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Shake out of complacency.....(need to).
Briefly, couchsurfing (which was revealed to me by my dear, late friend, Jamie, from Hawaii) has had a profound, positive, lasting impact on my life. I can say much more about this at another time.
I have lived in the US for the past 30 years. I have travelled to 45 or 50 countries. It's been a great way to broaden my horizons and see what people all around the world consider a "good life". I have learned more than ever to live and let live.
I went to Africa where I saw the wonders of ancient Egypt and the beautiful wildlife of Kenya. Then Thailand, starting in Chiang Mai (loved it - mostly because of my CS host) and then made my way south to the beautiful islands. Then it was Malaysia (KL and Melaka). After Singapore came Bali. What a beautiful place; I fell in love with it. Hosted my first CS gathering in Ubud, Bali, to celebrate my birthday. 25 CSers showed up! Just like that. Finally Kowloon and Hong Kong to end that particular trip.
This amazing personal journey of discovery and growth continued. New countries explored were Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Tibet (life-changing experience really), Nepal. Then I went to live on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand for nearly 6 months.
I then explored Eastern Europe (Serbia and Ukraine) and Russia (want to return when it's warmer).
Next and final part of the journey saw me on a cruise of the Yasawa Islands of Fiji, then Hong Kong, Macau, a bit of mainland China again (Dongguan), and finally the Philippines at the very end. The tarsier monkey was the highlight in Bohol!
For the past 4 years, I've settled in Palo Alto, California.....the beating heart of Silicon Valley and home to Stanford University. Still loving it. Feels like home.
Live and let live. 6.7 billion of us and just one Earth. The middle way is the best.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
Meet people to reduce misconceptions and prejudices. Take the "middle way". Make new friendships through CS. Maintain them on Facebook or through other venues. Tell everyone I meet about how CS is not about a free place to crash but a cultural exchange medium and a way of life. Don't abuse it!
I'm low-maintenance and conscientious. Have had great CS experiences in Chiang Mai, Phuket, KL, Melaka, Singapore, Bali, Hong Kong, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Saigon, China, Tibet, Nepal, Serbia, Russia, Philippines, and Hong Kong. Also Fiji. Have also made many new CSer friends along the way.
Buddhist monasteries and temples, multicultural places/events/ideas, warm & aquamarine waters, scuba diving, hiking, trying new cuisines, films/movies that stimulate the mind/imagination, digital photography, meeting open minded and interested/interesting people. I like words and languages. Writing is a persistent (though sporadic) hobby.
Music, Movies, and Books
Love Actually, Blade Runner, Sideways, Lost in Translation, LOTR, Dirty Pretty Things, Children of Men, Master and Commander, The English Patient, Blood Diamond, Wedding Crashers, Gladiator, V for Vendetta, Scent of a Woman, The Truman Show, Luck by Chance (Bollywood), Inside Job, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Ex Machina.
Documentaries: Civil War, Story of India, Emperor of all maladies.
Books: Lonely Planet (all of them); many others (just ask me).
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
How about a few.....
--The starriest sky from atop Mauna Kea mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was above the clouds and looking up at the milky way feeling the cold breeze in my face.
--Spending a night in Kalaupapa, the fearsome yet beautiful peninsula off Molokai that was once home to thousands of leprosy-sufferers.
--Bungy jumped in Phuket from 50 meters. It was one of the most frightening things I've ever done. Also one of the most enervating.
--In Bali, came close to two giant manta rays while scuba diving in pristine waters. Came within 2 meters of a big mola mola in Nusa Penida!
--Spent the night freezing at Everest Base Camp in a tent (my water bottle had transformed into solid ice) and then woke up to a clear morning view of nature's boldest achievement.
--More recently, Burning Man a couple of years ago (thanks, Lauren, my first CS host, for bringing it back into my consciousness). Looking to repeat. I find many of the principles between CS and BM either similar or complimentary.
Teach, Learn, Share
"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." --Eric Hoffer (American philosopher)
"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." --Louis L'Amour (American novelist of Westerns)
"When faced with adversity, be thankful, for such opportunities come by not so often." --Dharma Master Cheng Yen (from Taiwan)
"Between ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there lies a field....I'll meet you there." --Rumi
"Everything beautiful is cracked; that's how the light gets in." --Leonard Cohen
"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." --Zora Neale Hurston
"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long." (From the movie, "Blade Runner")
"Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and yet your eyes are on the ground." --Dante Alighieri
"You're not experiencing suffering. You're suffering experiencing." (Meditation class participant, Palo Alto)
“The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” (James Allen, British author)
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." (Upton Sinclair)
"Nothing dollarable is safe." (John Muir)
"Teach the essence of freedom from grasping and call it what you like." (Ajahn Cha)
"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." -- TS Eliot
"The sufis taught that people should strive to be with god w/o any attachment. "(Story of India, BBD Documentary)
"Turn towards it [desire] and rest in it. " (Gil Fronsdal, mindfulness meditation teacher, Redwood City)
What I Can Share with Hosts
My experiences, good humor, some wit. ;)