Emiiile!! wat dink jy doen jy?” — that’s Afrikaan’s for “What doing you?” aka “How are you?? I hosted Emile from Joburg, SA in New York last year. What a darling human being… After chatting with him on skype, it was apparent that this is where I should begin on my quest… we shall see…
As I was driving home, I almost ran over a SF CSer, Emmanuel, who has hosted over 1500 couchsurfers in 4 years. He’s currently writing a CS guide book in 5 languages in one.
Anyway, he brought up a great point about the “science behind love.” Apparently love is like a drug and you literally go through WITHDRAWALS…
Maybe it’s all just hormones??
Knowing that I will be in Bangkok to research love that can “bought” so to speak… I write to some potential couchsurfing hosts. I come across this dude, whose art is A-MAZING. We start skyping and I convince him to paint the art for the DVD cover for the CS doc. He agrees.
He envisions a girl with a travel backpack looking back… So he uses me as a model via skype and takes screen shots so he can start sketching. I heart technology.
As we continue talking, I tell him about my background and my mission and he tells me his Buddhistic thoughts on love…
I tried understanding… tried writing… tried calling… tried meditating… tried praying…
Sometimes you get to a certain point, where enough is e-nough. No matter how much I pray, analyze, talk, write, shoot, whatever - I don’t feel any closer to an understanding or to answers…
I’m trying to focus on creating this CouchSurfing documentary— and now I’m wondering if having myself as one of the subjects with such a mission so close to my heart is the smartest route for my sanity. I will have video documentation of this very personal, vulnerable time for me… all open for the world to see and judge… what am I thinking??!
I don’t know… maybe that I might capture the truth about what love is and someone out there might be able to learn and be comforted by my experience, I guess… while illustrating how one can turn their life around with the help of a few friends from around the world using networks like CouchSurfing.com…
I’m just trying to turn my pain into something positive. That is what drives me at this point — to barely get me out of bed, dragging my heavy ass camera with me location to location, and somehow network and spread the word on this kickstarter campaign… when all I want to do is pity myself and sleep.
My girl, Alex Scott, who I grew up with in North beach (Ital-Asian neighborhood in SF) in all her hilarity says it all.
CouchSurfer and friend, Journey Jill, is a dynamic person, friend, and team member in creating this documentary. She has been there since the beginning when the idea was conceived, approved by the CS collective, put on hold, amended, and now that it is going full force forward to being made.
I went over to her house for a nice home cooked meal with her friends, roommate, and boyfriend. We inevitably talked about my around the world travel plans and discussed my personal story that is driving my mission as one of the THREE CS SUBJECTS to find out “how the world does love.”
Attempting to run away from life, I decide to get out of the city by myself and head to Reno when my CSer, Mikey, who hosted me right before my 1st Burningman experience this past August 2010. Mikey is one of the sweetest and genuine people I have ever met — and although we had not seen each other for five months, he welcomed me with open arms, took me away to beautiful Lake Tahoe and to the “Oracle Burrito” for answers and insight…
The “Oracle Burrito” which spoke through Mikey, believes that I should go back to Burningman and let the playa decide if my Burning husband and I should get back together or not.
I’ve known brother Ayouba ten years (www.ayouba.com). He is new to CouchSurfing, but since hearing about it through this documentary, he is a full supporter of it. It just so happens his Reggae album will be finished about the same time I will be in South Africa, so he convinced me to come to Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire - so although generally the Ivory Coast would not be the safest of destinations, he is extremely well-connected and even willing to take me to Ghana to interview/meet Rita Marley so we can discuss her take on love — with one of the most well loved and influential people on the planet, her husband, Bob Marley.
Yes, I feel you are in touch with how we should all be living.. Looking back on this, I can’t believe I was almost swayed — EVEN after all the endless, serendiptious support I still even CONSIDERED postponing this?! …My e-mail is email@example.com - please contact me directly and let’s get you involved in this project!!
I used to be your typical New Yorker; working 9-7 every day with feelings of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. I knew I needed to break free, and that is exactly what I did in January of 2009. Two years later, I am still free and loving it! In 2009, I traveled around the world. In 2010, I worked in Australia. In 2011, I am fulfilling my passion for Latin America. Couchsurfing has brought amazing people and positivity to my life.
If you need any help with this project, I am there!
Listen folks- I want to be a part of this thing! My name is Justin Jones, I’m a writer, traveler, blogger, lifeaholic, and I’m a couch surfer. I run the travel blog www.JustinWasHere.com, I’ve couch surfed all over the place and when I had a place with a spare couch in LA, I hosted folks from all over the world with CS and Global Freeloaders. I find inspiration in fellow travelers and kindred creative spirits who share my passion for living life and connecting with others - and Couch Surfing is a great way to connect and share your life with the world!
Check me out at www.JustinWasHere.com
or on my facebook page at Facebook.com/JustinJonesWasHere
and get in touch to tell me how I can be a part of this project!
I randomly write to Ramon Stoppelenburg, from the Netherlands to ask him to send me a Viral video… We get to chatting and apparently he’s the GODFATHER of couchsurfing. Cs was just in its infancy stages - a twinkle in CS founder, Casey Fenton’s eye - and he decides to create a website called “letmestayforaday.com” and ends up traveling for 2 years without spending a penny. The purpose was to show that humanity is generally generous and good… He lived to tell about it.
Now ten years later, he is living in a 4 bedroom in Cambodia and works 8 hours a week, returning the favor by hosting now. We talked about his take on love from a world citizen’s perspective… he is a character for sure.
We get to skyping and I ask him to be a subject in the film and/or my traveling mentor… I am honored to say he accepted.
Randomly Bill Bowles planned a trip to Cambodia with his family, so Ramon is going to host him, and Bill will do some pre-shooting :) Serendipitous!
I plan to end my Around the World Trip with him right before heading to Reno.
Bill is… chill. He’s a cynical shell with an optimistic center.
Film-maker and CouchSurfer, Bill Bowles (www.iambill.com) contacts me Oct 7, 2007 out of the blue to connect with other SF filmmakers. I invite him to join cser Journey Jill and I as we pitch the CouchSurfing documentary to Casey Fenton and the CS collective over THREE YEARS AGO. Beyond all the hundreds and now thousands of pitches to CS, that night we were the first and only ones to get approval/support from the collective on our idea… Using Couchsurfing.com as a platform to fulfill 3 International CSers greater missions.
I moved to New York and lost touch with Bill. Furthermore, the CS doc was put on hold …until NOW!
Three years later and in S.F, I randonly contact Bill and ask for his help to shoot my portion of the Viral Video… As soon as we start working together, I get the feeling that he is destined to partake in this project and tell him he should be my camera guy and travel the world with me…
As I start to finally reel him into the idea and we are talking about logistics, he says “wait, so you just want me to come along so we can fall in love, only for you to leave me for your husband at Burningman…”
I paused. That would make an excellent story arch…
So apparently a lot of people meet — and get married at Burningman…
Does this make my experience any less real or special?
I am one of the three subjects for the CouchSurfing documentary.
My name is Alexandra Rose Liss, 28, San Francisco native, entrepreneurial minded filmmaker… an only child of a very dysfunctional divorce. I have grown up wanting two things: to be passionate about what I do in life and love. I think I have come close to love a few times, but it wasn’t until I met my Burningman husband, August of 2010 that I actually found it…or thought I found it. In “life”, although I found myself straying from my deepest passion, documentary filmmaking has been that consistent thread… Putting those two together is my nirvana :)
It was my first time at Burningman and I went to work on a film with genius filmmaker www.arincrumley.com… yet when I got there, the playa had its own plans for me… I finally made my way to the temple, which is a powerful, special place strewn with notes, names, and prayers of lost loved ones. I cried as I let go of past relationships and as I left to get back on the art car, I felt lighter and free.
Little did I know that I was about to meet someone I would fall in love with a few minutes later… or that we would be getting married on this art car 15 minutes later…Or that we rejoin in New York and then move to San Francisco a month later…
We bonded over our similar around the world travel aspirations and had a promising future… A few months later after moving to San Francisco, the “default world” started to get the best of us and a relationship became too much for him to handle… leaving me heartbroken and questioning this notion of “love.”
Although I wanted nothing more than to go on this journey with him, I realize I will just have to go forward with my aspirations alone… and with the help of my friends around the world, that is :) However, this experience with “love” has changed me, it has been a disappointing, but potent motivation in my CouchSurfing mission to find out for sure if true love even exists in the world by uncovering how other cultures “do love.”
What will I find out about myself, about love by traveling all over the world, and then returning to Burning man where it all started?
When I sent out Viral Video submission requests, 45 year old Chilean filmmaker (living in LA) replied. Turns out he is making a couchsurfing documentary as well! We chatted for weeks back and forth about how we could collaborate and help one another succeed in our parallel goals.
Finally we met in LA, at his friend’s fabulous mansion where the bathroom is bigger than my New York bedroom! He also invited me to Santiago, where he will be editing the film he would have shot by April, when I could travel there.