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Our Mobile Software Engineer, Nathaniel, spent over two years surfing with his wife, Kim, around the worl ... Read More

Cultural Connections in Thailand: In the Wild with Connor

Staff in the Wild is a Couchsurfing program that seeks to connect the staff at HQ with the community at large. We’re hosting travelers, organizing events and will be out surfing every week of the year. Request a staff member in your city!

Connor_Schmidt

Name: Connor Schmidt
Role: Community Support Lead
Where to? Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand
Couchsurfing makes a me a better… sharer.

 

 

Why Thailand?

I’ve always wanted to visit South East Asia and ended up choosing Thailand based on recommendations from friends.

The People He Met Along the Way

Having never been to South East Asia before, Thailand was a big culture shock for me. However, my first hosts, Terrence and Aaron, immediately made me feel at ease with their welcoming spirits. Upon my arrival, I was immediately invited to eat a meal that Aaron prepared and both of them had some great tips about what I should and shouldn’t do with my time in Bangkok. During my second night, Terrence showed me around Bangkok’s largest meat market. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen and is one of my host’s favorite places to take people to.

 “It’s now my second day in Bangkok and I’ve never been so blown away!”

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Still in awe from my time in Bangkok, I set out to Chiang Mai to meet my second host, Jin. I was quickly becoming more and more comfortable with the way of life in Thailand and it didn’t hurt that Jin quickly introduced me to her large network of friends in the area. The third night I was there, Jin’s mother kindly prepared a dinner that comprised of dishes I would never have found in any restaurant. While in the area, I was also able to escape the city setting and had a great trek through the rainforest, seeing breathtaking waterfalls, giant spiders and ending up in a small village where locals grow rice and coffee.

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My favorite parts of the trip mostly involved all of the great food I enjoyed and visiting local markets. Late at night, my host took some of us to get coconut smoothies and as we walked through the stalls, she taught me the Thai words for fruits and veggies. Though I forget many of the words now, I really felt like I was actively being integrated into the culture.

Creating Connection

I was traveling alone, but by staying with Couchsurfing hosts, I was immediately welcomed into their network of friends that were at all times there to help me. My host Jin who runs an English school company introduced me to a lot of her teacher friends, some of whom had just arrived to Thailand and others that had been there for years. “All of the people I met made my trip.”

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Heading Home Again

To me, Couchsurfing is a way to jump right into other people’s way of life. It’s cultural exchange through opening your home and livelihood to others and is great way to meet new friends around the world. By the end of the trip, through staying with some amazing hosts and being fully integrated into the culture, I started to really appreciate the “Thai way of life” and would love to go back for an extended stay!

About Martina Steinmann

Martina is Couchsurfing's Community Manager. She originally hails from Switzerland, which might explain her mild obsession for chocolate. Whenever she sees a map, she'll instantly start travel planning but her all-time favorite place in the world is a fireplace.
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