CouchSurfing – it is the art of hospitality, which is now practiced more than 6 million people worldwide. Kauchserfer staying in the owner’s home a couple of days or more – depending on pre-specified conditions. They communicate with each other online special non-profit organization, which operates in 33 languages.
1. Keniyas Hichaaba, 23, Maun, Botswana
23-year-old Keniyas lives in a small house on two rooms. In the first there are two chairs, a TV console and audio system, kitchenette and sofa bed, where I slept for three nights. The second room has two chairs, a small closet and a double mattress that Keniyas shares with her younger brother and mother. Bathrooms in the house, no, he is on the street, one in five people living in a small building. Instead of a shower – a bucket.
Keniyasa father died several years ago, and now he – head of the family. He is very religious, by faith – and Pentecostal studies at the Bible school in Maun, Botswana. He has a dream: to become more charismatic priest.
“I believe in the soul such useful properties as healing, talking in different languages and prophecy. I pray a lot and learn, and I am sure that one day these gifts manifest in me. ” In the three days that I spent at his house, I began to suspect that the TV broadcast only one channel. There’s always shown Emmanuel TV – channel with religious services and hymns. Every day colo 15:00 Keniyas takes his synthesizer, sits in front of the TV and begins to play and sing with him.
2. Berglind Gunnarsdottir, 33, Reykjavik, Iceland.
I arrived in Reykjavik on Saturday, about an hour a night. In the correspondence we agreed when and where to meet and Berglind sent me a card that I got to the disco bar in the city center. “How do I know you?” – I asked her, and she replied: “Do not worry, it will not be difficult, I am a woman in red.”
I came to Klub22 taxi and went inside with my big backpack. Red hair, red dress, red lacquer, red shoes and stockings. No, it really was not hard to find. We danced until 5 am, and then went to her home, where she lived red cat and almost everything was red. In addition to love this color Berglind – architect. I wonder what color the houses she designs!
3. Tom and Jane, Bangkok, Thailand.
Tom Hom 33 years old, he has always lived in Bangkok, where he was born. Mary Jane 31 years old, she was born in the countryside in the north of the country and lives in just a few years. Tom and Jane live together, work and study music, but they are not a couple. They both work for the magazine «Penthouse Asia». Tom – photographer and photographed every week, at least two beautiful naked women, and Jane – stylist that prepares them for the shooting.
“We like to work together. We have the same taste in the style of the 70s, and we always think alike, “- they said. They both love music and about a year ago with my friends decided to put together a group called SOD (Simple of Detail – Simplicity details). Just a few months, they have become celebrities in Bangkok. They will play two concerts a week, in both large and small halls. Their performances are funny, ironic and like something in the style of Austin Powers. Recently, they signed a contract with Warner, and you can find them on Facebook at email@example.com
4. Buckley Barratt, 30, American Fork, Utah, USA.
Buckley family of Mormons. He was born and raised in Utah, but at age 23 left their native lands with his girlfriend. Now he is married and has taught in elementary school. Buckley plays the guitar and piano. Despite the fact that he does not have his own group, his best friends – professional musicians, and he often writes songs for them. He loves Tom Waits, and I gave him albums Vinicio Kaposelly and Gianmaria tests – two Italian singers and songwriters.
5. Caroline and Ellen Presbury, Blue Mountains, Australia.
Sister Caroline (24) and Ellen (20 years old) were born in Ktumbe, in the Blue Mountains of Australia. They grew up in a large family of five sisters and two brothers. They were the first people from the community kauchserferov who were with me in Tuscany, before I went on a journey. I met with them in the summer of 2010, when they traveled through France and Italy. They stayed with me for 4 days. Now the sisters are going to move to Sydney. They found an apartment in Surrey Hills and preparing to move. Caroline wants to start in the school of art and photography, and Ellen – to study economics.
6. Dayyus Daniel, 24, Miami, Florida.
Daniel was born in Chicago, where he spent the first 10 years of his life, before moving with his family to northern Florida. For two years, he lives in Miami, where he studied photography and art. As soon as I stepped over the threshold of his house, I realized that the owner of this home – an athlete. The room had a bike, soccer ball, surfboards, skateboards and snowboards.
I have good friends in Miami, and I was planning to stay with them, but before the arrival they called me and said that they will not accept me. I looked for solutions online kauchserferov sending four requests. Half an hour Daniel answered and said that he did not stop the problem. The next morning I arrived at his house, where guests two days and slept on the super-comfortable air mattress.
7. Come Elaine, 22, Kekava, Latvia.
Elaine was born in Riga 22 years ago and grew up with his parents and grandparents in Kekava – a small town 40 km from the capital, which is also called “chicken village” because there are many poultry. Half of her extended family lives in the U.S., and she visits her relatives once a year. Elaine speaks English very well, because in 17 years, she left her village to study in England, where two years attended school pictures. Now her parents live in Riga, and she returned to England after Kekava to his grandparents, who have retired and are engaged in agriculture. “I feel it is my real home. I love helping my grandparents in their greenhouse with tomatoes or in the garden. So I feel in touch with nature. ”
8. Erlend Oh, 36 years, Bergen, Norway.
“Before, I also engaged in CouchSurfing, it was funny,” – so I said Erlend when we accidentally met in a bar in Bergen, and I told him about my project. “Last summer I spent in Sicily and many times read your column because my Italian friends discharged Journal Repubblica». You can not imagine how I was surprised: Erlend Oh, singer of the band Kings of Convenience, and one of my favorite – The Whitest Boy Alive – saw my photos and know my story. I was so happy. And this happiness continued when he invited me to his house: “Come to me for breakfast tomorrow, I can one day become again kauchserferom and a part of your history – my Sicilian friends will be glad when they see me in the magazine!”
9. Faizel Nizam, 30 years, Dubai, UAE.
When I asked Faisel, where he was born, he replied: “I was born into this world, and the first thing I remember – I was on a Superman costume, and I jumped from a high wall with eyes closed. I wanted to know how it is – to fly. ”
Faizel was born in Dubai and grew up there 17 years, until the parents sent him to study in the U.S., Florida. “They wanted me to study economics, but I hated school and learned nothing from the past four years in the United States. Everything I learned, I took from my own experience and from the amazing people who met during this time. ”
At 21, he contacted the drug, and was forced to leave the U.S. and return home. Now he teaches the staff at the airport. He started as an porter and gradually climbed up the ladder in the Dubai airport. “Now I’m completely different. I hope for mankind, I have a great family, and I can not wait, when I meet someone with whom I can share life. ”
10. Massoulié Leticia, 41, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Thinking of Brazil, just imagine beaches, palm trees, carnival and dancing people. However, once you arrive in Sao Paulo, disappointing. These concrete jungle – unquiet heart of the Brazilian economy and culture and one of the largest cities in the world. Local rich people move through the air: can often be seen as a regular helicopter flies past your window.
Leticia came from Minas Gerais in the south-east of the country and lives in São Paulo, with 12 years, but never flown in a helicopter. She holds legal sciences, and for 10 years Leticia practicing as a lawyer – “feminist lawyer,” she says. Together with her colleagues, she worked on new laws on women’s rights. But three years ago she gave up the practice to do their favorite hobbies: cooking. Now she has a small cafe, cooking school and one of the most popular culinary blogs in the country (www.cozinhadamatilde.com.br).
11. Yonglan Bai, 28 years old, Xian, China.
Bai was born in Xi’an – Chinese city, famous for its terracotta army. He grew up, like most Chinese children in small towns, helping parents in their small business. In 15 years, met a German guy who traveled around China, Bai decided he wanted to learn English, too, so that one day travel. A degree at the university, he decided to study further, to get even a degree in international relations. But his parents refused to pay for their studies, as thought that it is not necessary. Bai asked a friend to take him money. Now he is a little to give back, laboring English teacher in your area. He earns about 200 yuan a week. To pay the entire debt, he needed 35,000.
Bai survives in the so-called ‘workers’ homes in the city. They look like large apartment buildings, but on each floor about 20 rooms and one bathroom and a kitchen on the floor. Hygiene in this place leaves much to be desired. Bai loves CouchSurfing because so he can communicate with foreigners to practice English and learn more about the foreign culture. His room – 3×4 meter. It has a bed, a desk and a mountain of clothes, books and other things on the floor. Guest he pulls inflatable mattress. There I slept on the floor next to his bed for three nights, sharing the kitchen and bathroom with 20 Chinese students.
12. Nani Markaraze, 29 years old, Barara, Fiji Islands.
Nani lives with her husband and two children in a house made of corrugated metal. At the time of my arrival she was 8 months pregnant. She has the internet, she loves CouchSurfing, and the last two years in her guest house about 60 people. On a wall of the house leaning against a large inflatable mattress, which she puts on the floor at the entrance of the house when there is a guest.
The house temperature rarely drops below 30 degrees and the humidity is always high. Do not sweat it is simply impossible, even if the whole day to sit and not move. The house is far from the sea (about 6 km – a record for the Fiji Islands). Shower – is rainwater collected in water tanks on the roof, which merges into the pipe passing through the hole in the bathroom ceiling.
Barely crossed the threshold of the house, I wanted to get away from there, but after an hour, imbued with a special atmosphere of goodness and joy in the house these wonderful, happy, bright and ordinary people, I felt their family. The days I spent with Nani, her husband and two children in their home made of corrugated metal, were truly magnificent.
13. Lamine, 27 years old, Gudivaye, Senegal.
In Dakar I arrived on a Friday evening. I took a taxi to Gudivaye – northern suburbs. Lamine and his brother Karim already waiting for me. Half an hour we were in pitch darkness. “Every night at 10 o’clock cut off electricity to 5 am,” – said Lamine. When they reached the house, I realized that I sleep in the house, I will not. I was put in the studio Xoslu Vision – their cultural association which organizes hip-hop concerts and art exhibitions. This is a room in an empty building with one mattress and two chairs: “There is no water, will wash in the fountain on the street.” The first night was the worst experience of my CouchSurfing for 15 months of travel. I was scared. I could not sleep. But I spent the day with Lamine and his brother. Students, young musicians are very good people who immediately made me feel part of their family.
14. Mohammed and Mossi, 20 and 22 years old, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Mohammed 20 years, and it is more for the “Inter”, perhaps even more than the club’s owner. In his wardrobe only t-shirts, mostly in black and blue stripes. His 22-year-old sister also lives Mossy football, but it is not as passionate cheerleader. They were both born and raised in Dar es Salaam, of which never left, except for a short holiday. The economic situation in his family is normal, perhaps even above average in the country. “When my father decided to install satellite TV, it was one of his best gifts to me. Now I do not need to go to the bar to watch a football match and I myself can choose what I want to see the match. I started rooting for the “Inter”, when there started to play my favorite football player Eto’o, and since then I have not stopped supporting them, “- said Moammed. “I watch movies in the original, to improve my English. Once I even saw the film in Italian with subtitles. I even cried, “- added the Mossi.
15. Boxing Mai, Bangkok, Thailand.
Mai, the guy in white, 24 years old, he was already a member of the community year kauchserferov. Boxing 36 – Mai and he boyfriend for two years. They both work in the same vendors mall where Mai sells books and Boxing – clothes. But they met on the Internet, on a gay site, just a few weeks before Mai moved to Bangkok from northern Thailand in search of work. Two o’clock they had the conversations to begin to meet every evening in the bar in the city center. Seeing each other, they immediately fell in love.
“I have no doubt. I love boxing and always knew about their orientation – says Mai. – But sometimes it is not easy to think that he was married to a woman as much as 8 years old. ” They plan to move in together soon. However, Mai feels guilty that have not confessed to his family: “Mom, can, and understand, but the father is unlikely. He is a man of the old school and waiting for me to come home with a pretty girl. I’m sorry, sooner or later, he will be disappointed. ”
16. Olga, 22, Odessa, Ukraine.
Surely you’ve heard about people who have free hug strangers on the streets. Lena – one of them. She was born on 21 years ago in the countryside, and in 2008 moved to Odessa. She works as a waitress in a restaurant. In his spare time, Lena took to the streets with a sign “free hugs.”
“You would not believe how many people stay. Sounds like a lot, too many people do not get the love they need. Sometimes when I hug them, they start to cry, some returned half an hour later, to embrace again, thinking that I had forgotten them. ”
Lena does not smoke, does not drink, he tries to eat and buy things only in local markets. She is a vegetarian and, as she claims, “naturist”. “I love to walk without masks and when I can, even without clothes, especially at home.” Her apartment is on the first floor of a large building in the heart of the city, but everything inside is painted in a rural area, in which Lena was born. Logs and large stones are chairs, a table and a sofa. I lived with her four nights, and my bed consisted of a rubber mattress and blankets on the floor, right under the sunflowers.
17. Paola Agnelli (58) and Roberto Galimberti (63), Castiglione Fiorentino, Italy.
I first met Paolo and Roberto 34 years ago, and since then we see each other often. Roberto – Surveyor, Paola – an elementary school teacher. In the past, we lived in the same house for several years, but now we no longer live together, or rather, my parents still live there, and my sister Sarah decided to start your own adventure. But our relationship is not weakened because we grew up, though, we can still share even more things, perhaps even the most important. That is why, after a year of traveling from one couch to another, I felt that I wanted to go back and spend Christmas with his only real family.
18. Group “Alex the Great”, London, UK.
“This guy on the poster – Johnny Cash – told me Steven. – It will be over your head while you sleep on this couch and bring you rock dreams, believe me! “. Explaining who is the protector of the house, he introduced me to his neighbors in the apartment – they are all members of a rock band. Hamid from Colombia and Juan of Brazil. They are members of the group “Alex the Great”, formed in Madrid two years ago, when they met by chance while studying abroad. They live in London for a year, their home is their studio, where rehearsals. They have already recorded their first album and soon be embarking on a UK. Sofa, where they take kauchserferov, surrounded by tools, clothing, skateboards and full ashtrays. Maybe it’s because this guy Cash protection, but on this couch, I did sleep well.
19. Waco Vondimu, 32, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Everything you see in the photo, it’s all there in Waco. This small room 2×4 meters is his home. It has everything you need: refrigerator, kitchenette, wardrobe, TV and computer, iron and ironing board, a guitar and a couple of things. The toilet is outside in the yard, he’s one to four families. His house is very small and sofa bed, two did not fit, so that as soon as his guest house there, he sleeps on the couch host, and the Waco sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. This is an amazing host! Waco fluent in German – he taught him, listening to the radio on the internet – and working guide for the German agency.
20. Jiva Prataban, 26 years old, with his family, Sepang, Malaysia.
Before embarking on their journey in style CouchSurfing, I already knew that I would have to share a room, a bed or couch with their owners or with other travelers. But I could not imagine that in Malaysia, I have to sleep in the same room with the Jiva and his three pythons, two cobras, two Mexican iguanas, coral snake and the black widow. Fortunately, all the reptiles were in glass cages, though in appearance and not particularly reliable.
Jiva calling their pets ‘puppies’ and his family deals with these creatures, as I usually turn to their parents cat – they pat them sitting on the couch and staring at the TV. This photo taken in the morning before breakfast – proof.
Jiva was born in Kuala Lumpur 26 years ago. He trained chef and personal chef after working one of the richest families in Malaysia, decided to go to work in restaurants.
21. Vanessa Peters, 30 years old -???? Dallas, Texas, United States
Vanessa has two great passions: music and coffee. The last six years she lived in the United States that, in Italy, in the town of Castiglione Fiorentino, where she first arrived in 2001 as part of a student exchange program. Her love of music led her to the fact that Vanessa spalled (Italian) group, which has recorded five albums and performed concerts in America and Europe. But as the rooms are usually small, it plays one.
In 2010, Vanessa has moved away from music for a while and returned to Texas. Now she is preparing for a wedding and decided to open an Italian coffee bar in Dallas. And one more thing: she took in Tuscany red Fiat 500 and loved this car so much that when I returned to Texas, decided to buy the same here, of course, the classic model.
22. Ayia Dzhudes, 30 years – Stockholm, Sweden
Going on this tour, I did not expect that I will dance the samba in Thai boat moored in Stockholm. Well, it happened when I met Aya, who was born and grew up in the forests near the Swedish capital. Her parents worked on documentaries, but because from an early age Ayew surrounded by creative people. She studied art and received several grants in different countries, became the last grant in Japan, where she lived for three years. In 2010, she returned to Stockholm and is now engaged in a variety of things, but they are creative and a little extravagant: she works as a designer, photographer, curator of exhibitions, stylist, and recently also a DJ and dancer samba. She often organizes evening Thai vessel. If you pass by the Stockholm visit her and how to have fun (www.thaiboat.se).