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Graduate student in Beijing /
Living abroad in China four years now /
B.A. in news-ed journalism /
Master's in teaching Chinese /
Whistles like a songbird.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
Couchsurfing has helped helped me find lodging and expanded my social network in the US, China and across Europe. The people I've met through CS have opened the world to me, a world that cannot be accessed through a guidebook or Facebook, through a five-star hotel or a $5/night hostel.
1. Meaningful friendships happen often. This is the greatest reason I choose to couch surf.
For example, I recently visited a dear friend in Finland, whom I first met while traveling in China, where she was my host.
2. It's not about the money (most of the time).
Most of the time, there are cheap and convenient hostels to choose from in most places I want to stay. However, sometimes they are booked with no vacancies. And sometimes I want to experience a more local experience, something only a CS host can provide. I want to make friends with the locals where I'm staying, instead of huddling together with a group of travelers in a cheap hostel and wasting my time using the free WiFi to surf Facebook...
3. My Couchsurfing pledge:
As a couch surfer, I pledge to be clean, respectful and trustworthy. And as a couch host, I pledge to be helpful, courteous and accommodating. Scout's honor!
4. My Couchsurfing philosophy:
Couchsurfing is a lifestyle, a philosophy. It's about exploring the world community and relying on other people to help you out; it's about opening your door to the random stranger. I am that stranger who becomes a friend in passing. We share a moment, which becomes a sweet memory, an encounter, a story… CS is about the kindness of strangers toward me, as much as it is about my own kindness toward strangers.
5. A few brief biographical notes & run-on sentences:
I've been couch surfing since I was a kid, years before this website ever existed, and have experiences the cushioned surfaces of many a friend's and stranger's living room, or the carpeted floor thereof.
Now that the website exists and is wildly popular the world over, I hope to thoroughly exploit it whenever possible.
Like many on the website, I'm an adventurer with a love for nature and the great wild places of our planet.
I spent three summers living in a tent in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico, where once I hosted a vagabond filmmaker from Kansas. He had a big beard and big dreams in the midst of a mid-life crisis. We made a short film together in the desert and entered it into a local film festival. That film has since been lost forever...
"What if Jesus was a couch surfer?"
Music, Movies, and Books
I'm currently enjoying the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson.
I also dabble in poetry and short fiction writing. I love reading poems by Marry Olive (who doesn't?) because they allow my mind to escape the city lifestyle for a while and take a calm stroll along the misty edges of her pond or through her quiet woods... Somedays I daydream about founding a bilingual creative-writing journal in northeast China. But realistically, that would require a higher degree of free speech than is currently possible, as well as countless other headaches, which aren't worth mentioning...
There is really too much music I'm in love with to write it all here. So I'll just say that I try to keep an open mind (which I admit can be kind of difficult sometimes, and not always necessary).
In this SPACE I used to have a long list of many obscure and independent musicians, but to be honest, I like that stuff less and less. Besides, this is not a competition to see who can name the most obscure and unknown musician. Who cares? Not me. Not you.
These days I enjoy listening to purer, less distorted sounds, produced by skilled hands, clear minds and plenty of heart -- the new and classic recordings of solo instruments played by the masters of the 20th and 21st centuries. These songs mainly fall into one of two broad categories: classical and jazz.
These days I mostly listen to Bach, but I'm not always that narrow minded, neither am I the purist I like to sometimes think I am.
I really don't mean to sound snooty or more refined than the average man. It's just that Bach's music is perhaps the only thing I've found that I can listen to almost every day without losing interest or feeling. So that's what I usually listen to.
As much as I love to write and read and listen, I get so tired of WORDS sometimes. I want to say less and listen more. But I also want to write every day. Are these conflicting emotions? Do you also feel this way, friend? Life is too short, everyone knows that. How are we going to enjoy our lives today?
Indeed, these are questions that need answering...
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
I have jumped off a bridge and have seen the end of a rainbow in New Mexico.
I have dipped my body into a hole in a frozen lake in mid-winter, and have ridden a horse galloping full-stride through a snowy field in Finland.
Teach, Learn, Share
This advice might sound pretty obvious, but here I go anyway: When traveling in China, DO NOT use a foreign back card to purchase tickets online or over the phone. It is extremely risky. The best option is to book the ticket first, then pay for it in cash at the airport, train station or bus station. Many travel agencies in China provide ticket delivery service, through which you can pay in CASH.
Countries I’ve Visited
Cambodia, China, Finland, France, Laos, Mexico, Switzerland
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, United States