Name: Aly (aka Psychotraveller)
Traveling for nearly 3 years
Words of Inspiration: “The most precious moments in life are free. I’m not talking about the free accommodation, but the connections, the laughs, the stories, the beer shared on the balcony. You can’t buy those moments and they are the ones which will stick with you forever.”
Aly has been traveling for nearly three years now, spending significant amounts of time in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia. She runs a popular Youtube channel and blog, providing great advice to other solo travelers, backpackers, and first time travelers. She also loves Couchsurfing – read why below!
How did you get started Couchsurfing? Did you have any experience Couchsurfing before you left on your trip?
Aly: I can’t remember how I first heard about Couchsurfing, I just remember being super intrigued by the prospect of staying with locals! Australia was my first destination to try it out and I had no idea what to expect, but it was fantastic.
I expected just a sofa when I arrived, but my host gave me my own room and then told me that we had an entire beach just 20 steps from the front door. He then insisted on cooking for me, and was happy for me to extend my stay. We stayed up every night chatting on his veranda and sipping on cold beers. From that moment, I got hooked!
You have a number of videos giving advice to other travelers. What is the number one thing you wish someone had told you before you left on your trip?
A: You don’t need to plan everything! Before I left for my big trip 3 years ago I took smaller solo trips around Europe where I would pre-book absolutely everything. 6 years ago, no one had heard of bloggers and YouTube was just for cat videos. I was terrified of being homeless and stranded.
I actually missed out on a lot of opportunities by manically pre-booking everything. Now, I just go with the flow and see what happens!
Are you working on any big projects?
A: At the moment I am working on the end stages of writing my first ever book! In short the book will be an uncut, raw version of my travels throughout Australia. There is so much that my audience never got to know or see. The ultimate highs and some drastic lows which never made it onto the Internet get revealed. I really don’t hold back to show people life beyond the rainbow tinted glasses that sometimes travel can be shown through.
Who is the most inspirational person you’ve met via Couchsurfing, and why?
A: It would have to be my host in Darwin. The best thing about Couchsurfing is getting a glimpse into local life. He was the typical Aussie! So laid back and happy go lucky. It was something so simple but really stuck with me: as nothing was a stress, there is never a need to rush and this lifestyle was the opposite of what I had been living for so long!
What has Couchsurfing taught you?
A: The most precious moments in life are free. I’m not talking about the free accommodation, but the connections, the laughs, the stories, the beer shared on the balcony. You can’t buy those moments and they are the ones which will stick with you forever.
What are some of the best memories you have of your time with your Couchsurfing hosts?
A: When I was staying in Byron Bay, my host asked me if I wanted to go swimming, to which of course I shouted yes. Being a beach-side town, I expected the classic sandy beach but when he turned his ute offroad I got super confused as we were heading away from the sea.
He soon pulled up to the most incredible sights I had ever seen. The hinterlands wrapped around a pristine lake with pelicans floating on top. My mouth dropped. I must have spent a good hour floating on my back squealing whenever a pelican swam right next to my head!
How long do you normally stay in a place, and how long do you think you’ll continue traveling for?
A: For me, I have to travel slow for two reasons. Firstly, I work online so moving place to place quickly is super exhausting and I get very little work done. But secondly I truly believe that if you travel slow, you see so much more. I love to spend a day people watching from a cafe. Or wandering around huge markets for hours on end. I want to really experience the culture and I don’t believe you can when you race so quickly through countries!
Either way I try to balance it out, couple of months in one place then onto a huge adventure, then back to another month or so somewhere else.
Anything else you’d like to share with the Couchsurfing community?
A: Treasure the tiny moments in life. Whether you are at home with your family, or hiking the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand. Take the smallest moments and hold onto them wherever you are in the world.