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finding a balance between road and roots
some time ago, i left the predictable, secure path for one defined more by improvisation and uncertainty. and a bit of adventure. i've been on the road in some form or another for over 5 years now, learning so much more about myself and the world around me than i ever did at school. i'm glad that through it all, it's made me more optimistic and idealistic about human nature, more trusting and patient in finding the good in everyone.
in the end, i'm just a fellow wandering this earth in search of connection, meaning, inspiration.. hopefully leaving it a little better than i found it.
"i beg you... to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. live the questions now. perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer..."
(rainer maria rilke -- letters to a young poet)
and just found this on a tea bag, which sums things up pretty well:
"travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light."
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
i can be quite slow at writing references and accepting friend requests on here.. please don't take it personally. i try to catchup with all these eventually, but don't hesitate to send me a reminder if i seem to have forgotten
misty mountains and rugged coastlines, camping, hitchhiking, hiking, biking, kayaking, snowboarding, windsurfing (though really all the sports i kind of leave behind when i'm on the road with just the backpack), hammocks, treehouses, picnics, meditation, nice neighbors, community, chasing sunsets and full moon rises, old man pubs, juke joints, street food, berry picking, people watching, second-hand shops (even though i rarely buy anything), ah and burritos
also: learning from every new encounter and interaction especially with strangers and humans from different walks of life, connecting with families, children, and older people, volunteerism, grassroots organisation, minimalism, dumpster diving, writing, sharing...
Music, Movies, and Books
MOVIES: singin' in the rain, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, mar adentro, baraka, before sunrise / sunset / midnight, a separation, boyhood, in bruges, once, almost famous, y tu mama tambien, goodbye lenin!, the dreamers, le grand voyage, the lives of others, the story of the weeping camel, the motorcycle diaries, amelie, into the wild, her, the science of sleep
MUSIC: the beatles, joanna newsom, sigur ros, manu chao, alt-j, maverick sabre, coco rosie, matthew and the atlas, fionn regan, ray lamontagne, angus and julia stone, damien rice, beirut, lisa hannigan, laura marling, ben howard, the swell season, yann tiersen, chavela vargas, mercedes sosa, lhasa de sela, ray charles, jeff buckley, arcade fire, johnny cash, feist, al green, nina simone, otis redding, toots and the maytals, radiohead, rodrigo y gabriela, regina spektor, mickey 3d, julieta venegas
BOOKS: siddhartha, the human comedy, the little prince, 1984, the diving bell and the butterfly, the old man and the sea, kerouac's on the road, and the road by cormac mccarthy and jack london
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
those which come when least expected:
-being involved with the relief efforts directly after hurricane katrina, on the floor of an evacuee shelter with 800+ residents of new orleans and working side-by-side with people from all walks of life... life-changing on so many levels, and a place i always find myself coming back to.
-finding a small volcano village during a paragliding trip in ecuador, and coming to live there while teaching in the school and helping on the farms. falling asleep every night to the rumblings of the volcano, like ocean waves.
-witnessing a llama's birth and first steps just before the sunrise of my birthday on the mountaintops overlooking machu picchu.
-laying on the beach beneath a thousand shooting stars at the end of the earth, after walking 500 miles across spain to reach there.
-calling ireland home for a year while doing social work with the elderly, making deep and meaningful connections with lifelong friends old and young.
looking forward to what's next...
Teach, Learn, Share
volunteering and immersive travel
a few tips for anyone who's tried to research volunteering in different countries, as you might have found it can be pretty overwhelming and difficult to find reputable organisations that don't charge you a lot of money to get involved.
the ethical volunteering guide is a good starting point. it outlines a lot of the issues you might come across when trying to find a worthwhile organisation to give your time and energy to. the guide's most useful for those who insist on paying to volunteer through a sending program, but has some good tips for us all.
here are some other useful resources to get you going:
VolunteersBase -- new and free network for work-exchange volunteering
Idealist -- great search engine for volunteering opportunities and NGO jobs internationally
WWOOF -- organic farming work exchange
HelpExchange -- more general work exchange
The Seven Network -- free and low-cost volunteering opportunities worldwide
True Travellers -- database of volunteer and meaningful travel opportunities worldwide
Volunteer South America -- for south america specifically
South American Explorers Club -- another good database for volunteering opportunities in south america, but requires an annual membership fee to access their info
EntreMundos -- based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, this is a fantastic resource for those looking for reputable volunteering opportunities in the region
if you need some more information or advice, send me a message!
Countries I’ve Visited
Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City State
Countries I’ve Lived In
Ecuador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom, United States