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"max, your 65 now."
better start living...
"to learn to be humble, to be humble, to enable humble"
This next piece is a two page history summary of my travels 1977 - 1982.: first published on the internet 1996. I use this as my travel history.
"15 August 1979, I was a young dreaming idealistic overland traveller on the shores of Alexandria Egypt, setting out to walk the length of Africa for Peace. The sun was hot, the waves of the sea were around my feet, as the salt water was left behind and was not seen again for another two years.
As a seasoned traveller from the previous two years traveling overland from my home country of New Zealand 1977, via Asia and the Middle East and some of Europe, I teamed up with a Londoner on an expedition of a lifetime. Trans Africa Walk Expedition For Peace. George Cunningham had initiated and planned this project as a symbolic break down of barriers by uniting the youth of Africa via walking through all its borders. He had arranged Patrons like the then President Kaunda of Zambia, Sir Geoffrey Arthur, William Benyon MP, David Fanshawe, Colonel Laurens van der post, Ian Player and Oxfam. So I just had to convince him that he needed a seasoned traveller to join a 'mad Englishman in the noon day sun'. From the high Himalayas, to the private gardens of the Taj Mahal, to eating with the beggars on the streets of Mother India, to the magic of the Sinai Desert, the 14 herbs and fresh water on the top of Mt Sinai, to living in the caves of the Bedouins in Petra of Jordan, a walk through a minefield on the Israeli border and sleeping with ghosts on the top of the great pyramid of Giza, I was set to walk the length of Africa.
With so many traveling type shows on TV lately, (1996), it sometimes triggers memories on special days reinforcing that nature and life is really the same all over the world and life just goes on. So many stories that one-day I hope they get them recorded. But some special places inspired me to write this and forward it to all my web contacts on this anniversary day as I now travel the world via the World Wide Web, rather than on foot.
One of the most memorable areas was Nubia, of north Sudan, south of Lake Aswan. Our journey took us from Wadi Halfa in north Sudan down to Dongola, to Karima and the ancient pyramids of Merowe across the cataracts of the 'S' bend in the Nile. These people are a very noble proud race and culture. In an email with David Adams, (TV Journeys to the ends of the earth, he said in his program #11), he followed the footsteps of the ancients through Nubia, and he said life has not changed much there over the last 20 years since I walked it [in 1979-].
With a side trip we did to Eritrea, still in its double decade of war for independence, Mig jets flying over head, it reminded me of when I was in Afghanistan. At the great Buddha's of Bamiyan, May 1978, when the Russians first invaded Afghanistan, with only a half page mention made in Time Magazine. It wasn't till ten years later with 10,000 troops that the world cried out. Yet my first introduction to refugee camps in Sudan with uncountable people from horizon to horizon gives a sparkle of hope. One family had swept their little area clear of all dust. It stood out. Why were they different?
At the forks of the White Nile and near the Jonglei Canal project, south Sudan, while sleeping out in the open around an open fire with the nomadic locals, I remember I had a revelation of being thankful for what my parents had done, or actually for what they had not done, as this is what gave me my independence. I can still picture the local naked man who only had an old piece of sacking over his shoulder as his sole possession, and covered with flies. We were all treated as equals around the camp fire.
In Kenya, after a year on foot, some boats, some local trucks where it was not safe to walk, I parted the expedition. I meet up with an Australian midwife and went to help at Tom Mboya Memorial Health Center on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria. (see www Rusinga Island. " It was here that Mary Leakey uncovered the three million year old skull of Proconsul Africanus. The earliest fossil remains uncovered on this dusty eroded island dates back some seventeen million years. Neighboring Mfangano Island is equally intriguing with some prehistoric rock paintings". added 2008 see:
http://www.friendsofrusinga.org (these two sites have been unfortunately corrupted) .
George carried on walking, I heard that some two and a half years later with a few government changes, and escorts all the way, he reached Cape Town. His book "Journey to Become a Diplomat", FPA Global Visions Books, 2005. (I am mention four times by first name only as though I was just going the same direction, yet who took all those photos? (added 2008).
After a nearly a year at the health center, delivering new babies, burying dead, learning so much about leprosy, tropical illnesses, flying with the Flying Dr Service as the famous Dr Anne Spoerry falls asleep over the autopilot controls and wondering what should I do,
( http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-anne-spoerry-1069846.html ),
( new book 2019 about Anne Spoerry, "In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement" by John Heminway, explained a whole new history showing "what war does to people in order to survive that we can never truly comprehend”),
with some side trips to the Mts of the Moon Ruwenzorie's in Uganda, crossing the great Serengeti west to east, climbing Mt Kenya via the north face and getting to the top as the sun went down in the west and a new full moon rose in the east, I left the middle of Africa. Ended up in New York City six days later in total cultural shock. Jumped when a light switch was turned on as I was still looking to the matches to light a lantern. Staring at stretch limousines...
Back in New Zealand four and a half years later, and today, the world still goes round...
MAX.3rd April 2008, George and I meet up again after nearly 30 years, and we are still the same. He was guest presenter at the Hillary Lecture held on this day at the Auckland Museum. Radio NZ interview with George Cunningham on Trans Africa Walk Expedition for Peace 1979:
NZ TV3 interview:
George's book of his account of the trip. (I only mentioned by first name four times in it, and as though I was just walking the same way. But who got all the sponsorship of the gear we had, and who took those photos of George, and why are there two packs in the pictures?)
If you wish to do a couch request, then include:
How are you moving, what transport?
Coming from where, how long?
Going where next, how long?
Other ways to be contacted /phones/emails/skpyes/Line/Facebook/Websites?
What are you going to bring to the home, what are you bringing towards the household, what food are you bringing to share for meals?
This is not a "free bed" or a "crash pad" or called "hey" or "one night stand". It is not our own flat, we have rent and bills to pay.
The decision of staying will take lots of communication before a "yes".
In return, I could enable experiences of a lifetime of world travel, cycling, tramping, climbing, exploring, adventure, world travel stories.
Some Recent Travel history:
We visited USA December 2018 - January 2019 .
But I ended up acutely admitted to hospital on Saturday 15th December, San Francisco.
Half dead, unconscious from acute sepsis.
March 2016 we went back in Bangkok to visit family.
Then April-May brought 3 of my Thai extended family to explore New Zealand.
2011, I planned to return as a traveller again after 30 years from a family and a career, "to give back that something that it gave me those many years ago". To slowly returning back to Tom Mboya Memorial Health Centre, Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya, where I stopped as a young traveller after having walked half of Africa to get there, 1979-1981.
Departed NZ, loved ones, family, ex-wife, friends, house, 13th May 2011.
Bangkok 13th May, for the anniversary ceremony 18th May of my brothers death in the democracy riots 1992, Wat Bowon, all welcomed. See:
China 22May, Shanghai to Wudang Shan mountains to Xi'an to Beijing.
Japan 31st May Tokyo to explore and climb Mt Fuji.
USA, LA, 10th June to support www.facebook.com/joshuakench
in RAAM, nonstop cycle race across America, see: www.raamrace.org
WashingtonDC 4th July. CS CrashBash event.
Iceland, Keflavik, 6th July, climbed mountains in the middle of the night.
Paris 13th July, CS Paris rendez vous event.
To Bulgaria, Kara Dere beach, 5th August 2011 to be at European Hitch Hiking Gathering. www.hitchgathering.org . 140 people over the week.
Planned to go Turkey for their Hitchhiking gathering 12th -20th August 2011, but I did not get there. Instead helped Cumbo Circus at the Spirit of Burgas music festival, great experience. Planned to go Back to Europe to visit friends who have stayed with me in NZ, but, 2 days hitch hiking out of Bulgaria, ended up sharing driving a car to Yerevan, Armenia, in the Caucuses for Sept. Crossed to Georgia Sept, Oct, Nov. December , amazing traveller's experience. "Gaumarjos".
Back to Bangkok to finalise closure with the Thai Government over the killing there of my brother in 1992.
Then planned to go onto Kenya, returning to be a community volunteer at Tom Mboya Memorial Health Centre, Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria. But never got back there, yet.
Still on my way back to Kenya, "to give something back to Africa that Africa gave me a long time ago".
2012, Ended up living in Bangkok with my couchsurfing host family.
Then, February 2013, back visiting home New Zealand, "to show my Thailand CS host a bit of NZ hospitality like Thailand has looked after me for the past year".
2020, We have now been living here together. Anatta CS profile:
Follow me on FaceBook "MaxNeumegen"Like to CS with families on the way, If you like me to visit, please message me. I able to talk to groups and media on CS and Travel. Am on Warmshowers, Bewelcome, Trustroots, Couchers. My website is a copy of this page.
All rights reserved on my profile contents.
Copy right on all my profile contents.
Some items and photos have been removed due to the unfair so called CS privacy terms and conditions 13sept 2012
OTHERS WHO HAVE WALKED AFRICA that I know.
Levison Wood: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/walking-the-nile
To enable realisation of peoples dreams by inspiring their passion to dream.
I try to enable people to experience "The Essense" of overland travel, defined by a friend as "something that cannot be explained, only experienced". (Quote by Nicolaas Francken, 2006).
"To encourage those thinking of travel to go, and enable those gone to get off the beaten track."
"The overland traveller goes around the corner to see who there is to meet around the next corner..." Max.
"The traveller hitch hiker is there to give you the opportunity so you can do your good deed for the day, to share a ride in the same direction." Max.
original definition: "the hitch hiker is there so you can do your good deed for the day". max 1996.
"An ultimate way of travel, try hitch hike with a bike" , Max.
"And what about a solar rechargeable compact electric bike?"
"And I use help/work as my token of exchange for goods and services", Max.
"Language is a terrible tool for communication", Max.
"The Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road." - Karen Blixen - Out of Africa
"Every turn of a wheel is a new revolution" , Tour d'Africa.
"Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered" by British economist E. F. Schumacher.
A person picked up a crab from the thousands of crabs that were trapped from an extra high tide on the beach, and threw it back into the water. the other said "but there are thousands here, you can not save them all". to which the reply was "but it made a difference to that one"
I have nothing against death. It's my life that kills me. Written in Tibetan, may not show correct font.
“Travel: putting yourself in a vulnerable situation”, Timmy Mallett, Cycling Touring Festival, February 2021.
bike riding advocacy: http://www.can.org.nz
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
market CS to all travellers and potential hosts; "how you can travel in your own home by having visitors in your own home".
World Couchsurfing day 12 June 2008 news paper article I initiated for visiting German CS Ambassador:
Newspaper Hawkes Bay Today 20 jan 2010:
Arranged 30 minute TV interview for CS Family Amabassador from Norway. 29Jan2010. TVHB .webcast: http://www.tvhb.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=29&Itemid=70
Arranged front page photo of Japanese round the world cyclist Ryohei Oguchi, 9mar2010, HBToday newspaper:
Article "hold onto your couch" in "Lucky Break" magazine Australaisa, 22nd April 2010 No 16. Photo on cover as well.
Live Radio New Zealand National afternoon program 29 April 2010 on max's travels and CS. link podcast:
and search date 29 April 2010.
Radio New Zealand, National, Nights, live interview Tuesday 26th April 2011 at 7:10pm NZ time on my travels and CouchSurfing.
4july2011 USA Washington DC courchcrash.
14july2011 France Paris Bastille, PARIS RENDEZ-VOUS 2011
see me on national French tv news:
updated October 2013. Available now and offered to be a future CEO of CS.
yes have had many explorers, travellers, travellers, cyclists, backpackers, nomads, hippies,.. stay, picked up on the road, hitch hikers, at the shops, from hostels, way before I knew of CS. Just like the thousands that helped look after me in my younger four and a half years of nomad wonderings.
host and travel on ;
Remember that for us long termers on CS, far less than half of my CS hosts and surfs left a reference in the old days, and new days, so as with most long term members of the CS family, can double or triple number of reference and friends lists.
And if one did not select a rating in the references, it automatically went to "neutral".
Copy of my CS couch reply info template, as at Nov2018:
We have now moved into a little flat And got a real couch too. As I am still "CouchSurfing" with my CS host from May 2011.
Give us a ring when you are in Napier as we may be able to meet.
Extra information that I send to everyone. Some hopefully you already know, some may be helpful:
If looking for a travellers lodge in Hawkes Bay? See "Farmhouse lodge" In Fernhill, halfway between Napier and Hastings SH50. The old Fernhill Pub, basic rooms, beds, bunks, floor, tent, or in vehicle. Say your are in CS. See the owners website/YouTube videos on "WildNewZealand".
"Non self contained Vehicle Freedom Camping area", south end of Napier Marine Parade.
Work? See "picknz", online & office in Hastings.
Like tramping, trekking, outdoors, see www.fmc.org.nz for lists of all local clubs that you can contact and go on trips with them.
Interested in a Rainbow Gathering? Search for "Rainbow Family Aotearoa".
The New Zealand CS annual gathering "Tongariro Alpine Crossing", Turangi. Every year, around Auckland holiday long weekend, end of January. (If there is someone to organise it). See New Zealand CS group and Turangi events posts.
Art Deco week, Napier, 3rd week of February each year. http://www.artdeconapier.com
Hawkes Bay International Cultures day, Saturday, first weekend March, in Hastings, Each year.
Facebook Hawkes Bay Multicultural Association, potluck shared dinner each 3 months.
Some ideas on CS profiles:
It may help if you add a lots about yourself and your history to your profile, so possible hosts know a bit more about you. Market yourself.
"It is the hosts to decide if they like to meet you, not you". So tell them lots about yourself. Add links to Blogs, webpages, any media articles so your can show who you are. Remember the quote: "CS is an hospitality exchange, not a "free bed"". What can you bring to that family? What are you going to give in the exchange? Your time, your family history, your travel stories photos videos, what can you teach, what food you bringing for the family, cooking meals, donation $ to power, Internet, phone, fuel, gas, petrol, family bills...?
"If you were paying a hostel, hotel, food, activities... Then why not help a family with that money/value instead of a "faceless corporate"?"
Paid the donation to CS? We did, in money and time. Or do you expect CS to be free to you too? (It may be called verification, but nothing is verified other you have paid a bit of money to CS).
Try writing your personalised CS request to explain what you have in common with your host in the first line, why you like to share time there, how can you market yourself, what will you bring, how are you moving/travelling, where you coming from and going next, each person CS profile or website (or are they just "extra baggage?", many other ways to contact you, ... And it is ok to use google translate.
"Hey" is NOT a word used to address people in NZ.
Try building your friend list by spending time in some groups and get to know some people. Send those you get to know a friend request. Have you CS in your own town? References will then come later. And always write the dates and location in the reference you write so you can look up later. And write the references while at your host. And if there are others with you, must add their web link to their own personal full CS (or other web) profiles, unless you treat them as "just another piece of luggage?" Or are you married? Or plan to all stay together for the rest of your lives. Remember, Your CS profile can be used as your main reference for jobs in the future. If you have hundreds of people from all over the world saying something about you, then what better reference can you get?
Most older profiles have had many more "hosting's and surfing's" that just the number of references recorded on CS. Try having your visitor and yourself write the references while your visitor is still there, then you know it is done, and write the date and location in the first line as when you have hundreds of exchanges, you will need a trigger of when and where.
Some ways to use CS search function that I wrote 2015:
See Napier, Hastings CS Place Location group and event pages.
Hawkes Bay CS group. https://www.couchsurfing.com/groups/7452
Facebook page "Couchsurfing Hawkes Bay".
outdoors, cycling, tramping, meeting long distance travellers.
-cycle length of Africa ?
-float back down Nile on a bicycle boat ?
-make a digital film worthy of the Banff Mountain Festival.
-then CS the world, on a bike, one couch, one family, at a time.
-enable CS working for its members. Am available and have offered to be a future CEO of CS.
-to enable humbleness worthy of a Nobel Peace Laureate.
Music, Movies, and Books
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Have four great kids, and their mother too. All grown, and growing up now. And now a grandfather November 2015 and 2017. Three of my children born at home, having to deliver my youngest.
Love you all. And your mum too.
Have delivered babies, through to buried the dead.
Registered Nurse 1984.
Injury Prevention Consultant 1988-2008.
Attended the funeral of my oldest brother, killed in the democracy riots Bangkok, THAILAND May 1992.
His Majesty King of Thailand Bhunilbol Adulyadej
graciously sponsored the funeral at Wat Trithosathep Crematorium, Bangkok. see:
visit: Wat Bowonniwet Vihara and say hello from Max please.
Also know "as the "mentor" of hitchhiking with a bike" "an ultimate way of traveling". (Max 1996). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchhiking#Reasons
My definition of hitchhiking, "the hitchhiker is there so you can do your good deed for the day". (Max 1996).
"I do not hitch hike, I share a ride with new similar minded people." (Max 2006).
"The overland traveller goes around the corner to see who there is to meet around the next corner". (Max 1996).
"The Essense, that something that cannot be explained, but only experienced". (Nicolaas Franklin, 2006).
"Been lucky to have slept on to of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, and the ghosts of the pharaohs rose that night, a story that has to be spoken, not written." mid 1979.
Trans Africa Walk for Peace Expedition 15th August, 1979-.
"Language is a terrible tool for communication". (Max 2011).
1972-73 NZ national schoolboy cycling champion. see:
past outdoor instructor and first aid instructor.
currently bicycle skills instructor, looking for a new direction.
Teach, Learn, Share
the "The Essense" of travelling.
"a term that cannot be explained, only experienced".
some say I give very nice massages, and I enjoy sharing them while we share stories of life experiences.
What I Can Share with Hosts
Countries I’ve Visited
Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Sudan, Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States
Countries I’ve Lived In
Canada, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Sudan, Sudan, Thailand