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John Gunther

Livingston Manor, NY, United States

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100% response rate · Last login 6 days ago

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Overview

  • 109 Positive References
  • Ambassador
  • Fluent in English; learning German, Portuguese, Spanish
  • 65, Other
  • Member since 2007
  • computer consultant, writer, cheerfu...
  • BSME MIT
  • From Brooklyn NY
  • Profile 65% complete

About Me

Scientist and engineer who believes a house is just a staging area for the next trip despite having spent 20+ stable family years married and raising children. I'm rearranging my life to allow more choices, more travel, and more adventure. One of the great joys is meeting new people and finding common ground with them. 30 years active in Servas and until recently a board member and CIO of US Servas Inc. How is Servas different from CS? Ask me!

PHILOSOPHY

1) Freedom from physical coercion is a basic human right.
2) A person so rich they can essentially buy whatever they want without thinking about it is a degenerate force in society.
3) The Golden Rule (secular version) is the basic moral code. The hard part is the refinements.
4) If you're not suffering a little, you're missing out on the really great travel experiences.
5) Whine a little if you must, but play what you're dealt!
6) There's always room for laughter or a joke.
7) Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. By the time they get angry you're a mile away and you've got their shoes!CURRENT MISSION

cross-cultural understanding, populist politics, rational analysis, laugh like hell

ABOUT ME
Returned 2/15 from 5 weeks housesitting and sightseeing in snowless Switzerland, followed by a month of winding through Italy by car. Met amazing new people in both countries and learned 100 times more than we would have as conventional tourists.

Returned 7/14 from a 3+ month road trip through Europe. Iceland (geology!), London, Wales (sheep!), England, Scotland (scenery!), Ireland (poitin!), Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark. Wonderful host encounters throughout and never a dull moment except when we wanted one.

Returned 7/13 from a 2 month road trip clockwise around the US. First extended desert camping and hiking trip through Texas, NM, Colorado, & Utah in 40 years; a slow meander north from Malibu to Seattle seeing old friends and amazing scenery; and the return across the expansive northern US and southern Canada.

Returned 9/12 from a 2 week road trip to Minnesota for the National US Servas conference and board meeting -- Visited old friends along the way, met many Midwesterners, and spent 2 nights "sleeping rough" at utterly perfect campsites in Wisconsin's Chequamegon National Forest during the fall foliage season.

Returned 1/12 from a 3 week, 5000 mile road trip to Seattle -- National park time with my kids, a little volunteering, seeing old Alaska friends, and always meeting new people.

Returned 11/11 from a trip through the US South -- just as cross-cultural an experience as international travel! That is one strange, interesting society they have down there.

Returned 6/10 from a road trip through Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany -- aah, that's the life! Was kann schöner sein auf Erden als doch Reisende zu werden? If you recognize the lyrics I perverted there, you are very likely a German baby boomer.

Returned 8/09 from 5 weeks in Peru - wow! Second visit was even better than the first. Trekking, ruins, rafting, kayaking, desert exploration, and lots of great people.

Why I'm on Couchsurfing

HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING

Work to cross-pollinate CS and Servas. They have complementary strengths and weaknesses. I promote each organization to members of the other and encourage dual membership for appropriate people.Started Mid-Hudson group and organize periodic Catskill hikes, dinners, and an annual party. Try to improve members' experiences.I volunteered a lot of time to site improvement, until CS converted to a for-profit company.

COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE

Hosted 12 Servas and CS members at one time. Lots of travel (North America, Europe, South America, northern Africa) mostly off the beaten track and non-commercial. Three decades of Servas hosting and visiting.

Host the occasional traveler who realizes we don't live in NYC and geographically enlighten many more who don't. Had great interactions with hosts in Peru, Canada, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and USA. Estimated pure CS overnight encounters: 21 as host, 8 as guest.

I'm delighted by the ever growing number of visits with young CSers where the interactions are fascinating and a 30 or 40 year age difference is no obstacle at all. The Turkish student (23), the prosecutor (26), the philosopher (26), the German actor (23), the Canadian cellist (21), and many others have enriched my life in some way. CS is an unparalleled generation gap buster!

Interests

Web and database design and successful use of computers as powerful tools.
Hiking, wilderness travel, kayaking.
Laughter & humor (mine is often off the mark)
Political and cultural discourse.
Cross cultural travel.
Writing.

Music, Movies & Books

John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley!), Edward Abbey, John McPhee, Dave Barry, Bill Bryson, Rita Golden Gelman, Jerome K Jerome, scifi

One Amazing Thing I've Done

One? I've had a lifetime of them, e.g.:
1950: Growing up in Brooklyn
1968: College in the antiwar & hippie era
1975: 10 years living in Alaska
1981: 29 years of marriage and adventure
1984: 7 months on the road in South America
1985: Getting lucky raising 2 kids
1998: The Galapagos Islands & Ecuador
2000: Restoring a friendship 20 years after being a coward
2002: Staying with Moroccan families
2003: Wilderness camping at the face of Muir Glacier
2007: Choquequirao
2009: Exploring deep in the lifeless Sechura Desert
2010: Having the Reset button pushed on my life

Teach, Learn, Share

I've taught about and worked on computer problems for hosts and friends throughout my travels.

Countries I've Visited

Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, French Guiana, Germany, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Peru, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom

Countries I've Lived In

United States

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