Summer in the Northern Hemisphere has come to a close with the seasons changing and the leaves beginning to Fall. There has been traveling and hosting happening and in this edition of this Newsletter we highlight some of those hosting experiences. We also share some stories of hitchhiking, building off-grid, how to host a meetup on Trustroots, and crazy villa parties that come as a result of being hosted.
Trustroots is growing faster than ever, and as we grow we aim to develop features that help connect everyone who uses the platform. We will always be free and open sourced and we (the current volunteers who facilitate the community) welcome anyone’s participation to help us continue to develop and build the community.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy this Newsletter. And if you are comfortable hosting at this time, be sure to subscribe to notifications so you know when a traveler comes into town.
Table of Contents:
Meet Trustroots Host – Ed Purcell
Did You Know Trustroots Has a Meetup Function?
Trustroots Community Stories by Ivan F.
Meet Trustroots Member – Edoardo Baradello
Trustroots in the Media
Want to Join the Trustroots Team?
Meet Trustroots Host — Ed Purcell
It all started around 4 years ago when Ed tried to couchsurf for the first time while he was in Seattle, Washington. He stayed with a guy in his sailboat along with a French couple who had joined last minute. He was amazed at how the host were generous to host in his already cramped space, pick them up in town and spent time cooking together.
“The people I stayed with were really what I liked most about the trips I took.” said Ed as he tried it a few more times.
He had wanted to host as well but was feeling unsure and thought it might not be a good hosting set-up since he was renting a single-wide trailer. “I realize now that was bullshit, every place you stay is unique and that’s part of the fun. Even my guests told me about people hosting in their vans,” he said.
Ed is now living in South Western Montana. “The Bitterroot Valley is a really interesting spot, beautiful with a milder climate than most of Montana. Despite all the suburbs, it still might be considered rural – there’s lots of hay, cattle, and produce farms.” A few years ago he bought a couple acres of open land in Stevensville, which is near the town of Missoula and started camping out while building a cabin to live in, which he now used for hosting travelers.
“Once I got the property here and had the cabin finished, I started hosting via Couchsurfing. In early 2020 I left that site hoping to find one that had more transparency. I joined Trustroots and started getting requests right away.”
Although at first it was mostly just to have a place to live and build things, Ed had been doing some form of eco-living. He started out there in a tent, using a compost toilet, solar shower and use water from gallons jugs he filled at a friend’s farm before he had a well. He said it was practical but also made him much more conscious about water consumption. With the development of the property, Ed also tried keeping as much of the sagebrush and native plants instead of flattening it for a lawn. The bitterroot flower which the valley was named after, only blooms for a few weeks in Summer. This plant is becoming more rare as the valley gets further developed. “This property has loads of them. In areas where I was going to excavate, I and some volunteers would dig them up and have them transplanted.”
As for the building, around 3/4 of the materials he used are reclaimed, including scraps from job sites. For Ed, it feels way better to build that way and happens to be a lot of fun and much cheaper.
When it comes to hosting, Ed hasn’t had a bad experience yet. For Ed, it’s fun to hear stories and learn about other countries, but mostly he likes to see his guests having a good time on their journey. “If you have a place to host people, it’s important to do it. You will have an impact on so many people by being that one extra part of their journey. You become a part of a network, making it easier to travel through the world without money. I think it adds something to your own life and your home too,” he added.
If you ever are passing in South Missoula in the States (Editors note: Only 3 hours drive to Glacier or Yellowstone national parks) , you can reach Ed on Trustroots. You can also follow Ed on Instagram @ep_cloudview
Did You Know Trustroots Has a Meet Up Function?
Traveling and want to meet up with who is around? Cannot host at the moment but would like to share your favorite local spots around? Are you new to a place and would love to meet other locals? Try to get in touch with the Trustroots meet up function. It’s really simple. You open the platform and click search and switch the meetup icon “on.” Then look for the blue dots across the map.
Would you like to create an event yourself? It can be a dinner, a city tour, hiking, a movie night, language exchange, whatever you feel like sharing. The great part? You don’t have to make a new meet up every day. You can select how long your “offer” will be visible up until a month. Want to create a weekly meet up? Just add the details in the description and make sure you renew the meet up each month.
To create an event, click on Meet in the top right corner.
Then click on Add New.
Then add the details of your event. Try to be as detailed as possible. Include event times, location, and the best way to contact you, the host of the event.
Confirm the location on the map.
Then publish it ! You can also reach out to members individually sharing the event details to promote your event. You can also cross post it on the Trustroots Community Facebook Group
Did you have a great meet up? Or are you organizing a weekly event and would like to highlight it in the Newsletter/blog? Let us Know! Share@trustroots.org
Trustroots Community Stories by Ivan F.
THIS IS HITCHHIKING
I am getting tired of all the photos popping up on my feed of beautiful young models without many clothes on, tagging their pictures #hitchhiking . Some of us do actually hitchhike for real! So I am posting some photos of what hitchhiking is often really like!
Hitchhiking can mean hours of waiting, often at stinking petrol stations, often in the rain, usually with very heavy bags! In that first photo you can see that I am pissed off to be there. I mean, look at how shit it is!
But the beauty of hitchhiking outweighs the negatives. All the kind, kind people you meet; the houses you’re invited into; never knowing where you will end up from one day to the next; adventures on the back of pickup trucks.. It’s a way of life that only suits those that are both spontaneous and patient. And, of course, those who have time.
Follow Lisa on Instagram @aimless.travels
CRAZY VILLA PARTY
I just hosted my first ever guests through @trustroots . They had cycled here from Nantes, France and stayed with me for 4 nights. During this time, we saw Stockholm city and various bars along Östermalm, Gamla stan and Söder.
We ended up on a crazy villa party in the south of the city, went midnight swimming staying up to 10. We also went for a overnighter in the archipelago and played “war” on the open military field.
Follow Bjorn on Instagram @bjornmelin90
A FINNISH ADVENTURE
My wife and I decided to take on the crazy challenge of cycling to the North Cape through Finland.
Through this beautiful adventure we had the opportunity to meet Heidi and her sister Henna through the Trustroots platform.
It was the perfect opportunity for us to learn more about Finnish culture, their cuisine and their passion for Sauna!
Follow Karen & Ruben on Instagram @karutravellers
If you want to have your travel/Trustroots story featured on our Instagram, connect to @Trustroots.
Meet Trustroots Member — Edoardo Baradello
Why did you join Trustroots?
I am in Trustroots because I love going through space and relationships in a post-individualistic fashion. I like the idea of constantly recreating the reason for which we are moving, avoiding received concepts about mobility. After all, travelling is a form of controlled falling, like walking, from one experience to another. The thing I like most is observing its unexpected flow, my reactions and those of the communities that compose my present.
What was your best moment with a host?
If I had to pick an instant, I’d go for a hug. During a 2,000 km circular hitchhike of Morocco in 2019, I was hosted together with my friend Ludo by Karim near Casablanca. Meeting him and his family released in me a vibrant energy composed of the thoughts and traditions of contemporary Morocco. Well, the hug, right. His nephew was a restless and meteoric presence of happiness in the room where we were eating. Then, his mother called him and gave him a calm and long hug: something like a very concentrated moment of focus. The child was completely defused and calmed down, almost asleep. Needless to say, 5 minutes later he was again enthusiastically jumping around the room.
This exchange of energy and its vivid and clear impact left me smiling and it sat down comfortably in my mind as a stable inspiring memory.
What was your best moment with a guest?
It was a Summer in which I volunteered for migrants’ rights protection in a small Italian city. I met Samuel and Claire hitchhiking on a side road towards Slovenia and I gave them a lift towards the East. After 5 minutes talking we felt so much in tune that they decided to come West and spend one day volunteering within the project. Then, we hitch-hiked together North, to Turin, as I was also leaving towards Germany.
In the end we spent 3 days together helping each other, fixing stuff, watching a film, hitch-hiking and cooking. I felt that spontaneous travelling can happen very close to the place where you stably live. It often carries a treasure of learning through mixing tramping realities with the one you are used to.
What’s your favorite way of traveling?
Walking with a backpack, especially in the mountains. Carrying your essential equipment with a few friends and sewing connections with villages or cities for water, food, dumpsterdiving and other realities. Even when hitchhiking, I really enjoy walking some parts, moving to a different point on foot. When walking an entire day, it happens that the body develops a crystal clear memory of the movements and the mind gravitates around essential priorities. In this sense, travelling it’s not often relaxing. It is rather awakening, yet something that feeds me.
Trustroots in the Media
Here are some articles where Trustroots has been mentioned in:
Paradise lost: The rise and ruin of Couchsurfing.com by Andrew Federov of Input Magazine
How Sleeping On A Stranger’s Couch Became A Moral Dilemma For Travelers by Tyra Bosnic of BuzzFeed News
Want to Join the Trustroots Team?
We are a volunteer driven organization, and we can’t do anything without the efforts of all of our volunteers. We have some exciting projects we’re beginning to work on including creating more connection features on circles, design and launching our iOS app version.
We are open sourced, and carry a do-it-yourself culture. We have a group of volunteers to welcome you and orient you onto how we have worked together. We have weekly meetings at 17:00 UTC every Sunday at Meet.jitsi/trustroots and you are welcome to pop in anytime and see what’s cooking. Come help connect people around the world.