When I left Norway 7 months ago, I honestly didn’t know what my plans was at all, I just had a big daydream of being in Australia, learning to surf,to live in a place where you can see palm trees every day, where the sun is hot and meet new people who daydreams too. I remember daydreaming about road trips,beaches, sunsets,feel good with friends, and then if I found a place that I really liked, maybe I would stay and live in Australia. But traveling around in Straya, has really woken up the traveler in me and now I just don’t want to stop …
After two months in Sydney, I left for Melbourne. The tourist in me was sad but the traveler was exited, I then again realized I’m doing this on my own, and even though I’m leaving, I’m not going home.
As I left for this trip without much savings I had no choice but to do everything on a budget. But if i DID have a choice, I would have chosen this way anyway. I discovered Couch Surfing, it’s the best way of getting to know a new place, trough a local who takes you into his home and let you stay at his couch, spare bed or whatever. He shows you the city, take you to the best places, introduce you to his friends,take you to famous or secret spots. And some of them becomes a friend for life. Some people find it hard to understand how CS is possible, how people just do this with wanting nothing in return, and they are wondering how it could be safe. It’s not easy telling my dad that I’m leaving without a plan, and that I’m staying at this unknown persons couch for who knows how long. But for me it’s the greatest way, IF you come to the right door! Yes, there are some crazy people out there, but they are all a part of the experience too.And sometimes, because of the shitty situations, you`ll meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise.
I mean, there has been time when things where pretty shit. I’ve dragged my 30 kilo suitcase around searching for right addresses, only to discover that it is only one room, with one bed, and one pillow,that he ask to share, and then after leaving realize it’s 23 a clock and I’m standing in the street with my 30 kilo of shit and have nowhere to sleep. Or when the CS host texts you from the living room, asking you to come in to his bed. When you not really connect with a person but she thinks you are best friends. When the host explains that he don’t want you in his bed to have sex, he just likes to cuddle!.But that’s just a part of it, most of the people I’ve met trough couch surfing has been wonderful to me.
I’ve lived on the busiest street in Bondi Beach, going for my morning run on the cliffs, with a view that takes your breath away. In a skyscraper at Kings Cross, where I could enjoy a glass of wine while admire the spectacular view of Sydney opera house, harbour bridge and the skyscrapers lighting up in the night. I’ve listened to a brazilian guy telling my about life in st.Kilda,while I was sitting on his homemade furniture and admiring all his plants in his beautiful garden. Listening to old records, while enjoying an ice cold cooper on this terrace with several couches, hammocks, chairs and home-made stuff full of soul. ‘I love to hate, Melbourne’ a strong Aussie accent told me.
After some weeks in Melbourne and a couple of days driving the Great ocean road,wich was fantastic, I was in the back row on Tiger airs economy class where I was whipped in my face with dreadlocks by the person next to me, baby’s screaming, person in row 27 having conversation with a person in row 24, fat stewardesses pressing themselves up the aisle. And of course when the seatbelt light comes of on the ground, everybody stands up to exit the plane first, that’s a classic.
I was picked up at Perth airport, by a new CS host, born and raised in Perth.He showed me the city,on a bicycle,we went for early runs around swan river, climbed rooftops with spectacular views, music festival in charming Fremantle, the most beautiful beaches,the typical Aussie with italian blood also invited me back home to his family for a dinner party, who was lovely.’I’m just trying to be as nice and helpful to other people as I can..’ he said. My host family in Kojonup took me back to their big family farm and we went horseback riding across the wide open plains,family camping in Bussolton,fancy lunch at a winery at Margaret river, and watching some awesome horse races. In Aldinga outside of Adelaide, a nice dud picked me up at the train station and took me to meet some koalas and kangaroos, and then to this nice and cozy local brewery, where the owner himself poured my beer, and spoke about it like it was gold, and how he build up his business.Started the next day with a walk along a beautiful beach with high cliffs all to ourself, where he told me about his daydreams.
I have so many experiences that I would not have experienced if it wasn’t for the locals, and they make you feel so at home and belonged, you don’t feel like a tourist at all, they are so genuinely nice. And I had so many interesting conversations, good social hours,shared experiences, and it’s so fascinating to see how different we all are,so instructive to hear about others way of thinking, their way of living and their experiences and culture, and I’ve really learned a lot from the people I’ve met on my travels, it really gives you perspective in life.
The differences between a tourist and a traveler is huge, it isn’t about the right and wrong way of traveling, but what’s right for you, for me it is being a traveler. They say that a tourist doesn’t know where he has been and a traveler doesn’t know where he is going. That a tourist is an amateur traveler and a traveler is a professional tourist. A traveler experiences, while a tourist observes. The tourist travels with a plan, and comes to see what he had planned to see,while a traveler just see what he see, blends in with the locals, are curious and open-minded and just goes with the flow, that can take you places you have never dreamed of. Instead of ending up with just a good tan, thin wallet and souvenirs, you will be rich on experiences, have new friends all over the world, and you will learn how to see things in a broader perspective.We are all different but I have definitely become a professional tourist, and I love it.