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Hi! Thanks for reading my profile! My name is Thomas and I'm a Canadian. I was born in Winnipeg, which is pretty much right in the centre of Canada, but mostly grew up in Southern Alberta, which is sunny and mostly flat. I recently moved back to Alberta after living in Montreal for a couple of years for my Master's degree in Geography. However, I was only back for a couple of months before buying a one-way flight to Tunisia. I'm currently on a long bicycle adventure through Europe, Turkey, and the Caucasus.
I am tidy yet relaxed. Organized yet forgetful. I smoke occasionally but I wouldn't call myself a "smoker". I'm slightly left-wing on many, but not all issues, and enjoy discussing how best to achieve goals of social and environmental justice. I also like to have fun, I like to dance, and I love laughing. I like being silly, saying things that don't necessarily make much sense, feeling rejuvenated by the stimulation that arises with the meeting of new people under everyday circumstances, and making up improvised songs about how the world needs more sweater vests made from dried banana peels.
Recently, I've found that over the course of the last decade I've become a scientist. As a result, I often find myself thinking critically and being more honest than is considered by other Canadians to be tactful. I completed a BSc in Environmental Science in 2011. While there, I was involved with a number of research programs (including hummingbird foraging behaviour, effects of bison landscape disturbance on biodiversity, prairie dust storm prevalence, psychology of risky behaviours, plant leaf water use efficiency, and an honour's thesis in structural glaciology). Following my bachelor's, I hit the road for India and Nepal for 5 months, then spent 4 months in Europe, and the summer cycling 2500 km from Winnipeg to Montreal. While in southern India, I fell in love with Kerala, which was the focus of my Master's research. I've traveled to India 3 times now for both fun and research, and have spent nearly a year there altogether.
'Glorious', said Steerpike, 'is a dictionary word. We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect. In dead and shackled language, my dears, you ARE glorious, but oh, to give vent to a brand new sound that might convince you of what I really think of you, as you sit there in your purple splendour, side by side! But no, it is impossible. Life is too fleet for onomatopoeia. Dead words defy me. I can make no sound, dear ladies, that is apt.'
'You could try,' said Clarice. 'We aren't busy.'
Goethe: Treat people as if they were what they ought to be.
Yes, and perhaps it was not merely simpler and more human to live a Goldmund-life in the world. Perhaps in the end it was more valiant, and greater in God's sight, to breast the currents of reality, sin, and accept sin's bitter consequence, instead of standing apart, with well-washed hands, living in sober quiet security, planting a pretty garden of well-trained thoughts, and walking then, in stainless ignorance, among them - the sheltered beds of a little paradise. It was harder perhaps, and needed a stouter heart to walk with broken shoes through the forest-glades, to trudge the roads, suffer rain and snow, want and drought, playing all the games of the senses, and paying one's losses with much grief.
-Herman Hesse, Narziss and Goldmund
Faith is something very different from belief. Belief is the systematic taking of unanalyzed words much too seriously. Paul's words, Mohammed's words, Marx's words, Hitler's words---people take them too seriously, and what happens? What happens is the senseless ambivalence of history---sadism versus duty, or (incomparably worse) sadism as duty; devotion counterbalanced by organized paranoia; sisters of charity selflessly tending the victims of their own church's inquisitors and crusaders. Faith, on the contrary, can never be taken too seriously. For Faith is the empirically justified confidence in our capacity to know who in fact we are, to forget the belief-intoxicated Manichee in Good Being.
-Aldous Huxley, Island
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I think Couchsurfing is an excellent resource and a beautiful idea. I have both surfed and hosted many times, and plan on continuing to do so whenever I get the chance. That said, there are many people who take advantage of the system. I'm not here to say what Couchsurfing "should" or "should not" be, but I can promise that I am very opinionated on the matter.
Don't expect a polite response (if any) if you're going to send me a copy/paste message that doesn't even include my name. This isn't a free hotel service - it is an opportunity to find someone who you think, for whatever reason, could make a good friend.
Here is one of my blogs, which has some accounts of the people I've met while Couchsurfing: ephemeralfamilies.blogspot.com.
Here is my travel blog from when I cycled from Winnipeg to Montreal and surfed along the way: ursinefervour.wordpress.com.
And my website, with more stuff: arcadius.org
Cycling, Chess, Yoga, Beer, Reading/Writing, Academia (landscape ecology, food security, biodiversity), Music (play enough guitar to get by on stage).
I'm also interested in travel. I don't travel to see the sights, which makes me an easy guest. I travel first to meet the people, second to learn about the place from these people (what they think, what they do, how they do it) and third to eat the food.
This is why couchsurfing is so important to me. It is all about people. Making peace and connections and laughter. Discovering our similarities and embracing our differences.
*Use the word 'gambol' in your request to increase your chances of being hosted!
Music, Movies, and Books
Music: The Magnetic Fields, The Mountain Goats, The Wooden Sky, Electroswing, Tallest Man on Earth, The Kinks, Del Barber, Leonard Cohen, RRA,
Books: Narcissus and Goldmund, Gormenghast, The Third Policeman, A Fine Balance, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About, Le Petit Prince, The Giver, Flowers for Algernon, The Dice Man, Island
Movies: As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Done: Smiled so much that my cheeks hurt.
Seen: Rain. All types of rain. It can be so beautiful and yet so sad at the same time.
Teach, Learn, Share
I can teach: guitar, chess, yoga, swing dancing, cooking, traveling, English, basic French, science.
I want to (and plan to) learn: piano, singing, to make bread, computer programming, Spanish or Italian (or both), all kinds of dancing, harmonica, music theory.
I can share: anything in my big blue backpack (and for those less materialistic: love and knowledge)!
Countries I’ve Visited
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Laos, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United States, Vatican City State, Viet Nam, Wales
Countries I’ve Lived In
Canada, Germany, India, United Kingdom, United States