I’ve been posting so many of these multiple-photo storyboard-esque entries that I’m going to need to limit the number on each page, to avoid a massive laggy load-time for you lot on slower connections. Is that something people have noticed, or not? If the latter, I might not bother.
Prelude out of the way, the photos and existential musings can continue.
“we’ve only known each other for like 24 hours right?”
I am prepared to accept that this may well just be a consequence of my own particular brand of hyper-emotionalism, but it never ceases to amaze me just how close people can become over such short periods of time when in a scenario outside the norm, or which requires a level of dependance and immediate trust.
From the years spent at an annual week-long trip to an outdoor centre up north, this was something that I’ve been keenly aware of, and fascinated by. If a large group of disparate, boundary-aware teenagers were able to become subject to such strong feelings of attachment to one another in the face of such youthful defense mechanisms, then it surely has to be a force worth reckoning with.
Couchsurfing throws people into the generousity and care of complete strangers. You’re not just sharing a communal, purpose-built centre; you’re entering right into the very heart of their lives and every-day worlds. At least, that’s how it should be… and when it is, then that’s when the most inspiring emotional experiences can take place. That same person who you wouldn’t have noticed on the street just one day ago suddenly feels like an old friend. It’s a wonderful thing.
Of course it’s not all about situationism though. From the outdoor centre days that is also clear. The setup on its own isn’t enough to render natural enemies (and idiots) endeared to our hearts… there has to be something more.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? There’s probably plenty of people out there who we’d love and who’d love us back, but how do we meet them; how do we strike up and initiate interaction in a social world which is constructed in such a fashion that whatever route we take is a predicate to some sort of motive?
Where is the only place in our society that we can really go up to strangers and attempt to strike up some sort of rapport? It has to be anywhere that is lubricated with alcohol and other substances, so that if all goes wrong, we can blame the booze, cos that’s just what you do when you’re pished. Of course… the natural by-product is that of suspicion and dubiety.
Couchsurfing manages to smash through that barrier and put you in touch with those people; the people that are just like you… with your thoughts and ideals and social hierarchial circles of friends… the people that mirror your lives in parallel, but yet have no way of crossing over and bridging in our current structures.
It’s not just couchsurfing though… you can see this sort of philosophy at work at music festivals, where people seem to become free from their self-flagellating shackles and espouse the virtues of “meeting random people”. Why? Because when we find these people… these people that we have such a pure, un-corrupted interaction and introduction with… free from motive; free from poisonous expectations that are stained with the perceptions and web of relations that we’re perilously entwined in…. we become free ourselves.
The people we discover and bond with in these beautiful, rare circumstances are ones we throw ourselves into as a result, and we treasure them and hold onto them with all of our emotional supplies…. because they remind us that there’s hope; that we’re more than just a conveyor belt of capital and consumption and bio-chemical weapons and religion and stature and hierarchy and position and finance and job prospects and education and ideologies and all that other stuff that puts us into our boxes and regulates our behaviours and even our own thoughts.
It reminds us that we can really be alive.