Hi! We’re a family of four – Tina (me), Ralph, Alexander, and Eoin. We live in Brisbane, Australia. I’m Greek-Australian, Ralph’s Irish, and the kids are confused.
We use this blog to document our travels. Despite living in Australia, far away from everything, we’ve been lucky enough over the years to have done a few big trips overseas: Mexico, Bali, Malaysia, and Barcelona being some of the latest ones.
In recent years, we’ve begun experimenting with ways of travel that allow us to stay longer in the places we want to see and to meet some of the people who live there. If you just book a hotel for a week in Barcelona, say, you’re not going to get much of a sense of what Barcelona’s like, in our experience. Even Airbnbing, while occasionally allowing you to meet, and even spend time with, the people of a locale, has become fairly sterile, with more and more places run pretty much as ordinary hotel rooms, at least as far as meeting people is concerned.
A few years ago, in March ’15, we decided to take eighteen months off to travel around Europe, experimenting with two social networks along the way: Help Exchange, and Couchsurfing. Helpx allowed us to spend a month in Vienna with, until the day we arrived, a family of total strangers, but people we ended up considering friends within a short time. Ditto Poland. For smaller (two- or three-days) stays, Couchsurfing let us spend time in Budapest, Salzburg, Brussels, and Provence, to name just a few spots on that very same trip, and hang out and chat with some of the nicest people we’ve ever met.
Our latest trip, from December 2017 to January 2018, a jaunt of nearly seven weeks, has not involved any of those types of stays – we’ve found that some countries lend themselves to homestays and couchsurfing more than others, and the country we concentrated on – Mexico – is not as well represented as, say, France, or Italy on either of our sites of choice. But that part of the world was utterly new to us, and the hours we spent in the jungle visiting thousand-year-old Mayan ruins was like nothing we’d ever seen. Well, nearly nothing.
The patron house of this blog, Koukla House, is a house my parents built in Zakynthos, the island in Greece from which they emigrated to come to Australia a long time ago. We go there as often as we can, which is to say about once every two years. It’s probably the thing we most look forward to in the world.