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Eric and Melissa West

Eggleston, VA, United States

Maybe Accepting Guests

Last login 3 months ago

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Overview

  • 33 Positive References
  • Fluent in English; learning French, Italian, Russian
  • 34, Other
  • Member since 2007
  • Melissa: Mother, Teacher, Writer // ...
  • No education listed
  • From Melissa: Long Island, New York // Eric: Anderson, Indiana
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

CURRENT MISSION

Beginning our parenting journey with our son Heron.

ABOUT ME

We met in June 2005 while hiking the Appalachian Trail, moved in together in January 2006, and were married in August 2008. Our longest journey together was in Summer 2006 when we hiked various long-distance trails in England, Scotland, Corsica, and the Alps (see our photos here). Upon returning to the States, we volunteered at various organic farms and homesteads through WWOOF and Organic Volunteers. Those experiences encouraged us to start our own farm and build our own eco-friendly home in rural Southwest Virginia; the heavily forested property has been in Eric's family for over 200 years, though it has been uninhabited since the 1960s.

PHILOSOPHY

In order for us to reach our human potential, we must first help others. Meaning can be found in our relationships with each other.

Why I'm on Couchsurfing

HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING

We moderate the Blacksburg & New River Valley group, and we occasionally organize get-togethers to strengthen the local CS network. We were formerly appointed as City Ambassadors for our area, and we have also been interviewed for a local newspaper article on CouchSurfing that has helped to spread the word.

COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE

During our long-distance hikes and bicycle tours, we have often been treated to wonderful hospitality by complete strangers. The food, water, shelter, rides, and intangibles provided by these "trail angels" are what prompted us to join CouchSurfing and to help those travelers who might also be on the journey of a lifetime.

Interests

You can find one or both of us reading, writing, making art, hiking, playing board games, eating vegan food, dancing, talking with friends, and loving up our little baby, Heron. Our interests also extend to growing organic food, homesteading, natural building, cider, puppies, and other things interesting and helpful.

Music, Movies & Books

We are both very much influenced by the writings of Wendell Berry. Eric prefers nonfiction books (Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Pollan, Nicholas Carr) and documentary films (Hoop Dreams, The Up Series, War Dance). For travel-related reading, Eric has found much inspiration in Rolf Potts' Vagabonding book. He also enjoyed reading Jupiter's Travels about Ted Simon's four-year journey around the world on motorcycle, and greatly enjoys the writings of Eric Newby. Patrick Leigh Fermor's recollections of his journey on foot across Europe in 1933-34 reads like a pre-Internet CouchSurfing adventure!

One Amazing Thing I've Done

Eric has hiked the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which was an incredible journey. Both of us have hiked the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail, which was another amazing trip. Our favorite long-distance hike that we have done together has been the 110-mile GR20 in Corsica. Our favorite long-distance bicycle tour has been a 400-mile ride on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. But the most amazing thing that we've done in our lives is still being realized...building our own cottage, living a simple life, and being intimately connected to our family, friends, and local community!

Teach, Learn, Share

We cook nearly all of our own meals, and we're happy to share some of our favorite vegan recipes; our go-to cookbooks right now are written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Eric is a Certified Cicerone--the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier--and would be happy to share his knowledge about tasting beer and pairing beer with food. He also runs Cider Guide, a site dedicated to cider, perry, and other alcoholic drinks made from apples and pears. Our primary travel expertise is lightweight hiking, though we've also done some bicycle and canoe touring.

Countries I've Visited

Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States

Countries I've Lived In

United States

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