Try something new: Couchsurfing

This summer I set out to try something that I have never done before; I set out to give my travelling experience a little twist by trying out Couchsurfing.

With Couchsurfing, instead of going to a hotel you find a host who willing will let you borrow there couch or spare beds during your stay in the country you are visiting. Whilst I was only introduced to this in May 2013 a look at the history of the site (www.couchsurfing.org) suggests that it has been going strong since 2008.

Excited by the simplicity of the idea – which offers the possibility of not only experiencing the country from a different perspective but opens the possibility of  developing new friendships – my two friends and I couldn’t wait to find a host in Paris (where we were visiting).

As time worked its magic the day descended on us before we knew it and here we were just arriving in Paris and trying to navigate our way around to find where we will be living for the next few days. Whilst I was amongst the comfort of my two other friends I was suddenly overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe we were actually doing this and for some reason my mind decided that now would be the best time to entertain the idea of being faced with serial killers.

But that’s when I realised that as much as we place irrational fears about what people are like, it is also possible that people may have these same doubts about us; which when you think about it sounds pathetically silly. Surely, we all just want to have a good time, meet nice people and experience the beauty of the world. Whilst I will not completely disregard the notion of the dark side of human nature, initiatives like this really spread the values of love and trust, by creating an environment where people who genuinely mean well are able to meet like-minded people.

Whilst I did I have my doubts waiting outside of the apartment doors whilst our host was making his way downstairs, my initial feelings of excitement and joy returned when he emerged from the door with a warming smile on his face. Nothing would have prepared me for the amazing few days spent in Paris; doing the usual touristy thing but also being able to fully immerse myself in Parisian culture with our new friends. 

 

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More blogging: August

I have not been blogging for a long while which isn’t really a good thing both for the interested readers out there and for all these thoughts jumbled up in my head.

And then this led me to reflect on the purpose of this blog – assuming that all things must serve a purpose. Initially I intended to use this as a medium to document my personal reflections and experiences of university life. However, I have noticed that, although it does contain personal reflections about university it is also a space where I comment / express opinions on current affairs. Is the mixture a good thing ? Or is it confusing ?

I don’t know.

I will conclude on a few bullet points about upcoming blogposts that I am in the process of writing. Please note that these will all be based on my observations. thoughts and opinions:

– Purpose of business’

– Snowden and the issues surrounding surveillance and privacy

– The Economy: under 25’s a lost generation ?

– Changing perspective of university

– Try something new: Couch Surfing

– Take 3 ‘I am going to learn French’

Also please note that I will not necessary publish them in this order.

Happy Thursday !

Progression

My bags have been packed and I have successfully moved back home for the summer. Coupled with feelings of relief that examinations are over and anticipation for the warm summer evenings spent having picnics in the parks, it soon dawns on me that I need to be aware of how much time I have off from studying.

So this summer I have actively taken the decision to further developing myself as a person. Having had many experiences with projects and taking on new hobbies over the past 10-12 months rather than to just diving into anything new for the sake of occupying time, it’ll be best to reflect on the things that I have so far achieved. After this, I will be ready to embark on a new project; hopefully one where I will be both a valuable asset to the team/organisation and one where I will continue to strengthen my skills and delve deeper into my interests.

In saying this, I strongly believe part of the process of progression is being able to reflect and evaluate; form the things you enjoyed to the skills and information learned along the way. Also, it is important to be mindful of  things that were difficult or were not as enjoyable as I thought. This will both help give me the much needed breather that I need and also the ability to plan ahead carefully.

I suppose you could conclude that part of the process of progressing is in the reflecting and planning – as well as the doing.

Reflection…

Since two years have nearly passed of starting university, I have learnt not to be afraid to do what you want even though 95% of the time this means doing things alone – alone in the sense that not everyone around you will believe in what you believe in. 

I do hope that looking back at all these memorable moments, that I can do so with the appreciation of how they have helped to shape me into a cultured, emphatic and inquisitive individual.

Also, with the appreciation of  having the privilege of meeting all the interesting people I have encountered who have enriched my life. 

New hobbies….

… I have a new appreciation for live gigs !

Whilst I am an advocate of going clubbing … yes I love dancing – although I probably don’t look as cool as I think I do when I’m busting a move but who cares – there is so many times you can go before it slowly turns into a stale experience.  And what says I love music more than going to a gig of your favorite artist, .

Now here’s the catch 22; most bands I enjoy and can afford most my friends on the other hand are either not strongly into or they just simply don’t like going to gigs. So yes I have been gigging solo and I don’t regret it one bit.

Once you are there you become consumed with excitement and can’t wait until the band starts to play. Live music has a different vibe to it – you can intimately connect with the different sounds of the instruments playing harmoniously with the vocals of the singer. Its nice to experience the music you love outside of the recorded version and amongst a crowd who have the same appreciation too. 

” Yes to gigs because nothing beats live music. “