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: 

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Whatsapp [Announce]
Whatsapp Community Chat
Instagram
Github


Trustroots Changelog — December/January

Let’s see if this becomes a habit, but the idea is to highlight all the small improvements and continuous efforts that go on Trustroots, thanks to all our volunteers! 👏


The search got a bigger upgrade under the hood — it’s now smoother and faster, especially on mobile. Visuals got refreshed a bit, but primarily this change will also unlock any future improvements to Search. Stay tuned!

Already visited dots are now a bit transparent, and currently selected offer is black.

Before / After

Other

  • New Circle descriptions and images for quite a few circles.
  • New areas of Trustroots available for translation: contact page, statistics page, and search map. This will get us closer to releasing translated Trustroots to everyone.
  • Fix our Instagram & Twitter profile links at the site, and both of those profiles have been much more active recently, too.
  • Fixed profile description jumping while editing it.
  • Added API for blocking users (half the job done, now the interface…)
  • New experiences feature had boatloads of progress, bringing it closer to public release.
  • We sent out a newsletter! 🎉
  • We kept helping you out by the support team. ❤️

Trustroots Travel Stories and Latest News

Greetings Trustrooters! Happy Winter if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere or Summer if you’re in the Southern.

The world continues to change and shift everyday, and we sincerely wish you are doing well in the midst of everything, and that you are able to experience some joy and love in the midst of it all. 

Some have been able to travel again and are using Trustroots to facilitate safe hosting. Travel itself probably won’t come back the way it was until the middle of next year it seems..

Still, that will not stop us from providing a safe and vibrant platform for all of us to connect on, make new friends on, find those who share our passions around the world, and just make life that much more fun through a hospitality and cultural exchange platform like Trustroots.
We want to share some news about what we at Trustroots are doing, and share some current travel stories from our community, and we also want to invite you to participate as we grow and be a part of the story of our community/network.

Happy Holidays, however you experience it. 


This Month’s Newsletter Features:

* New Year’s Traditions Around the World

* Mauro and his Travels to Sardinia

* Alberto on the Road in Romania

* Trustroots November Hackathon Recap

* Interview with Trustrooter Kim and her Travel Perspective

* Trustroots Question and Answer / AMA Online Event

* Members Photos from Around the World   

* Trustroots Relevant Links 


New Year’s Traditions Around the World By Tanja Caron


It is the middle of December which means (for most) New Years Eve is coming. Unfortunately, this will be a different one than usual for most with all that is going on. However, we would like to share with you 10 random (restriction proof) traditions of countries so you could try some of these at home and bring a bit of traveling to you.

1) Lucky outfit. In Brazil it’s traditional to all wear white on New Years Eve for good luck an peace. Not so smudge proof but definitely makes one’s photos really professional looking with these matching outfits. 

2) Fortunate Grapes. In Spain it’s the tradition to eat twelve grapes at midnight, one with every clock stroke. Each grape represents a month in the new year. Sounds easy? Well.. You also need to make sure you finish each grape before the next clock stroke. Who’s up for a challenge??! 

3) Kiss wisely. With so much restrictions this might be an easy on this year since most will choose their companion wisely. It’s found from English and German folklore that the person you kiss first will dictate your year’s destiny. Guess some of you will now try to remember who that was last year.. 😉 

4) Break a leg. Or chair in this case. In Denmark, it’s believed standing on a chair and jumping off of it as the New Year comes brings good luck. Happy jumping. 

5) Do a little bear dance. In Romania its costume to dress like a bear and dance around to ward off evil spirits. Bears are sacred in Romanian mythology. Fluffy and warm, a perfect fit for Northern Hemisphere members!

6) Sugar rush. It’s custom in the Netherlands to eat a kind of sweet pastery on New Years Eve. In Belgium and Germany they also know this pastery which is called “oliebollen” in Dutch. In the end it comes down to a fried ball of dough with raisins covered with sugar. Not at all healthy for the body, but the brain will jump for joy.

7) Shake your pockets. In the Phillipines it’s believed that shaking your pockets filled with coins at midnight brings good fortune. Some also scatter them around their house to improve their chances. Could be a nice way to find some money back again after you’ve already have long forgotten about it. A unconsious long term investment for travels to come…!

8) Drink your wishes. Write down your New Years wishes on a piece of paper, burn it in a glass and add the ashes to champagne to drink when the clock hits midnight to add some Russion tradition to your evening. I would suggest not to make too long of a list.

9) Salty entrance. It’s considered good luck to sprinkle some salt on your doorstep as soon as the clock stricks midnight in Turkey. Really convenient too if you live in a place where it freezes at night.

10) 200 year old music. In the USA it’s still traditional in many homes to listen to this song on New Years Eve: Auld Lang Syne written by poet Robert Burns. So add this to your playlist and you’re good to go.

We wish all our members an amazing new year. Thank you all for being part of our community and showing the world hospitality doesn’t cost a thing.

For the next newsletter we would love to hear about your New Years travel resolutions, so let us know yours! Email us at share@trustroots.org  


Trustrooters Share Their Stories

When the Wanderlust Gets Sparked by Tanja Caron

Mauro has been on hospitality platforms for eight years now and could be considered as an ambassador after all his experiences. Whenever he has the time, he hosts travelers and when it is possible, he travels as a guest himself. Due to his job he has the freedom to be flexible when it comes to taking a break to entertain and get to know his guests. This freedom allowed him to give one of his guests a lift in his car to her next travel destination. While driving, he decided to make it a holiday for himself and he spent the day exploring together with his travel guest.

It all started some years ago when he met a traveler in his village who was looking for a place to stay. This sparked his curiosity for seeing and learning more about the world.

This last month in November, Mauro hosted an Italian guy who was passing by. He was a Chinese Erasmus student and also a Spanish travel blogger who was taking a break and looking for beautiful places to explore and discover. He stayed himself in Padova with a nice French and Israeli couple before the restrictions of his country became more strict.

Depending on the trip, Mauro cruised around his homeland this year on his motorbike or by car. Venice being half empty these days was definitely something he will remember and cherish. Walking through all the narrow streets along the channels in the evening with almost no tourists around might be something a person can only witness once in this lifetime. Wandering the coasts of Serdegna and roaming the hills of the surroundings of Ravenna were other short travel holidays he enjoyed.

It shows you don’t need to travel far for beautiful surroundings and to discover new gems. Sometimes they are closer then we realize, and sometimes it just takes looking with a different eye, a bit of adjustment and maybe the best option for now is (or considering the circumstances) a bit of patience.


Iubesc Romania by Tanja Caron

Alberto is from the Meditterrean island of Sardinia. When the Fall season in October came, and with no job that was holding him back, Alberto decided to start traveling. He chose to go visit and stay in Romania. He found a volunteer opportunity on a farm there and stayed there for three weeks. He enjoyed being with the people, experiencing the culture and being in nature. While he found it a magical place, it was quite isolated and far from any major town or village. Alberto would have to hitchhike to get to the nearest city if he wanted to. He hadn’t had much experience hitchhiking, but did it to get around. (Editors note: Check HitchWiki if you ever need help hitchhiking around the world)

Although Alberto said it was more challenging than he hoped in the evening when he tried to get back to the farm. There weren’t that many cars at the end of the day, and so, Alberto had to hike 15km in the dark!

He did pass through some nice villages though along the way, which he describes as “going back in time”. The many dogs however were a little bit less enjoyable.

After three weeks he took off looking for other experiences. He would love to spend this Winter in Romania and has tried to learn the language bit by bit. Because of the uncertainty at the moment due to the changing restrictions, Alberto is keeping all his options open for what is next in his adventure. Through Trustroots he was able connect with a Trustrooter from Brașov and he said “I would love to meet more Trustrooters and find another project to put his energy to good use!”

So dear Romanians, if you have a project, a place or just want to meet this nature and meditation lover, who is an enjoyer of the simple things in life: then look up Alberto! On Trustroots you can find him under the name of ‘fuofuofuo’. He’s also an active member of the cooking circle so you may eat very well should you meet up with him !

Alberto’s Trustroots Profile


Trustroots Hackathon Weekend Recap

Another Successful Hackathon Happened last November

For those who do not know, Hackathons are events in which a lot of people come together to write or improve software programs/ features, typically in a short period of time, with some staying up all night to make magic happen and create functioning software at the end of it.

Trustroots has held such hackathons a few times a year to really make progress on features and functions of the platform. On this weekend, we had over 25 people come and work on getting the ‘Experiences’ feature (similar to references in Couchsurfing, stay tuned) worked on, before it launches.

We will plan to have another one early 2021. All skills and contributions welcome, we will find a purpose for you!


Kim Berghot is a world traveler, trustrooter and hitchhiked from her home country of the Netherlands to Iran. Contributor Jans got a chance to chat with her and her experience with Trustroots. She currently hosts in Utrecht. Interview by Jans S.

Trustroots/TR: Why did you join trustroots?

Kim: Back in the days, CouchSurfing just started going downhill. I was very happy to see the people from hitchwiki were making an alternative hospitality website aimed at hitchhikers. I think that hitchhikers are a slight different breed than the general hospitality scene. Even though we all have in common that we open our houses for others, I found hitchhikers to be less caring about who they are hosting, as long as they can offer someone a couch, they will. 😉

TR: What was your best moment with a host?

Kim: One of my first encounters with Trustroots was about six years ago. I had contacted a host in Amsterdam on Couchsurfing, but didn’t end up staying with him. Half a year or so later I arrived in Istanbul and found the same host, but then on Trustroots. I still didn’t end up staying with him, but we met up and hitchhiked together for a bit. Over the years, we have enjoyed each others hospitality several times in different countries.

TR: What was your best moment with a guest (trustroots or just general/hospitality exchange) ?

Kim: I have hosted most people in Sweden, when I used to live for a while during my studies and where I had my own studio (first time in my life). I shared many good moments with people passing by. Playing games, going to the market, going hiking.. I remember once hosting a guy on my birthday, and as a gift he made a souvenir for me from the place where I lived (for when I would go back to the Netherlands). He filled a little bottle with water from the lake in front of my house and decorated it. I was so happy with it!

TR: What is your favorite way of traveling?

Kim: These days I travel much less than I used to during and after my studies but I still host people once in a while and still go hitchhiking. Even though I have ‘enough money’ to take a bus train or car, I still really like the adventures and environmental aspect of hitchhiking.

Check out Kim’s Trustroots and/or Kim’s Youtube channel to see some of the great things she’s done. Would you like to share your story and travels in our interview series? Write us at share@Trustroots.org and title the subject ‘Interview Series


Photos Sometimes Say More Than a Thousand Words by Ivan Frmann
Coastal France by Tanja
Tanja did Dolphin spotting on her trip from Brittany to Normandy in France.
Jan’s camp in the Desert while hitchhiking through Xinjiang.
On the road in Central China.
Edo’s journey through the Adamello Valley in the Alps
Bike trip organized by Hlib, Ludovico and Martin in the Italian Alps
Ludovica and her friend about to hitchhike from Leipzig to Turin last Summer.

You’ve made it to the end! Thank you for reading, know that we will all be able to travel again, to experience new places, meet people from other cultures, explore new tastes and have fun adventuring! Wherever you are, may you have a Happy Holiday season however you celebrate it and know we can co-create the future now more than ever. Be well out there!

And come join us in co-creating this amazing cultural and hospitality exchange network! We always need more volunteers to help in all aspects. If there is a skill you want to learn or develop and be part of a fun talented group then contact us here to get started. We co-create this and the future of travel together.

Also, interested in submitting stories or writing yourself for the next newsletter? Email us at share@trustroots.org

See you in 2021,

Shawn Saleme

Editor

The challenges of diversity

Online platforms bring together a great lot of people. Like-minded in some ways, but often very different. In a world of bubbles and echo chambers, this is often a breath of fresh air. But it leads to the occasional mortally embarrassing misunderstanding.

About half of the energy of the Support Team goes into handling those moments. Some individualities are very synergetic, others stay away from each other, and some are quite contradictory.

We know about the struggles for equality and sometimes even recognition of many social groups in our society. These groups might be religious, ethnic, based on their sexual preferences, gender expression, political opinion, and more. A *lot* more. Sometimes they are only loosely tied through shared needs.

Between these groups or individuals tension can arise. The Support Team Volunteers are often those who moderate these conflicts. A social structure needs and lives on conflicts. They shine a light on deeper issues that require attention. We all make mistakes and we are all socialized differently so a welcoming approach to conflict is very healthy.

Still, we are all volunteers. Solving conflicts is a lot of work, and not every member is happy with conflicting situations.

Let’s bring in some imaginary hosts that show the problem:

  1. Fred has a vegan diet. Fred doesn’t want anyone to consume meat/dairy products in their kitchen.
  2. Claudia eats only meat. Claudia doesn’t want anyone to eat vegetables in their kitchen.
  3. Noel has a bad experience with creepy men. Noel doesn’t want anyone to be naked in their apartment.
  4. Nika lives a nudist lifestyle. They don’t want anyone to wear clothes in their home.

Now how do we handle a conflict between Fred and Claudia or between Noel and Nika?

We think that the most important thing is that every host and guest knows what they are getting into when meeting a member formerly unknown to them. I am not a big fan of bad surprises myself and I don’t wish for any member to run into a situation where they are pressed into doing something that they are uncomfortable with, especially if they already have bad experiences in the past regarding that situation.

On Trustroots one has several options to not get into a situation where you are surprised to be in a flat of paleo-nudists who asks you to be naked and only eat meat:

  • Join a bunch of Circles.
  • It positions you on a spectrum and gives them insight into how you live your life.
  • Be clear and honest about your boundaries and especially those towards your guests in your profile
  • Maybe mention your triggers in an initial message so that you are sure that the other user is aware of them

If you have red lines, please make sure they are visible to others.

Note that being transparent is not a blank check to violate the rules. Don’t be shy with the Report button. We never ban first and ask questions later. We’ll always approach conflict with open ears and hearts.

Noah
Trustroots Support Team

Decolonising Into Circles

You might be wondering why Trustroots is changing the name of Tribes. In this collaborative article we will try to explain what’s behind the change and why this matters. It has mainly been written by Mariyano, a Brazilian backpacker currently under lockdown in Buenos Aires due to the pandemic, and Martin A. who spent a few years travelling before finding relative stability by the European Alps. But as you will see below there has also been plenty of discussion among the Trustroots volunteers, so all in all it’s a rather communal project.

Continue reading “Decolonising Into Circles”

Journeys Through the Night

Community Stories, Vol. II

Welcome to the second part of our community letter to ourselves! In case you missed the first one with Covid-19 lockdown experiences, you can find it here. This time around we are travelling through the night – sleeping at police stations in Pristina, trainhopping to escape from where nobody stops for hitchhikers, and overcoming suspicion in Kończyce-Kolonia.

We hope you enjoy the read and that the stories either bring back memories of your own adventures or inspire you to future ones. A couple of months from now we will publish the next collection of stories where we want to hear about notable Trustroots experiences you’ve had, so send an email to share@trustroots.org if you feel like it!

Continue reading “Journeys Through the Night”

New Tribes*

In the past couple of days we have been adding new tribes* to Trustroots. In total there are 15 additions, based on the most frequent requests we’ve gotten from yourselves.
At the moment the images and descriptions are work in progress, so if you got an epic photo that would make a great Tribe* cover, send it to support@trustroots.org, or join the conversation in our Volunteer Chat.
Sometime in the coming months there will be further updates regarding tribes* and what they can become in the future, so stay tuned for that!

(*Before August 2020, Trustroots Circles were called “Tribes”.)

Some of the new tribes

How is Trustroots different from Couchsurfing?

The elephant in the room

Couchsurfing, the largest hospitality exchange network has announced on the 14th of May, that they will be requiring many of their users to pay a monthly subscription. Since Trustroots is also enabling hospitality exchange, this is very relevant to us.

While Couchsurfing hasn’t claimed to be a charity or a non-profit since 2011, this move has angered many members of the community. When Couchsurfing turned into a for-profit, there were claims that it would also remain free. So the questions that are being asked about Couchsurfing are also relevant to other networks.

While we aren’t taking any particular action in the wake of Couchsurfing’s decision, we’re putting this post out as a “state of Trustroots in 2020” in the topics of transparency, non-profit status, community ownership and what kind of legal backing stands behind our good word to never sell out to venture capitalists.

Continue reading “How is Trustroots different from Couchsurfing?”

Covered in covids

Dear friend,

you are looking at the first letter from the Trustroots community to itself. I hope it finds you in good health during this time of plague and forced sedentariness.

This letter, and the ones that will hopefully follow every two or three months, is about stories. I want to tell you of some pretty incredible adventures that some of us in the family have gone through, and you know we’re an adventurous bunch. Hey, maybe your story needs to be told too. And it will if you allow it.

Today, you’ll read about how some of the most nomadic of us are dealing with the lockdown. I’ll tell you about Ibby, who became homeless (and penniless) in the coldest and most expensive country on Earth, about how Nick managed to salvage a Trustroot volunteer gathering, how Sara had to hide from angry mobs in India, how Tajana had to rush hitchhiking across two borders before finding sanctuary, and of Hillel’s daring escape from Paris.

I hope you enjoy reading about them and that it will inspire you in one way or another.

Continue reading “Covered in covids”

Spring Hackweek

With a pandemic rolling over Europe and borders being closed, it might not be the time for traveling right now. But we think it’s a good time for working on a traveler’s network and pushing it to the next level.

So, we didn’t cancel our hackweek that we were looking forward to. Instead, we’re doing it online. While a lot of people are currently struggling with the challenges of remote collaboration, we’re already used to it.

Today, we started the hackweek and we’re happy some new faces joined the gang! There are a lot of different ways anyone can contribute to Trustroots. If you want to be a part of that, get in touch! You don’t have to be a hacker to join the hackweek 😉

That all being said, we all value in-person contact very much and we’re looking forward to have a hackweek in the physical world once that is possible again.