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I was born and raised in New York City. When people tell me how cool that is, I tell them, "Yes, I chose my parents carefully."
I got some education (Harvard, NYU) and along the way I lived for three years at International House (http://www.ihouse-nyc.org), a residence for full-time graduate students and young professionals doing internships where over 75% of the 700 residents are from outside the US. Living there is what made me want to travel.
After being laid off from a soul-crushing job, I got my passport stamped for the first time in my life in July 2009 in... Iceland! And then I went crazy to make up for the previous lack of travel in my life: 3.5 months in Scandinavia and Western Europe, 6.5 months in Asia, 1.5 weeks in Colombia, 65 cities, 25 countries.
During this time, I:
- learned not to be afraid of the unknown
- did a lot of touristic things
- did many non-touristic things
- learned what a hostel is (really, I didn't know before that!)
- rode the European trains an average of once a week (nearly got stranded in the middle of Czech Republic)
- discovered Couchsurfing
- danced salsa in almost every city I went to
- DJed salsa in: Reykjavik, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Walsall (near Birmingham), Bangkok, Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai
- lived for 5 months in Malaysia as part of a failed effort to establish myself as a salsa DJ and instructor in Southeast Asia
Best year of my life!!!
I returned to NYC in 2010 and made friends from all over the world as a substitute for travel until I left to be an expat again... :-)
Recently I traveled again for 4 months: 2 months in Guangzhou, China; 3 weeks in Melbourne, Australia; 3 weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 1 week in Cebu, Philippines. Not as much fun as the 2009-2010 trip (I got arrested and went through dengue fever in Malaysia), but I did get to swim with whale sharks.
"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." (Winston Churchill)
Pure capitalism sucks too. But it does suck less than pure socialism or pure communism. There should be some kind of mix. Let's say that I am anti-extremism in any form.
Corporations should not have the same rights as actual humans. Religion should not have any role in government (about that I am an extremist). Government should not have any say in who has sex with or marries who, as long as it is consensual. Especially when those who advocate such laws are usually violating those laws themselves...
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
At first I thought Couchsurfing couldn't possibly be something sensible or sane to do, but now that I've been a part of it since August 2009, it is an insanely great community that I love being a part of.
From January 2012 - September 2015, I organized and hosted the Thursday night weekly meetup, and many other events. In the process I met literally thousands of people from all over the world, and occasionally I hosted.
There is also a Facebook page (where I am one of many admins) for the NYC Couchsurfing community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nyc.couchsurfing/
I've surfed 12 times and hosted about 45 people so far. My experience of Couchsurfing has been awesome, with one minor surfing exception. I hope that you can contribute more awesome experiences. If you want to stay with me (I do host people on occasion), you must tell me approximately where I live (hint: it is not actually in Manhattan).
- drinking wine, preferably red (I developed my taste for red wine while I was in Europe), but my favorite is a good vinho verde
- picnics in the park
- drinking wine at picnics in the park
- drinking wine at the home of a friend rather than a bar
- Preferably vegetarian food for reasons of health, climate change, sustainability, and pollution... but it's not a religion.
- Foreign foods, especially typical foods. I would much rather eat in a food stall in Asia than in a good restaurant in the US. :)
- Theater: I've seen The Book of Mormon, Wicked (5x), Les Miserables, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Motown, In The Heights (2x), The Lion King, Ragtime, Chicago, Mary Poppins, Avenue Q (2x), The Addams Family, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot, Hair, Rent (2x), Baby It's You, Bullets Over Broadway, Memphis, Stomp, Blue Man Group, Guys and Dolls, and probably a few others that I've forgotten...
- If you dance salsa "on 2" (New York style), let me know, we'll go out dancing (or at the least, I'll tell you where to go). If you dance salsa on 1 (LA style), we could still dance. But if you don't know how to really dance salsa (and I am just being honest here), please don't offer to go dancing with me... you really can't learn how to salsa dance in a few hours... or even a few days. :/
- Movies of all types except horror (yes, even chick flicks), particularly foreign ones where I have to read subtitles
- Good conversation and travel stories
Oh, and... traveling. :D
Music, Movies, and Books
Movies: The Princess Bride; Up; Amélie; Ong-bak; Thank You For Smoking; Office Space; Gladiator; El Laberinto Del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth); Ondine; Shall We Dance? (original Japanese version).
TV: The Walking Dead; Veep, House of Cards, Silicon Valley
Books: One Hundred Years of Solitude; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Like Water For Chocolate; The Kite Runner; Wicked. Last book I read: A House for Mr Biswas (that was a depressing book).
- FANIA, El Gran Combo, Sonora Poncena, Hector Lavoe (70s salsa)
- Cheesy -- I mean awesome -- music from the 1980s
- some current Top 40 stuff (it's popular for a reason, right?)
Podcasts: This American Life; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; The Moth.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
When I was in the Philippines in May 2015, I visited Oslob, I swam with whale sharks: https://goo.gl/photos/wj5riprxNgPTnRZW6
In July of 2015, I was a model in the 2nd annual NYC Bodypainting Day: https://goo.gl/photos/XziXMxLqTKjhT1z97
8 days of dengue fever in Malaysia.
Teach, Learn, Share
I can teach English (I am an excellent grammarian, and know the language very well) and Spanish, although Spanish is not my mother tongue.
I want to learn the word "cheers" in as many languages as possible. I'm up to about 17.
What I Can Share with Hosts
I am not sure why they have this section. I hope you can figure it out from the rest of my profile.
Countries I’ve Visited
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand
Countries I’ve Lived In
China, Malaysia, United States