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To see the world while completing the research for my new book
Hello -- I've been wanting to become a member for some time, and perhaps now is the moment! I'm 52 years old, and I've been an investigative journalist for my entire career. I've published one book, Carved In Sand, about what happens to memory and attention in middle age, and I'm working on a new one, about the back pain industry. As a sideline, I write travel articles, both for the web and magazines. I have two wonderful sons, 15 and 19, a husband who is a musician, and two dogs. We love having guests from other parts of the world -- in fact, I've been known to meet visitors on the bus and invite them to dinner.
My children will tell you that I have a saying: In our family, it is absolutely required that you talk to strangers. (In case from a cultural perspective that makes no sense, in the U.S., parents generally tell their children NOT to talk to strangers.) I am known for getting into conversations with absolutely everybody. It is lucky I am a journalist, because otherwise I would simply be a busybody. It is my great pleasure to be able to ask people all sorts of questions about their lives. Even in the days when the magazines I was working for would pay for it, I generally did not stay in fancy hotels. I chose small places where real people stayed, because I like the intimacy of overhearing the breakfast conversation, asking a few questions and then planning your day around what you hear. I am probably too old (52) to sleep on hard floors, deal with noise that keeps me up half the night, but I can rise to an occasion. Occasionally.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I've just become a member, so I'm not actually participating yet. But I have traveled all over the world, and taken my kids to see a lot of it. I've always believed that the best way to travel is to live like the local population, and couch surfing takes that to new heights. I live in a gorgeous part of California, about 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco, and on the edge of some of the most beautiful hiking in the world. (OK, I'm prejudiced, but I really think it is.)
I have had very few couch-surfing experiences, although I have slept on many futons. In fact, there's some irony here, because in the past, I've suffered from a bad back (hence the new book, much better now) and couches have been the bane of my existence. However, couches in general are far more comfortable these days. I actually have a rather nice guest room in my house, so visitors will not be sleeping on couches unless they insist on it.
I love to read, travel, hike, ride horses, make art, look at art, cook, eat, write and teach.
Music, Movies, and Books
I love movies. I could see three a day, and once in awhile, I do. I really enjoyed "I've Always Loved You" recently, and also "The Reader." I read LOTS of books, and dabble (so far) in writing fiction. Recently, I was impressed with "The Zoo Keeper's Wife," and a big favorite last year was "The Art of Racing in the Rain." I like jazz and reggae, also African and Brazilian music.
Teach, Learn, Share
I know a heck of a lot about the nooks and crannies of San Francisco. I am really great on the American West, especially some less traveled state and national parks. (If they don't close them.) I am particularly informed about the wild parts of Sonoma County. As a journalist, I am inherently curious, and forever Googling things. I can usually figure out how to get something that seems unsurmountable -- surmounted. Other things -- I am hell on wheels when it comes to editing a paragraph, should that be necessary.