone else on the planet - and we're no exception. We're just human after all! But at least we keep challenging each other, questioning each other's whims, stretching each other to learn, encouraging each other to explore those things that don't come easily... and on our journey, all of that will ultimately - hopefully! - help to make us happier, better people.
Music, Movies, and Books
Some authors whose books Christine read and loved in 2009: Paul Auster, Rebecca Miller, Sarah Waters, Marisha Pessl, Marina Lewycka, Stella Tillyard, Alan Bennett.
Some authors whose books Christine read and loved in 2010: Mary Ann Shafer, Zadie Smith, Maya Slater, Monica Ali, Jonathan Safran Foer, Urs Widmer, Aravind Adiga, Arturo Barea, Daniel Glattauer.
Some authors whose books Christine has read or reread and loved in 2011: Curtis Sittenfeld, James Loewen, Joachim Bauer, Friedemann Schulz von Thun, Martin Suter, William Boyd, Saul Bellow, Jess Winfield.
Some authors whose books Christine has read or reread and loved in 2012 so far: "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell, "The Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, "EQ" by Daniel Goleman, "Our Iceberg is Melting" by John Kotter, "One of our Thursdays is Missing" by Jasper Fforde (the most recent instalment in the Thursday Next series!), "Dein kompetentes Kind" by Jesper Juul, "The To Do List" by Mike Gayle, "Brain Rules" by John Medina, "Mindset" by Carol Dweck... and many more.
Some authors whose books Christine has read or reread and loved in 2013: Eric Hanson,"Stranger in the Forest", Robert Louis Stevenson, "Treasure Island", Rotraud Perner, "Der erschoepfte Mensch", John Krakauer, "Into the Wild", Hilary Mantel, "A Place of Greater Safety", Helen Fisher, "Warum wir lieben", Jared Diamond "The World Until Yesterday", Anne Bronte "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall", Wallace Stegner "Angle of Repose", Stefan Klein "Zeit. Der Stoff, aus dem das Leben ist", Martin Suter "Der letzte Weynfeldt", Louis Theroux "The Call of the Weird", Ken Follet "The Pillars of the Earth", Sarah Waters "The Night Watch" and "The Little Stranger",...
Ah, and since the birth of Johanna: no time for reading! ;)
Music we both like - the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Auf der Maur, Muse, Jack Johnson, the Frames, Moby, Tori Amos, Tom Jobim, Bebel Gilberto, Amadou et Mariam, Benjamin Biolay, Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons. Just to name a few.
Documentaries we both like: BBC Planet Earth, BBC Life, BBC First Life - and anything else ever filmed by David Attenborough, it seems!!
Films we both liked - The Big Lebowski, Big Fish, Stranger Than Fiction, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Kitchen Stories, Elling, The Secret of Kells.
We're always on the lookout for great new books, films, and music, so don't forget to share your recommendations!!
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Werner: powder skiing on Arlberg
Christine: snorkelling in a pristine coral reef
Johanna: exploring the world, becoming more independent every day!
And as cheesy as it might sound - just being together is a gift that makes us deeply happy every single day...
Teach, Learn, Share
You know what? We LOVE Vienna, and we love Austria. We will be able to tell you quite a lot about Austrian culture, food, politics, history, art, architecture, music, sports, and literature. What with Werner being an architect and Christine being an English and History teacher, we are constantly learning about our own city and country.
Keeping the bigger picture in mind, we would also like to share our sense of wonder at the world: we love learning, and we love understanding how the world works. People. Cultures. Animals. Ecosystems. Health and education systems. The weather. The universe. Technology. We won't pretend we've understood any of these things but we're giving it a good try and love exchanging our ideas with those who are also keen students of life! :)
Last but not least, we're really into food! We can teach you some yummy recipes and hope to learn some from you, too!
Countries I’ve Visited
Austria, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam
Countries I’ve Lived In
Austria, China, United Kingdom