From today on, you can share and write about your experiences with other Trustroots members!
Trustroots has been growing at a steady pace since 2014, and Trustroots members can tend to share a common mindset. A vast majority of the community are helpful, kind, responsible and respectful to others and when there are disputes, our large support team is there to help.
That said, sometimes members would like to understand before requesting a place to stay with a member, what experiences did this Trustrooter have so far? What kind of experiences have others had with them? Will our expectations from meeting fellow members likely be met with this person?
Well, now you can read about what other members’ experiences have been and share yours! After you’ve met, hosted, or stayed with someone, you can elaborate on the experience from your perspective. Every experience is unique and nice to share.
There are multiple reasons why someone would want to read or share an experience;
It’s a way to say “thank you” in to someone who has helped you.
One can get an idea of an experience you could have with this person. Maybe the person(s) enjoys long conversations, takes their guests on tours, is busy or not busy, or enjoys a faster or slower pace of life. You can get an idea through the experiences posted along with their bio.
You may want to see if the persons is active in the community — Perhaps you prefer to stay only with those who clearly demonstrate a level of generosity in hospitality and have some more experience than others.
Perhaps you’d like to understand what kind of people someone is meeting and how? Did they meet only with one gender, or families, or a certain language, or geographic region? It can give cues to the type of person the host has accepted in the past that could serve your research in picking a host.
A sense of safety and being able to trust fellow members is quite important. While experiences can never be a truly proactive safety feature all the time, it does help significantly to reduce risks for those using Trustroots.
How to Share your Experience with Others
To share about your experience, press “Share your experience” on their profile page.
This is how shared experiences look like. You’ll get a brief summary on top as well.
How does sharing an experience look like?
These experiences will then appear on both of your profile pages after both of you have written an experience, or after 14 days have passed. After this two weeks limit, you can still share an experience but you will not be able to add recommendation.
What if your experience with another person using Trustroots was not great?
We take trust and safety seriously at Trustroots and if a said member has clearly behaved against our rules or otherwise disrespectful to you, or those you are traveling with please report them to support. If you, or someone you know, have been witness or a victim of a crime, please report it to the local police immediately, and inform us as well.
Posting a public “bad” experience on the said users profile may not be enough to inform future members about this person. So, we would appreciate if you report it to the support team, even as a precaution and make support aware of the member. If members can’t be recommended they will need to be asked to leave the community ultimately.
This is Just a Start
As with Trustroots culture, this is our first iteration of experiences. We take everyone’s feedback, observe, listen, and re-iterate continuing to make the design as functional and beneficial for the wider community.
For now, we shall see how people begin using the feature and adjust where needed. Please share your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or in these comments. Nothing is final ever with Trustroots. We are a social experiment in community/hospitality exchange and will always improve and continue to serve all of the amazing community around the world.
What’s Next on Our To-Do List?
Add more nudges to sharing your experience, such as in emails, “adding contact” flow, and with the message inbox
Sending reminders a few days before, and at the time when the 14 day limit passes and a experience becomes public
Adding the ability to sort experiences by gender, recommendation, date, relation, and the amount of text written
Adding someone as a contact while you’re writing your experience with them
Finally, thanks for your patience! We know this was long awaited feature.
Contents: *Experiences is Launched! *HospEx Summit May 8th *Meet the Member *Say Hello to Warmshowers Refugees *On the Road as a Hobo for 14 Years *Bea’s Journey into the Multiverse *A Photo Says More Than A Thousand Words *How to Write a Hosting Request! *Relevant Links
Now you can Share an Experience about anyone on Trustroots
Experiences is launched! What is experiences? It is basically a way to leave references for those you interact with on Trustroots. We call it experiences though, because we want to encourage everyone to share their personal experience, rather than share a judgement of the persons character, which can be hard to determine in a short amount of time.
Check out more about experiences through out recent blog post here.
Hospitality Exchange (HospEx) Summit on May 8
On May 8, thought leaders from Trustroots, BeWelcome, Warmshowers, Couchers and Couchsurfing will be convening for a virtual summit to discuss the future of HospEx as Covid changes how platforms operate, and what is needed for the long term existence of such HospEx platforms. If you are interested to participate as a speaker, check out this form, and the Summit will happen on May 8, 8:00am Pacific, 5:30pm Central European Standard time. Keep updated here.
Meet The Member: Matthew Temple
He’s a filmmaker, a husband, a father and a traveler. Matthew has lived and worked every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Last year, he released two films, both a documentary and a narrative feature and wrote a book on the creative process and also recently released The Lover’s Journal, a guided journal for couples that my wife and I created together. Jans got together with Matthew to talk about his life.
Why did you join Trustroots? I was invited by my long-time hitch hiking partner and best friend. We started hitchhiking when we were sixteen (first trip northern Germany to the Cinque Terre) and over twenty-five years later, in our 40s, we recently did an amazing trip.
What was your best moment with a host (trustroots or just general/hospitality exchange)
One that stands out was long before Trustroots existed. I was hitchhiking from Germany to London with my girlfriend. I had a friend to stay with in London, but it was after dark and we were stuck on the side of the road, a couple hours away when an elderly gentleman picked us up. He had a car phone (a big deal then), so I called my friend. She was overwhelmed and said, “tonight won’t work.”
This elderly gentleman immediately called his wife and asked if he could bring us home for the night. When we arrived, it was a huge manor. His wife had wine, crackers and pate ready when we arrived. The guest suite had its own wing of the house, where we took a jacuzzi bath and finished with the sauna before bed.
The next day, he took us in to London.
What was your best moment with a guest (trustroots or just general/hospitality exchange)
How about a guest that becomes a very, very close friend? My wife had invited a couple to visit us in Nakuru, Kenya. But they booked an Airbnb and we had just planned to meet for dinner.
As it turned out, their place fell through and they sheepishly called to asked if they could crash with us. That was the beginning of a great friendship. We’ve stayed with each other many times since, traveled together – and even run the Kilimanjaro half marathon together.
What’s your favorite way of traveling
I’m a bit of a travel-chameleon. In the year before COVID, I walked over 100 miles from where I lived to Mt. Kenya, camping and sleeping floors along the way before taking four days summiting the mountain. Later in the year, I hitchhiked through Germany. At the end of the year, I stayed a week in the nicest hotel in Kisumu. A walk through Africa is the best story, but a beautiful room overlooking Lake Victoria with amazing food, wine, a marble shower, etc, is a wonderful gift. Each has its place for me.
Mariha joined our team some weeks ago as a Warmshowers refugee. She was one of the contributors-volunteers who built the WS Android app and as a bike tourer herself, she was very committed to the community. She had been feeling that Warmshowers shifted direction gradually over the past five years and wasn’t following the original philosophy anymore. The WS board recently released a new app and claimed the community built app (used by 55K users since 2012) was a security threat and urged everyone to switch to their new paid one. Mariha finally decided to look elsewhere for a collaboration and together with some other former Warmshowers volunteers she joined our team to discuss possibilities.
Since Warmshowers is only for tour bikers and their supporters, we talked about what they need on a platform and how Trustroots can help them out. Bicycle tourers have very minimal needs when traveling: a warm shower, a friendly person to chat over a meal and a safe place to stay for a night is usually more than enough. At the moment you could really help out these Warmshowers refugees by joining the cyclist circle if you would like to welcome them and update in your hosting description if you have safe storage for a bike. Bike tourers usually carry a tent, hammock or bivy with them and it could be useful for other members as well to add aside from a safe bike storage, if you have room for a tent in your garden so they can crash when their phone died and you’re not at home. Note however the location displayed on someone profile isn’t accurate due to safety reasons. Be sure to contact hosts before traveling and ask for the exact address.
In the mean time we’re working behind the screens to explore features that Warmshowers has which could also be useful for our community, like visibility for people in your own circles only and adding a phone number to your profile. For now we would like to welcome all members who joined us from Warmshowers. May you find safe havens, hospitality and community spirit here on Trustroots like you did for years on Warmshowers.
See you on the road!
On the Road as a Hobo for 14 Years (and counting) by Shawn S.
Kenny Flannery left his hometown and family with nothing but a backpack, uncertain of his next destination. He just hit the road, hitchhiked, staying at locals homes through HospEx sites, and checked out local food and drink wherever he went. Well, it’s 14 years later, and Kenny is still on the road, still making friends, still having adventures, still drinking new brews, and tasting new cuisines. We talked to him in depth in a video interview which you can watch here.
He’s never stayed in one location for longer than a month, making him a true nomad and hobo as he treks around the planet. But what about love and relationships, what about community? Well, tune into the interview to learn more..
Kenny has created offerings as he travels, including his series on visiting breweries. he’s actually raising a couple bucks to fund it, so check out his kickstarter if you want to support an independent travelers creative pursuit.
Bea it would seem had everything going for her in Brazil. She had a successful media career working for companies such as Nike and Univision, had over 100k followers on her Instagram account and had many doors of opportunity available to her to continue her career in the media industry.
She had a radical change of heart though.
She wasn’t happy in her job, and she didn’t want to have boundaries anymore and have her life dictated by her company. So, she quit her job, deleted her Instagram account, sold all her designer clothes and left Brazil to as she describes to “connect with a deep sense of humanity.”
“My life was a shit,” she said. And one night while she was in contemplation, she had an inner light come to her and clearly say to her “Trust me.”
“This light took me out of my body. I woke up and everything was beautiful and I could see downloads of the ‘source.‘”
Bea left Brazil to Europe soon after and trusted her journey each step of the way. She didn’t have a plan and would sleep and go wherever the road took her. She hitchhiked around Switzerland, over to France, and Portugal where she had citizenship as well. She would go on to teach yoga, do performance art, make wonderful connections, volunteer and stay in communities. She would also find connections from Trustroots.
“Trustroots saved my life, really,” She says.
She had been in a relationship that was beginning to turn sour, and when she felt she needed to leave, she turned to the Trustroots network and instantly found a good soul to connect with as she continued her journey.
One night she was with friends around a fire in Portugal just talking. She said in a joking manner that all she wanted to do was simply travel with a horse. Her friend decided to take her seriously, and the next day she gifted Bea a beautiful white horse. Bea packed her things, she named “Mandala” , and she went traveling with her horse.
It was a healing journey for her, and she would ride the horse south stopping along the beach, making friends, until after a few months she came to a know a community called “Land of Love.” Someone told her about it before, and one day a guy came up to her and said asked what she was doing. After talking, he welcomed Bea and Mandala to the Land of Love, where he was a community member. After a little time, the community adopted Mandala and Bea decided to go back to Brazil as Covid began to grow around the world.
Bea’s advice to travelers who want to be as free spirited as she is is while it can be really hard, she says to keep your frequency high, to silence your heart, to eliminate boundaries you may impose on yourself, and to look at the best side of every person and to smile often. While she had fears, even as a female, she never experienced abuse or danger, and the connections always came to her.
Currently, Bea is in Bern, Switzerland after a 9 month Covid quarantine in Brazil. She’s continuing to travel, open to any opportunities, and is producing music, art and getting more involved in crypto.
“We need to trust each other. I believe in life, human connection, community and no boundaries. “
A Photo Says More Than a Thousand Words by Ivan F.
“My Trip on Teide“
“It was my first 4000m high hike!” Paul said. It supposed to be the classic one, starting from 2000m and going to the top at 3,718m. However on the day before they spontaneously decided that it would be nice to start from the beach and hike the 4,000m in one shot!
“We started at 1pm with a single bottle of water. We assumed we would buy it from a store there but everything was closed!“. It took them an hour to find people who are willing to give enough water for the hike. “It was difficult because of the length but to be fair, we are no less proud of it!” . The best moment of this hike? “After walking under the stars for the whole night, we arrived just in time for the sunrise with a view on all other islands. Magnificent!” – Paul Grillet | Find Paul on LinkedIn.
“Dax en Annie“
Annie just turned 60 on March 9th. On that day, she started her 1,572km journey with Dax from their home in Mechelen, Belgium to Estivella on the Mediterranean coast of Valencia, Spain by foot! For Annie, walking is a form of therapy after overcoming cancer. She’s sticking to her life motto Tabu soro; which means ‘Never Give Up’ in Fijian.
Dax; named after Jadzia Dax from Star Trek Deep Space Nine, is a working kelpie with a lot of energy and always manage to charm people around her. “We walk approximately 25 kilometers each day. And we try to meet people along the way, stay with new friends and add experiences to our lifes!” – Annie Timmermans.
When I think of what’s important for a healthy life, I think of travel. Travelling gives you freedom. Travelling makes your emotions come alive. Travelling forces you to confront your personality. Travelling allows you discover new loves.
And, on a personal note, travelling exposes you to great food. Whenever it’s a local or exotic dish, you can tell people’s culture by the way they treat their food. And sometimes it’s absolutely amazing! Being a budget traveller, I love how we gradually discover that life is not all material, but that everything we need in life is from within. And, of course, a cleverly packed backpack.
Now the threat of covid is starting to slowly diminish many people are cautiously starting to look into the possibilities of travelling again. Soon you’ll could be knocking on someone’s digital door with a request to stay. A fair part of Trustroots user base are seasoned surfers and hosts. But for those of you new to all of this, or those of you just looking for inspiration here are some tips for writing a good host request.
This is the first in a new set of how-to articles based on the Trustroots Wiki. Just like to any Wiki these entries can be edited by anyone who wants to add something. So feel free to work on the entry on writing hosting requests, or on any other topic you can contribute to.
Read their profiles!
See if you may be compatible or at least get along.
Try to contact those who have logged on recently, you can contact those who haven’t but if they don’t have push notifications set up, they won’t see your request.
If you’re traveling with friends, make sure they all have profiles.
Start with a good impression and say the person’s name
Introduce yourself. Don’t tell your whole life story, but try a little harder than just saying, “Hi! I want to surf your couch.” Don’t copy/paste your request emails to try to get a couch.
Timing is everything
Don’t rush, but don’t be too early. If you need a couch by tomorrow, you are making it hard for yourself. Try to send requests 1-4 weeks before. Many hosts will have a hard time accepting couch requests more than a few weeks in advance
Don’t feel bad about asking more than one host at the same time
Are you for real?
Make sure you have a complete and detailed profile.
Write about what you want to do in the place you are wanting to visit
And feel free to ignore any or all of these rules if you want. This is just what the collective wisdom of the contributors to the wiki, and is meant to help you on your way if you do find more effective methods why not add them to the wiki?
Share your moments
Every newsletter we’re looking for stories and photo’s to share with you, our community. Besides the newsletter we’re using our social media channels to inspire and show people who don’t know Trustroots (yet), what we’re about.
If you photograph frequently, have an active social media account or a huge database with amazing photo’s, you can simply leave the link to your personal account at the form, so we can take a look. In the form you’ll also find the general terms and conditions. Together we make this platform what it is, so why not share your amazing moments?
There’s a lot going on behind the screens, and we have volunteers working on different fields to improve our platform. One of those fields is translating Trustroots to multiple languages, and we’re happy to say we’re releasing translated Trustroots in five of those languages!
From this day forward, you can select one of these languages, and instead of English, most wording will change in your selected language. Of course, our goal is to offer more languages, but for that: We need your help! If you’re interested, please join our volunteer team. We’ll help you get started.
When logged out, you’ll see a language button in the top right corner of the homepage. Here you can select your preferred language. When logged in, you can change your language preference at the “interface language” section in your account settings.
Please note that this is not an automatic translation tool. Therefore everything you write on your profile will show as the language that you wrote it in. The same goes for other members their profiles. This tool is created to make it easier to navigate and use Trustroots for those preferring another language than English.
Here are also some numbers on translation progress:
Note that 100% refers to portion of website that currently can be translated. Some parts of Trustroots are still on little bit older technology and are not included in translation tool. To help us get over finish line, join our development team!
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
ThisWeekend 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.
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.
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.
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
Sometimes There Are a Thousand Words in a Photo by Ivan Frmann
Christian welcomed his very first guest from Trustroots recently. His thoughts….
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
“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
“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
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.
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
(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! )
Check out his Trustroots Profile to get your Karaoke on next time you find yourself in Tokyo!
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 email@example.com, or DM those platforms directly (Check links below).
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 !
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
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 email@example.com
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:
Fred has a vegan diet. Fred doesn’t want anyone to consume meat/dairy products in their kitchen.
Claudia eats only meat. Claudia doesn’t want anyone to eat vegetables in their kitchen.
Noel has a bad experience with creepy men. Noel doesn’t want anyone to be naked in their apartment.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like it!
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 email@example.com, 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”.)