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Darwin's Dream

Couchsurfing, or How I was About to Meet Magic Bastos

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 24 February 2011 | Views [869]

Late September 2010.

On the web, he is still virtual: Bastien Perret, French, 32.

Jamie shows me the electronic details about his new future friend.


-He shall arrive today, said Jamie.

-Can you open the door? 


The door...

Open the door of the generous people to the happy people.

Open the door of open souls to free souls,

sedentary dreamers to travelers on their path.

I can do that…

I like it! Today I wont be the one who is opened the door to.

Through the time of an afternoon, I will be an ephemeral host in this house

Where I'm invited, hosted for eight weeks altogether.


Yes I will open to this stranger who has already a name: Bastien

and he shall come into my life.

A contact who will leave the following day.

A meeting without tomorrow on the paths of travellers.

An insignificant relationship.

A good friendly vibe of a day.

A friendship of one month, of a year.

Or a brother of a lifetime to come.


At that moment, with the present excited by the minutes passing by, minutes devoured by time, I do not consider all those questions.

I'm too busy waking up, organizing the canvas of my day, thinking about those I love in Sydney and whom I want to see or know better. My new friends. Living the day full. And yes, I ought to be back to the house at 3pm to open the door… opening the door is my only duty today, and then I ill return to my favorite coffee shop, the Lush, back to the smile and dynamism of Sunny, the gate keeper of my writings who always makes sure I don’t fall in lack of coffee through the days I write there, making sure I keep the rage to write and win every battle against the white pages. 

Today my only plan is to keep on the routine of a travel writer who has to fill these empty electronic sheets, in high speed - my breadwinner. It's been a month since I arrived, mowed and in debt in Australia, with a monster job to accomplish in a short lapse of time - creating a full guidebook for Sydney city. It was the only way I found to finance my ticket to Australia. A bit of a financial aberration. Exploitation under the disguise of a dream job. I agreed to it. In order to get this plane ticket that approach me closer to freedom: Habib.

Again, an avatar of the Couchsurfers community is coming out of the canvas to enter my reality.

His name is Bastien. He is French. He is a couchsurfer.

I'm just like him.

Up to the neck, at this end of September 2010.

He comes from the same tribe as me. 

The tribe that does not allow material deficits to take up space in our daily nomadic routine. One that does not force an empire on our freedoms. It is our everyday struggle.

Couchsurfing is the locomotive for freedom, exchanges and experiences for the nomads in financial debts. It is the opportunity to continue the human adventure without being submissive and without having to play the game of capitalism and “every man for himself”.

My limits are my windfalls. My limits open new fields of human exchange.

Couchsurfing is a crossroads of great and unexpected people that converge towards the same ideas of sharing and openness. A nest in which cigalles and ants are willing to mix, are living together and in harmony. 

I presently live with Jamie that I contacted via Couchsurfing.org and who was planning a trip in the mountains just few days after my arrival. I would keep his cat while he’ll be away. 

This, an exchange of services that came perfectly for my arrival in Sydney. An ideal apartment just 2 minutes from Bondi Beach. A room overlooking the sea, emptied at a transitional period in the life of Jamie.

Couchsurfers. A large community that develops in parallel while in the travel world, prices ignite. Outdated Hotel rooms. Exorbitant rents. Travel and cultural exchange may no longer be accessible to everyone if solidarity did not resist. In this couchsurfer community, there are those who travel and those who welcome travelers who travel not for the postcard, but for sharing, communication, more exchange. Those who left their own home, routine, security to find the hearts of others, access to a better world understanding. A fragile path. Couchsurfing is the meeting of those who dream and those who live their dreams. Those who give and those who giveback. People who love with the big L that lover of life have deep inside. People who want to connect the world and deny the rampant individualism that encompasses the globe. This is the idea of community couchsurfers. With its ideals and sometimes its drifts.

We enter into the intimacy of each other.  We, travellers, interfere with the routine of those who are settled and we bring our fantasies, our dreams and inspirations, while continuing to run from one house to another. With our own energy.

We come and we leave, always with a firm conviction that we'll meet again. One day, sooner or later, here or elsewhere. Because we are part of the same tribe. Squatters around the world. And our world is small, just big enough that we always can add new inspiring encounters in the cycle of the family. A large family of nomads, dreamers, lost souls. A home sweet home everywhere. Thousand homes for a free spirit, without material attachment. A growing family in the community of solitary souls. There are resistant souls to capitalism power. Resistant souls to individualism. Men and women willing to share in the present, to be a consolidatted tribe in the future. 

Requested to allow virtual to become real, Jamie, my host said yes to Bastien.

That evening, the little house up the hill north of Bondi will be full of three people.

It is 3pm.

He calls me. Bastien is late. Airport. The train. Complication.

Changes. Find access. Buses.

I prepare a salad in the meantime.

Bastien, 32, French that goes around the world solo for 6 months.


Tags: australia, couchsurfing, french, friends, itinerary, life, sydney, travel

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