Monday, September 24, 2012

Selling the movie rights

My local newspaper did an article on me & couchsurfing. you can view it here

I was a little hesitant at first considering my newspaper has a reputation for getting facts wrong but the article is light and positive for the CS world and hopefully it inspires more people to open their minds a bit.

Although I kind of know my fellow darwinians and so many would be shaking their head in redneck disbelief its nature of the world now that people expect the worse of everyone before even meeting them. We can blame that on the media, the politicians and the mob mentality.

Anyway now im waiting on the call from Universal Pictures for the movie adaptation :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just a typical Day in my couchsurfing world

Last night I made it home for a brief hour to organise my newest CSer. My phone had died in true smart phone fashion and I was worried about the missing him.

When I got to my house I could hear the sounds of guitar notes drifting through the air intermixed with the foreign voices of a few of my surfers. I made my way over to the area only to see the chaos before me. Beer bottles strewn everywhere with a torn up carboard box thrown onto the lawn. Bottle caps and random utensils in various spots. I raise an eyebrow at the three guys sitting innocently in their chairs staring back at me. They grinned as only three men who have been drinking beer and smoking green all day could

“Hello Amanda”

It was only 8pm and Laurent my French couchsurfer of nearly four months swayed back and forth in his chair not to anything in particular just the motion of somebody who had perhaps devoured 12+ beers in only a few hours

“What the fuck happened here” I questioned wondering what sense I would get.

It turned out they had been playing some kind of beer game and Laurent had lost. According to him Charly was very good. According to Charly, Laurent was very bad. Regardless I rolled my eyes, cracked a beer and joined them.

I had planned to sit around for just an hour and then return to my many tasks for the night but as usual I got lost in conversation and before I knew it two hours had passed, I was on my second beer and late to meet a friend. Just as I thought I would finish my beer and head off in walked a new guy with a huge backpack. It was 10pm and finally my missing surfer had arrived.

I settled him in quickly, showed him briefly around, gave him a set of a keys and then raced off to my appointment I was already an hour late for. And that was just a typical night/day in the Couchsurfing house Malak.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saving the world with Social Media.

Once again its R U OK day which is aimed towards reaching out to people in your vicinity of all backgrounds to ask them if they are ok. Many people at risk of suicide suffer silently.
A friend of mine mentioned how this one day vigilantism didn’t help anyone. And that it was slightly annoying. It seems that every day is something day, suicide, remembrance, humanitarian. You know I actually relate to him. There are hundreds no thousands of people out there who will be all up in a cause for a day and then when that day is over they forget. With social media its become more evident the amount of one day freedom fighters around the world. Perhaps 90% of people that share these causes will never give another thought until the day goes around again.

Does anyone remember KONY 2012? You know that video you shared that accomplished nothing. Ok that’s a bit of a rare case because that was a ridiculous cause that was never going to get solved by public pressure in fact was already getting solved to the best of the abilities of international intervention.

What if for every 1000 people that share the cause one person listens? And that one person finds the cause that they are passionate about. There are tales of people who changed the world by fighting for what they were passionate about. Martin Luthor King for example. Whilst sometimes these one day vigilantes gets on my nerves I try to look past that and see the positivity and realise that if just one person’s world could be changed, one person’s life could be saved than all the social media spam I spent the day looking at was worth it.

Everybody is different and everybody has their own battles to fight. Some have none and you know that’s their choice. Mine is quite evident since the amount of work I do for asylum seekers rights, the political spam I fill my Facebook page with. My ultimate mission is global equality but I can’t change the world – but I can change one person’s world. And for every person’s eyes I can open to global equality and dismiss cultural stereotypes and fears that’s one more step towards my goal.

And suicide is something I feel strongly about mostly because I’ve felt the pain of being a survivor. When my partner committed suicide I was ignorant. The signs were all there and I ignored them. I spent a long time suffering and I would never wish that kind of pain on anyone. I would do anything I could to prevent other people going through what I did. So yes I will join the bandwagon and promote awareness. And I hope that I can reach at least one person that matters.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Couchsurfing family

A Maltese girl I met through one of my CSers who turned out to be quite the couchsurfer herself mentioned to my surfer “I don’t know how you can surf there, its to awesome I would never do anything or go to bed.”

To which my surfer replies “now you see my problem!”
Sam an English guy who surfed my couch back in December 2011 wrote in my guestbook “I’m sure Darwin is a great place but I never saw it because I couldn’t get off the awesome balcony chatting with the other couchsurfers”
Last night I was sitting downstairs drinking a bad german beer with three of my couchsurfers. Dan from California, Anders from Denmark & Charly from France.

Californian Dan proceeded to drunkenly inform me how I was Couchsurfing Northern Territory. I was the most experienced host/surfer in the whole of the NT. I guess its quite a feat to be the most experienced host in the whole of a region and I do have a few hosts not far behind me. But there is only 250,000 people in the whole of the Northern Territory so its not like I’m trying to be the most experienced host in California or anything.

Dan stood up and looked towards the balcony, the balcony of awesome. And he said “Imagine how many people have stood right here. How many surfers have passed through these gates” Dan was having a bit of a drunken spiritual moment I have felt time and time again when I stare out at the tents parked under my house and contemplate just how lucky I am to be given the chance to meet these people.

But sitting there listening to my three long term surfers rattle on drunk about the amazing stories and experiences that would have happened under my roof it I couldn’t help but think its not just me and my real life family who created this epic story it’s the surfers who passed through. I pride myself on my ability to select awesome people and time and time again I am rewarded. Each season I create a new family plucked from various countries that somehow all meld together despite being completely different. Its these connections that create the vibe that resonates through the house and creates the legend of the couchsurfing house in Malak.

Probably my first real CS family was a bit of a mixed bag of Gypsies. July 2010. You would have the frenchies Pierre, Greg & Eric & their token female Flavia the loud & proud Italian. Then there was Ilona the overly talkative German who became my CS protégé and European sister. The Morgans, a French couple with the same name sort of slid in there as well. Jon the American riding the country on his motorbike. I couldn’t forget Jordan! Who has his own CS bedroom now two years down the track we still refer to as ‘Jordans Room’. Where is that book? Oh its in Jordans Room. Then Kevin the crazy hippy surfy French guy who kept us with a constant supply of crepes in the cupboard. Of course there was also Tom the strange swiss guy who learnt English in Indonesia and kept us interested with tales of accidently blowing up cows with artillery tanks. And then Dominik, the slowest german in the world who started so innocently in Australia and ended up one of the biggest vagabond hippies ever on his exit two years later. We had crazy camping adventures, nights out in the city, raves on the beach, snake catching expeditions.

I can’t write all the families because there has been so many. I remember one particular day on the balcony in 2011 with A couple from USA Kat & Jeff, Ben from Couchsurfing (and also Scotland), Claire from the UK, Tal & Eran from Israel & Philipp my favourite crazy German statistic and Kat said to me “Its incredible how you can have all these different unique people in one place and it just works so well” Its effortless the combination of personalities.

Many hosts talk about that empty feeling when you say goodbye to somebody you make a connection with. Because hosting is temporary eventually one day they will all leave. And that empty feeling affects me considerably. But each time I think I will never have that connection again a new surfer walks through my door and a new surfer family is created. I never forget my past families and I hold a spot for each of them in my heart. I know I will see many of them again.

Its comforting in a way to know that all around the world I have family and that I will never be alone when I travel.

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family