All posts tagged: California

A beginner’s guide to couchsurfing: what not to do

After spending time in Central America, flying to the US was a bit of a shock to the system – for many reasons, but particularly when it came to money. Miami and even Haiti – which is extremely expensive for tourists despite what you may think – put quite a strain on my budget, and as I landed in California and handed over that first crippling taxi fare, I knew this trend would only continue. Therefore I decided to make a compromise, enabling my indulgent tangent over to California only on the condition that I would do my best to economise. To this end, it was time to try out something new: couchsurfing. Okay, not entirely new, I’d deliberately tested out the site before I left, acting host myself on the network from my flat in London. But this was the first time I’d be using the site from a traveller’s perspective. I’d initially planned to do this in Miami as well, but an unfortunate experience meant I abandoned the idea and opted for our …

Twenty hours in transit: Haiti to Los Angeles

Despite the many wonderful people I met in Haiti, the passionate development workers of the Communitaire, the committed local project leaders, and let’s not forget all 32 incredible children of the SMDT orphanage, I’m quite happy when my time in Haiti comes to an end. Although I enjoyed my work there, it’s not a very easy place to operate in. Every day I had to make the decision between being uncomfortably hot or eaten alive by mosquitos. I would always choose the latter, and curse myself later in the evening as I tossed and turned in my bed, the dozen or so new bites swollen and ablaze around my ankles. Semone, one of my new friends from the Communitaire, observed that the climate in Haiti just doesn’t seem to agree with me. And the climate wasn’t our only restriction. Feeling limited by our lack of language skills and not wanting to put our personal safety at risk, our excursions outside of the security of the Communitaire were infrequent, and those that there were needed laborious …