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I've found that there are so many layers of self-awareness and personal growth - it's a continuous process, and I find it really valuable. The best way to grow is to confront yourself with others that have a different background from yourself. That's why I want to host - to learn a lot about you, to get to know you, but also to learn a lot about myself. And of course because there's loads of things to do and have a lot of fun doing those :)
I love to sport (hiking, running, swimming, cycling,...), I really enjoy nature and love exploring and identifying birds, butterflies, mammals and so on along the way! I also love to have long talks about the deeper things in life, which is strengthened by the fact that I'm trying to be a sensitive and sympathetic person, ready to help anyone out who needs me and volunteering for everything that seems important to me.
I also really like to put a lot of effort in things I find challenging and interesting (like my scientific work, or studying nature).
However, that doesn't mean I'll be fatiguing you with endless stories - I also love to relax, be calm, and take the time to really listen to others. You are welcome whatever state of mind you are in. The only thing that puts me off is people who are particularly egocentric and are not open to others, although I cannot imagine that anyone like that is on CS.
My personal philosophy is that you should live your life to the fullest, but making sure that everyone after you is able to do the same things (and more). What I mean by that is that it's awesome to explore the world in every way, but try to reduce your impacts (airplanes, eating a lot of meat,...) just so everyone after you can enjoy it in the same way! It's really easy once you're used to it, and CouchSurfing fits in just magically!
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I've been participating a lot in CouchSurfing during my time in Johannesburg, where we really created a lot of the fun events there. I'm quite sure we started up the whole CouchSurfing there, which won't stop very soon! These were my first experiences, and there I learnt that a platform which lets you get into touch with locals is the very best way to travel and learn local habits and culture.
So whether you're new to CS or a guru, you're welcome to stay in my place. When surfing, I'm generally looking for a place to stay where people want to exchange experiences rather than just offering a free bed.
It's really a friend who has brought me into contact with CouchSurfing, but I've always loved the idea that there is a platform for travellers to meet locals and change the travelling experience altogether.
So far I've been in Jo'burg (South Africa), where we had a lot of good times creating events open to all, including going out, going to musea, or just having a lazy night at someone's place.
I also hosted some people in Ghent, my home town. I always try to make some free time for surfers, and show them around.
A few years ago, before I went to university, I wasn't really that interested in anything. Outside of the huge problem of climate change - which I read, but didn't really do anything about - I didn't care for most things, which is a phase most adolescents go through. Except for me, it lingered, especially since there was very little to challenge me in my home town.
Coming to university and meeting people that are motivated to make a change made all the difference. It changed my mind-set, which was (for me) a difficult process: I had to open up, look at myself in a different way, realize that there is only one person responsible for the way you live live: yourself. So I got myself going as a volunteer in environmental and nature-oriented organisations (such as JNM, the Jeugdbond voor Natuur en Milieu), I wanted to change things work in the world (my PhD is about how to recover valuable raw materials from waste like urine), and the process of discovering layers of human personality is forever ongoing.
I like to think that this allows me to be open and interested in whatever you want to throw at me, although this is not always the case (everyone is entitled on an off-day). Everyone is different, but I'm definitely open to take a shot at it. When surfing, take the time to read everyone's profile, and choose whoever you feel best with - otherwise, you won't find the experience you're looking for!
Music, Movies, and Books
OK, I see I've been writing a lot of stuff, so I'll keep this one brief:
Music: depends on my mood, can be anything from metal to dance, but I like stuff like the soundtrack of Into the Wild, Daft Punk, Queens of the Stone Age, Absynthe Minded,...
Movies: you know you've seen a good movie if it changes the way you see things (examples: Ciudade de Deus, Into the Wild,...)
Books: I love to read John Steinbeck, Khaled Hosseini,... Storytellers with a real insight in human nature, that can write a story which can haunt you, motivate you, hurt you,...
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
One of the things that has really hit me like a brick was reading 'East of Eden' by John Steinbeck. The story is situated in the late 1700's, early 1800's in the USA and really talks about daily interactions between people, but is written with so much insight in human nature that it just made me feel like there was so much left to know and do - perhaps it even inspired me to start working on making myself a better person and the world a better place.
Another thing that really changed me was getting to know people with a strong view on life, vision and insight in whatever goes around. I really can't thank them enough for opening my eyes for a world where anything can be done with a group of motivated people.
Teach, Learn, Share
I think one of the things I've learned in Johannesburg, which is the complete other side of the world from where I live, that people are the same everywhere. Obviously, the cultures are different, but if you keep an open mind, a light heart and a happy spirit, you can be loved everywhere and can penetrate even the most closed of societies.
Another thing I personally feel is quite important is that everyone looks at everything from their own perspective. They see the world through their eyes, but everything is filtered by their glasses, which are filled with past experiences, personal beliefs and your personality. When dealing with others, it's good to be aware of the fact that this perspective is there - from there, you can change your own perspective and not feel left out, sad or demotivated.
From a more practical point of view: I can teach you how bikes work and some stuff you've always wanted to know about science.
I'm really looking forward to meeting you, and please tell me what you're good at, so I can learn something new!
What I Can Share with Hosts
See Teach, Learn, Share!
Countries I’ve Visited
Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lesotho, Malta, Mozambique, South Africa, Spain, Turkey
Countries I’ve Lived In
Belgium, South Africa