Trustroots Travel Stories and News February 2021


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Greetings Trustrooters and readers!

Hoping you and anyone you are with are well in this unique time in human history. As the pandemic continues to encourage governments to close borders, impose lockdowns, curfews, and other restrictions, it is good to remember that it will be over soon enough. Vaccines will be more readily available, borders will open, travel will happen more freely, and doors will be open for those to stay over and share life together. 

In this months Newsletter, we hear stories of those who are traveling, such as Mutlu hitching around the world and helping teach maker skills to orphans, we learn about Rhonda and her years of volunteering around the world, only to open her own place to host volunteers. There is Magali, a sailor and “GypSea” living and working in the Caribbean islands, and there are bikers touring around echoing the salvation of Bitcoin. 

These are just some of the stories of Trustrooters and we hope they inspire you once you’re able to move around. There is a world of opportunity out there, sometimes you just need to realize it is there. Check out your profile again, update it, and subscribe to notifications so you know when a traveler is wanting to stay with you. You never know, you may just make a lifelong friend, partner, or learn something from that person that will completely change your life trajectory. Happy Reading. 

This Months Newsletter Contents: 

* Hackathon This Weekend! Feb 26-28 13:00 UTC +1

* The Tall Biking Fox

* Tomorrow is Never Promised

* Meet the Member with Jans

* Photos Sometimes Say More Than A Thousand Words

* The GypSea Life of Magali

* Karaoke Time!

* Trustroots News and Experiences Update

* Invitation to Volunteer

* Trustroots Relevant Links

This Weekend we are hosting another Hackathon and all are invited. We will be working on finalizing out our experiences feature, building out interactivity within circles, add new circles, testing and dreaming about the future of the site. Come meet some of the team and gain new skills in building out an open sourced project like Trustroots.

It will begin on Friday, February 26 at 1300 UTC +1 and will be going on non stop until Sunday night. Come and make some new friends and help us improve the site, we would love to see you.

Welcome Room Link (Your first stop) : whereby.com/trustroots.org

Hackathon Room Link : https://meet.jit.si/trustroots

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Trustrooters Share Their Stories


The Tall Biking Fox by Tanja Caron 

Whether traveling to Europe on a cargo ship, living and working in a squatters community, cruising around on his tall bike, or spreading flyers about his four favorite subjects, Fox’s story is really, one of a kind. He renounced flying because of the huge carbon footprint and he is happy to pay more traveling in other ways of crossing oceans. With his French visa ending and no extension possible, Fox had planned to go back to the US. The port of his departure was in the Netherlands however so he turned traveling down there to go on a bike trip instead. A tall bike trip. Because that is the best way to get around according to Fox.

He build his tall bike at a community bike workshop which he helped set up some years ago. The shop is part of “Le Chat Perché .” An initiative which started 15 years ago in a squat in Lyon. Back then Fox was in France as an english language assistant. Through the years the project became bigger and had moved locations several times. They organized concerts, critical mass gatherings, tall bike jousting and bike polo. At its peak over 50 people lived and worked together there which made it a creative hub of different workshops. Fox recommended this video to see what they did over there.

Back to this year. Having made his fifth tall bike, Fox was ready for his trip up North. He loves the reactions people have when seeing him cycling by. “When people see it, it kinda snaps them out of their thoughts or what they are doing. It brings them somewhere outside of their ordinary state of being, even if for a moment, and I can feel the change in the energy”. Most common question of course is how he get’s on and off his bike, which he conveniently made a video about. Fox has four topics he is really passionate about and which he loves to share with others. That’s why he made this bike trip into a “B.A.V.E” tour. Bitcoin, Anarchy, Veganism and Eckhart Tollé.

He cycled from Lyon to Geneva Switzerland, back to the Vosges in France going up North trough Belgium to the Netherlands. In Switzerland he stayed with people he knew through mutual friends of camped out in the wild. Coming up through Belgium he realised wild camping is almost impossible in the Netherlands so he looked up hosts through our platform. His second host and he has so much in common that he left him as a good friend. Because of the restrictions his trip back got delayed until unknown time. He joined a “squad” (it became legalised under a Dutch law recently) eco-community East of Amsterdam for a month before he found his current place in Amsterdam. Since it’s possible to apply in the Netherlands for a two year freelance visa, Fox is now looking into those options as a freelance bicycle mechanic.

If you want to know more about Fox his adventures, projects or B.A.V.E topics, be sure to look him up through his profile up and check his decentralised social media account on Mastadon.


Tomorrow is Never Promised By Tanja Caron


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What began as a leap of faith resulted in a nomadic lifestyle for seven years and counting! Rhonda had left the life she knew in Orlando, Florida along with her sweetheart Ryan in a small bus. There was no plan or destination, just the yearning to go and see what may have crossed their path.

In the beginning of their journey they came across a small hotel looking for people to help with Christmas decorations. They made a proposition that they would help in exchange for some warm showers. But what was only supposed to be a couple days work resulted in a two week stay where they did so much more than Christmas decorations.

They helped out with organizing and executing a special event and used their skills with preparing online presentations. Among their travels in Southern California after, Rhonda successfully used her skills as a photographer in exchange for room and board in multiple resorts.

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Continuing their adventure they joined many volunteer projects, exchanging their skills for their needs and came across so much generosity. In India, they taught art and English in a school and opened up the schools first library.

In Germany, Rhonda helped out her host on his farm to set up an accommodation to rent out to other guests. Sometimes even when they do pay for a place, it results in more reciprocation back to them.

In Portugal, they rented a place for a month which resulted in a friendship and free stay for over three months. With their new friends they explored the beautiful nature surrounding their temporary home and their host even helped them out to make some money while there such as connecting Rhonda with a student who wanted to learn English.

Many years later they’ve explored four continents and recently bought a plot of land in Bulgaria with the intention to become a travel hub where travelers can also work for a bit of time. For those longing to this lifestyle Rhonda has the following advise:

Recognize that when you say ‘I can’t’ to yourself you believe it. If you really yearn to do something then go for it. Tomorrow is never promised.

Want to visit and volunteer in Bulgaria with Rhonda & Ryan? Message her on her Trustroots Profile

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Sometimes There Are a Thousand Words in a Photo by Ivan Frmann

Christian welcomed his very first guest from Trustroots recently. His thoughts….

“A few weeks ago I found Trustroots and this was my first guest. Fox is originally from the US and lived in France for the last year. Right now he is traveling Europe on his tall bike! His trip is dedicated to bitcoin, Veganism, Anarchy and Eckart Tolle. Even though it felt strange in the beginning to have such a complete stranger in my apartment it was a really enriching and adventurous encounter!”

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A universal thing unites all of us : the desire to be free and happy. These are the sensations I feel every moment, backpack on my shoulders. This picture represents it all at once.

To live alone or with others, in almost autonomy, what happiness! Bath in rivers, lakes, waterfalls ; warm your body next to the fire or by the rays of sunshine ; let yourself be caressed by the wind and by this soft and soothing atmosphere, which nothing can exceed and replace.

Beyond all of this, one of the most important parts is the travel itself. Any hitchhiker will be able to confirm that it’s an extraordinary and exciting social adventure. Meeting all these caring people is an exceptional boost !

I would like finish with my favorite quotation : “No other world is possible for those whose imagination is already dead.” So dream! – Théo Hareng
Follow Théo on Instagram | @theo_greentrip

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When I travel on my bike, I feel alive and free. I can do everything alone and yet not feeling lonely. It’s a pleasure to be able to enjoy traveling and do sport at the same moment. For me, it is truly a remarkable experience!” – Marc Vadillo

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Back in 2020, Marc did cycling trip through Camino de Santiago starting from his hometown in Tarragona, Spain. Three weeks later he decided to go for another trip around Southern France and had the chance to witness the 2020  Tour de France when he was in Col de Peyresourde.
Follow Marc on Instagram | @estilnomada

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Solo traveling for me is another level of growing up. I surprised myself to do unexpected things, to leave my comfort zone, to be more open and brave, to heal, and to be the better version of me.” – Herlin Utami

Pictured above, Herlin tried to learn how to make ‘Ketupat’ with a local from Gili Gedhe village in Lombok, Indonesia. Ketupat is a compressed rice cake wrapped with woven young coconut leaves in diamond shape.
Follow Herlin on Instagram | @letsgo_lin

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“I was waiting for a hitchhike and about to freeze that night, but when I finally find a comfortable place, my feelings are impossible to describe.” – Ferdi Karataş

Ferdi started his journey from Ankara to Bolu, Turkey. The weather was about -10 degrees and he had to wait for almost 2 hours outside. “I thought that it was going to be a terrible day for me!” he said. He couldn’t express his feeling when someone finally stopped their car. However, this experience has made Ferdi interest in hitchhiking even bigger.
Follow Ferdi on Instagram | @feardii


Meet The Member by Jans

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This month Jans interviews Mutlu, a world traveler originally from Turkey.

Trustroots/TR: Why did you join Trustroots?

Mutlu: I have been traveling the world for 3 years. and I get to know and introduce what I’ve been through. I travel by hitchhiking, I spend very little money, I am an interior architect, in every country I visit, I teach professions to poor and orphans as much as I can with the money I earn from people I design for their homes. I teach the furniture decoration and electronics professions by giving voluntary lectures. I have supported dozens of children so far in order to provide a good future for their country in the future, and I continue to do so. I traveled from Nagorno-Karabakh to the country of East Timor, from the island of Papua to the mountains of northern Pakistan and in many challenging areas. I will continue my journey until I reach the farthest child.

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TR: What was your best moment with a host ?

Mutlu: The best moments was when I lived in the country of East Timor. I had lived with orphans for 7 months and had became their family. As a person with a background in interior architecture, electronics and furniture decoration,  I volunteered building tables, chairs, cabinets, bookcases, and wooden toys for orphans and children with disabilities. I made similar wooden products and gave gifts, and taught children how to design the wooden products themselves and also taught them how to make small toys or small table chairs for themselves.

I also gave electrical lessons to older children, and I taught how to get electricity in a village without electricity. I have also traveled to 35 countries and volunteered in 26 of the 35 countries.  Of course it is sad that I leave every child, a heart bond is formed in a short time, but for new children, I have to keep going.

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TR:What’s your favorite way of traveling?

Mutlu: My favorite way of traveling is hitchhiking, because it helps me meet new people. Hitchhiking is indescribable for me, because it helped me have good memories of my trip. Hitchhiking always gives me a chance to meet new people and new companions. Yes, sometimes hitchhiking was very difficult, and sometimes I came across bad people, and sometimes very good people, but every emotion added a different color to my journey. My only bad memories in my hitchhiking adventure is that the people I know in his car are attracted to me and they approach me, I don’t like it, they wanted to take my phone and my money twice, but I jumped out of the car and ran away. 

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Check out Mutlu’s Trustroots profile to keep in touch, or get involved with his volunteer projects, or be his companion along the way!


 The GypSea Life of Magali by Shawn Saleme

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In February 2016, Magali was working at a call center in Lyon, France. She had fallen in love with the town and considered it her home, but she wanted a change in her life. She had an itching to do something more than just live life in France, even though Lyon was a nice place to be. She wanted a renewal and a new way to do life and she didn’t just want to see the world for only the holiday her company gave her, she wanted to be challenged and she wanted to take a big bite out of the world. 

Her sister had decided to work on boats on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean, and so when Magali took her next holiday, she visited her sister there. And what happened? She got taken on adventures sailing, she met sailors who quit their corporate jobs only to sail full time and she felt sensations around the sea that she said only love could compare with. 

She knew what she had to do. She had to quit her job at her job in France, halt her dream of being a flight attendant, which was difficult anyway to become, and get out to the sea! It didn’t matter that some of her family didn’t like the idea that her or her sister were working on boats in the Caribbean. She was going to do what she wanted and have a fun filled life being outside instead of being at a desk. She read the book “How to be a Yacht Stewardess” by Julie Perry, got her STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) and went to the boat show in Antigua, and got a job! 

And She never looked back. 

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It has been 4 years since she first worked the yachts and super yachts and she doesn’t plan to stop. She will work the high season of sailing and yachting from November to April, and then in the off season, she travels the world, doing such things like crossing the Pacific ocean (called a TransPac), visiting friends in Europe and even working in the Mediterranean if she wanted the extra work. It seems she is, really, living the dream. And she still feels that sensation like she first did sailing the seas and smelling the sea air, making fun memories everyday. She also loves to sing, and one can follow her TikTok to see her latest songs. 

You can also follow Magali’s journey on Instagram at Purplespleen 

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(Editors Note: Trustroots does have a sailors circle showing all the sailors around the world, so click the switch for the sailors circle and the Trustroots map will populate all those in the sailors circle. Send a message and see what happens! )


I Want It That Way by Tanja Caron 

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One of the stereotypes about Japan is that they are crazy about karaoke over there. Well we found a Trustroots member who fully agrees. Masashi is a karaoke enthusiast who started organizing karaoke meet ups in Tokyo before the restrictions closed all the fun. But when the restrictions are lifted, he is planning to pick up where he left off because those three months before where too good not to be continued.

Masashi’s first encounter with karaoke however didn’t blow him completely away. In his student years he ended up in an “izakaya,” which is an informal Japanese bar, where there is karaoke. Apparently that experience wasn’t the end of karaoke for him because years later here he is: organizing weekly karaoke nights. A song which is a hit every time according to Masashi is “I want it that way” by the Backstreet Boys. So, start practicing if you’re planning to visit Tokyo in the future because it seems you can’t go there without joining one of Masashi’s karaoke nights.

Check out his Trustroots Profile to get your Karaoke on next time you find yourself in Tokyo!


Trustroots News Update and Invitation to Join Us

What have we been doing at Trustroots? Mostly, we have been hyper focused on launching our experiences feature, which is similar to references with Couchsurfing but with a much different intention. That will be launched very soon. After that, we plan to work on building out more interactive features within our circles. Many have requested that we pursue this and we listen to what the members say. Email us at support@trustroots.org to make your suggestions. 

Trustroots is completely open sourced and volunteer driven. We cannot do this work without the help of volunteers, and so we welcome and invite you to come join our Trustroots family, make friends, learn and develop new skills and help make the world a better place through connecting travelers together and giving them safe places to stay along the way. 

We can especially use more developers with knowledge in React JS, user testers, storytellers and user experience. If you are a developer, you can always check out our Github repository and take a look around. You can also join our hackathon this weekend to get an idea of what we’re working on as well currently. 

If you are interested to join as a volunteer, come join our Slack  and one of our volunteer welcome team members will help show you around and get familiar with how we work. 

There is a lot of space for everyones ideas, so come and see them manifest. Frustrated with the ways other HospEx sites did things? You can make the changes you wish to see with us. We’re a fun bunch for sure and all over the planet. 

Until the next time, stay safe and healthy ~ Travel will happen again but if you want to host now, switch the notifications to your profile and begin welcoming some guests if you feel comfortable to do so. 

If you are interested in submitting stories, videos or photos for the Trustroots digital assets, the newsletter or our social media platforms. Email us at share@trustroots.org, or DM those platforms directly (Check links below).

Until then, be well and thanks for reading. 

Shawn Saleme

Trustroots Editor


Relevant Links: 

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