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We wish for nothing more than to escape our monotonous, American home-bred lives and experience new cultures in Europe! We are fed up with hearing wonderful stories about Europe and not having any to retort with, so we figure its time to make our own!
While some couch providers may be stuck with just one boring old couch surfer, we give the opportunity to house TWO boring American couch surfers. :) In reality, we are two adventurous individuals who are both VERY excited to experience everything we can in Europe and share cultural experiences. Taylor Penke, also from Hutchinson, MN, is another recent college graduate that I will be traveling with! We will be coming with our own sleeping bags and are more than willing to crash on the floor (I'd even sleep on rocks or gravel), as long as it means having a roof over our heads for the nights in Europe. Because we are new to traveling Europe, we are very open-minded and open to suggestions of places to visit in each town we stay in (while we think visitor's guides are just all fine and dandy, we figure the locals know MUCH more about entertaining and interesting places to visit in their hometowns than some old book could ever tell us.)
We are both very open to different philosophies, having experienced many different type of people at our respective colleges. We consider ourselves open-minded, and enjoy discussing topics that are new or foreign to us.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
Both Taylor and I are young scientists (I have a degree in Chemistry, Taylor in Biology) who are dedicated to observing as much as we can in the world around us. The human experience is limited if you are stuck in one culture and community your whole life. Visiting other countries is a way to expand our knowledge base and our appreciation for life in general. We have also both been involved in music and sports, including piano, choir, volleyball, and Quidditch.
While we haven't had any experiences yet, we have heard nothing but glowing recommendations from other fellow students about the organization and the people they have stayed with. In addition to avoiding piling on extra cost to our growing pile of debt from college, it also provides a much more natural, enriching European experience. Neither Taylor nor I wish to be the typical American tourists that visit 47 museums in every city we go and visit only the "top" tourist locations. We truly want to learn more about the culture, and CouchSurfing seems to be the best possible way to obtain that experience.
I am a HUGE fan of baseball, and try to go to and watch as many games as I can. As a student, I do spend quite a bit of time doing homework and studying, but seemm to find plenty of time to go out on the town :). I enjoy playing pick-up basketball games or virtually any other sport that I can. I LOVE reading, and have been reading many classics on my Kindle. I am also an avid music fan, and love listening to pretty much any genre (except country - yuck!).
Music, Movies, and Books
I predominately listen to American music, including rock, alternative, hip-hop, and Indie music. I personally own many movies of all genres, with my favorite being Moulin Rouge. Along with reading many contemporary books (Harry Potter, Dark Materials, Inheritance Cycle, etc.), I have also read many classics. My current favorite classical author is Alexandre Dumas, for his swashbuckling adventure novels.
Taylor enjoys many genres of music, including country, rap, and folk. His favorite movies are action/adventure and comedies, and he reads many of the same novels that I do. Right now he is reading Les Miserables.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Through my youth group, I have had the chance to go on mission trips around the United States. After Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, US, I got the chance to go down and help with the repair and outreach in the area. While I saw many depressing and terrible sights of the destruction and disparity created by Katrina, I also got the chance to experience a loving, caring community and make a positive impact on peoples' lives.
Taylor's favorite experience was visiting a biodiversity research station in the Ecuadorian rainforest. According to him, the panoramic view above the canopy of the rainforest was an unforgettable sight.
Teach, Learn, Share
In addition to answering any questions about the American experience(none are too awkward!), we are also well versed in our respective fields of Chemistry and Biology. We love to answer questions about our own field, and are generally open to any type of question. While we will be trying to learn important phrases in each language of the countries we are staying in, we are very willing to learn more of each language we encounter. Of course, we will also love to learn as much as we can about each culture we get the chance to visit.