Couch Connections (2020) - full transcript

The world seems to separate people more than connecting them. A private couch shows a place of approach and strangers becoming friends.

My mom always told me, "Never talk to strangers."

And yet, in my first apartment,

I only talked to strangers,



I even let them sleep in my house.

Hey, we're starting our first day

to stroll through the streets of Vienna.

(cheers)

Woo-hoo!

This is Maya and Katie from the United States.

I met them thanks to Couchsurfing,

a site that connects travelers with locals

to provide them with a free place to spend the night.

Hi, this is Mozart's daughter here.

I take off my hat.

(soft piano)



♪ The hills are alive with sound ♪

These two girls are my first

Couchsurfers, and I have to admit it,

Their open nature is too much for me.

This nervousness is visible on my face.

Here they are, now they are in Vienna,

and they drive me crazy.

Drive me crazy.

At least I'm working on my English,

which is very necessary.

You have to ask me a question.

What? You must

ask me a question

How is your trip to Vienna going?

Vienna is really spectacular!

Pipi was a very good tour guide.

Hi everyone! It is really cold.

It's really cold here at the point of view.

We're 150 meters above sea level now.

Ok the game is, we gotta run

around the tower screaming.

OK, one, two, three.

(howl)

(laughs)

It was a bad race.

This time it was really bad.

(laughs)

Hey!

It's okay?

You don't know what we were doing here, do you?

Big surprise.
Ha, a very big surprise!

Why is the camera moving like this?

Well, we had a great time together,

you are a beautiful person.

We really appreciated...
Best guide ever.

Your English will be wonderful and -

good luck with

the movie - it will
be very famous!

We love you!

Maya and Katie started in me

a passion for traveling myself.

I want to see the world and leave it all behind.

But I don't have enough courage.

It's been 7 years since their visit

and I'm doing well, I'm not complaining.

I passed my diploma in cinema

I have my own apartment in Vienna,

I have friends who like to have fun,

and a job that I love.

Everything could be worse.

(laughs)

Still, I have this feeling of missing something.

What is preventing me from changing my life?

The unknown?

Don't know what's going to happen tomorrow?

Or am I afraid to leave my comfort zone?

From all places, inspiration comes to me

at my grandmother's toilet.

An old man said: "If I had to live again",

"I would care less, I would live my crazier life."

And I don't wanna wake up someday

too late for anything I could have done.

So I make my decision.

Just do it.

Do not worry.

(groovy music)

When I found out what was involved

with Couchsurfing I was terrified to know

that my daughter stay with strangers.

I have never tried before,

so i have a little fear about it,

because I don't know this person,

so it can be a delicate situation.

I am not afraid of unknown people,

but I pay a lot of attention to my space.

People are trying to use it like Tinder.

I have certainly had similar requests:

"Hey sexy, you look cute."

"Can I sleep in your bed?"

I let this opportunity pass,

we'll never know how good this guy was in bed.

The craziest experience was

with the host one in New Haven, USA,

where I didn't know he was supporting

the nudist movement and I was forced

to sleep naked with him.

I would trust a stranger in my house

because I have 2 dogs and a gun under my bed.

So I don't worry about strangers!

Without weapons and dogs in my bags,

I start my journey from sofa to sofa.

This way of traveling is not for everyone.

That I know.

My adventure too begins with a step into the unknown.

I don't know what I'm getting into.

Neither does Kendall from San Diego.

I am his first Couchsurfer.

Because, in the student accommodation where she lives,

there are no authorized guests.

This is the first time she has raped

this rule - and it does it for me.

Yeah, welcome to my dorm.

I have lived here for three years more or less.

And I have a room for myself.

Two beds, one for me and another that is

a little less comfortable for surfers.

So am I going to sleep here?

Yeah yeah.

It's really close to the ceiling.

(laughs)

I hope you're OK.

Yeah I think if I put my head down

on the left, I think it will get better.

Yeah, it's gonna be fine.

But there are other ways to make yourself comfortable here.

I have a kitchen to make an infusion,

fridge, freezer, microwave...

So cook in the microwave?

It's the American way.

(laughs)

My first time, the days before

I was super nervous, honestly.

It's weird, I shouldn't be nervous

I think, it's me who opens my house,

yeah, and who's generous, but yeah...

I was so nervous what they would think of me

or what they would think of my house,

or my period, would they be comfortable?

So I was very nervous, and meet a stranger

for the first time and in just a few hours,

let them sleep in the same room,

it's quite a strange experience.

First time in a dorm on this trip.

(laughs)

It reminds me of my childhood.

I was sleeping on the top bunk,

so that's pretty cool.

This last year I tried a lot

new experiences. I discovered some news

about myself, what I'm comfortable with,

what I'm not comfortable with.

So it's been a strange year

but it was really interesting.

Really, it's quite small,

but it's clean and comfortable

and for sure, so i like living here,

and i hope you like it too.

I think in the back of my mind

there is always the fear that someone

could steal or break something,

or just get you into trouble.

I don't know what to expect since

it was my first time then, yeah...

maybe I will have more fears afterwards.

Unlike Kendall,

my host Jessica in Montreal already knows

all Couchsurfing details.

Over 100 reviews on her profile - she is a great host.

It is at her place that I meet Alberto.

He is like me, one of the many

people to whom Jessica lends her sofa.

Usually I only accept one surfer at a time,

so that they have good conditions.

But yeah, Christoph asked me...

You can call me Pipi.

I can't, I'm sorry,

I can't do this seriously.

It means urine in French.

Yeah, but it's the same in all languages

so, it's OK.
Yeah I can't do that

I'm sorry.

The world is now, especially now,

yeah, in the last five years

I have the impression that we are returning to a lot of intolerance,

and a lot of misunderstanding of anything different.

It's your cat?

Yes. Isn't that a cute cat?

I don't wanna traumatize you

but that's how I got this scar.

(laughs)

It may not look like it,

judging by this,

but I don't really like cats.

Especially when they keep me awake.

All night long.

I quickly understood that I must

accept my host's rules.

It is not always that simple.

Someone welcomes you to their home for free.

It's okay to just, yeah,

respect things, not to break anything,

to clean up after you, stuff like that.

I also want to have human contact.

I don't like, if you only want a place

to sleep, it's called Airbnb.

You can leave your bag here.

Here, there is all the info for WiFi,

connector and password.

The bathroom is here.

The shower is pretty normal.

Just, yeah, don't shut up that thing,

this is the hot water switch.

If you want to do the dishes,

which would be appreciated if you use it

make sure you don't stack them too high

in a dangerous way.

You have questions?

No, I think everything is fine.

And I also want people to come out.

I don't like when couchsurfers

use my WiFi all day,

then I have the impression

to be a little exploited.

You're in a different city, go see something.

(soft music)

How bad are the living conditions

are different in the world.

I did it especially in Vietnam.

Owning a sofa is considered a luxury,

possible only for a few.

It is the public space that becomes

the second Vietnamese show.

The houses are functional, not welcoming.

Krong's place is no exception to this rule.

How many days in Vietnam?

(laughs)

Are you filming me? Yeah.

I already act like an actress.

You don't have to act, just be yourself.

Because I see - Just be
you, it's okay.

I didn't have much experience,

because to be honest I don't have,

i can't satisfy my friends

with this space and it is quite far from the center.

So it's pretty hard for me.

So I haven't hosted anyone before.

It's your house?

Yeah, I can say that.

It's my house.

Is it a house or?

Not really, it's a small room.

Our little space, shared with my brother.

This is my brother.

His name Chao.

What is your name?

My name is Chao. Chao.

We've been living together for maybe ten years.

Almost ten years.
10 years, okay.

Do you need more space?

Sometimes. Sometimes?

Sometimes. A little privacy?

Yes, private place, because sometimes

I get sick, and I bother him a lot.

When he sleeps, I cough, and I disturb him.

With the girls, sometimes we have

problems, trouble. Yeah.

For example you need a corner

to cry, like that, and I can't

cry in front of my brother, you see.

Yeah, it's very small, 24 meters.

Square meters?

We have a private house in my town

No, my parents' house.

Large, lots of rooms. But in

a big city like Saigon, we don't have the money

to buy an apartment.
A bigger one.

Yeah, we gotta rent a room.

And we have to share with others.

Sleep, cook - we do everything together.

Very typical.

Is that our bed?

Sometimes it changes, every night I sleep here.

If it's okay I can sleep here

because he snores a lot.

Do we sleep on the floor in Vietnam?

I think so, I think so.

Krong's room serves as a bedroom, kitchen,

garage and workplace at the same time.

She has no space, but she is happy to share

his possessions with strangers like me.

Do you like fresh chili?

I have some fresh chili.

(soft music)

In India, space is also very limited.

Public transport is torture.

At least I managed to find my own compartment.

Yet I feel drowned by all these people.

(sirens, horns)

I was all the more surprised to see

my couch, with the host, Eksha.

This is going to be your room.

So you have a bed, and air conditioning.
Air conditioning?

Yes.

Not even all hotel rooms have it!

This one has one. And a broken TV.

(laughs)

And now that you're gonna stay here

i will live with my parents.

So I have the room for myself?

Yes. Oh my God.

(laughs) It's so sweet.

So you share the bed with your parents?

Yes.

For one month? No!

(laughs)

I told you, I will stay here for a month.

First of all, I was skeptical,

because I live with my parents,

and we've never done anything like it.

Mostly for free!

(laughs)

She is too shy.

Say hi to him.

Hi!

(laughs)

We are a small family of four.

My mother, my father, my little dog.

What is the dog's name?

Money. Like money?

Money, money.

(laughs)

It is money for us.

(laughs)

So it's like a member of the family.

Yes, we are in four.

He's like a wolf!

(howl)

My parents are really cool with this.

It was unexpected for me, because I thought

that they wouldn't like it, I thought

that it would disturb their personal space.

But I see that my mother in particular...

she is a better hostess than me.

She is very enthusiastic, especially in the kitchen,

so all my references mention it

"Her mother cooks, cooks, cooks..."

and everything like that.

(the meal sizzles)

I prepare Chapatis.

Chapati?

Yeah, they're Chapatis. Yeah.

My first time.

Here.

Keep spinning.

Indians have been very welcoming for thousands of years.

We have this sentence in our rules

"Atithi devo bhava" which means,

"The guest is like our God."

We treat him that way, with love and respect.

All over India you will find people

very welcoming, especially towards people

other countries. They are ready to help you,

without expecting anything in return.

I could feel the hospitality.

I have my own room and 3 meals a day.

Even a five star hotel couldn't make me feel

as well as Eksha's family.

(groovy music)

(cheers)

During Couchsurfing, I don't know

only my host's house.

In Texas, I am even invited to take a trip.

Are you looking forward to your race?

I am ready to roll! Yeah?

Yeah.

(groovy music)

My host Larry is participating in a 24 hour bike race,

and I'm part of his team.

Come on Larry, come on!

Woo!

For 300 miles I ride by his side

through the Texan desert.

Alright, here's the crew member

The most important.

(laughs)

The driver!

We go to the checkpoint in

about 20 miles, so he practices

his Texan accent. Tell us something!

Howdy!

Okie dokie!

(laughs)

I think you will sound like a Texan.

Yeah, do you think so?

(laughs)

They won't stop me?

(laughs)

(groovy music)

Okie dokie!

How's the motivation going?

The what?

Motivation.

Motivation.

Show us some motivation, Larry.

Motivation? Yeah.

Hoorah.

Cold beer. Cold beer! (laughing)

Cold beer.

43 miles before cold beer. (laughing)

For breakfast.

How many miles we have left...

Don't put that in the movie.

(laughs)

(groovy music)

Throughout my journey, I know

new people and their faces every day.

This way I explore the east coast

from the United States with Maxime.

So are we gonna drive together?

Yes, if you are not afraid.

(laughs)

No.

You have to tell me the story of the accident.

What an accident?

(laughs)

You can still drive it.

How did it happen?

Hey, the brakes weren't strong enough,

and I was going downhill, turning right

at the last minute. I crashed into another car.

(laughs)

When I was little my mother used to warn me

to get in a car with strangers.

(engine starts)

But if you want to live a little

you have to ignore some rules.

When you spend a lot of time together

you gain confidence faster.

Maxime is part of the LGBTQ community,

and tells me about his personal experience

with Couchsurfing.

When it comes to sex,

this is a fairly common thing.

This site should be renamed

"Sexsurfing" instead of "Couchsurfing".

And someone answered me,

it already exists, it's called "Cocksurfing".

I checked the site, because I am very curious,

and it's very official and straightforward and simple:

"It's a way to travel the world

and have sex with your hosts. ”

Oh yeah, just do it.

(sucking)

The last time someone came to my house

very late, and he said to me: "Oh, I'm exhausted"

"I need to take a shower."

I say, "Yeah, sure, the shower is over there."

So literally five minutes after entering my home,

he was already naked in the living room,

and he was taking a shower

with the bathroom door open.

So I say to myself: "It's weird, but okay, he's very open"

Then I said to him: "Okay, the mattress"

"Extra is in my room."

So I walk into my room, he was really exhausted.

And once in my room he went

on my bed, not the extra mattress,

and he was still naked after his shower.

And in this situation, I thought

"Alright, I know what you're looking for."

(groovy music)

Partying is a must while traveling.

Every year, the full moon parties

legendaries attract hundreds of thousands

of young people at the beaches of Thailand.

For me this is the perfect opportunity

to party with people from all over the world.

(cheers)

(dance music)

Ready for the full moon party?

(cheers)

Those who can,

celebrate until morning.

Those who cannot seek it

the closest place for a nap.

I also fish for a place to stay.

And I find a sofa in Bangkok.

My host Fiona widens my horizon once more.

As a young girl I looked like a boy

but I behaved like a girl,

I walk like a girl

so it doesn't fit my shell, my soul.

So I have to adapt and be like others.

Otherwise, people judge and intimidate you.

"Why don't you just become a girl?"

"Because the way you speak, the way you act is girlish."

So I adapt my appearance

to the way I act.

And my mind and my heart are,

I feel and think like a woman.

Fiona describes her appearance: The silhouette

from his mother and his father's gift.

His body is his temple.

She earns a living as a model.

It's beautiful, it's a nude art photo.

And it's something that highlights

the reality and beauty of transgender people.

And that's me.

(She laughs)

It's Goofy in feminine clothes.

Tom and Jerry.

I like.

They are beautiful, they are trans now.

Disney characters.

It's my art. If I'm stressed, I draw.

The lifestyle of a transgender Asian person

is normal, it is the same lifestyle.

We can't be normal with people

especially tourists, because you see everywhere

like on tv, everyone thinks we're just a freak show.

We are just that,

but they don't know that we have feelings.

The reason we have so many

transgender people here is that i can

just go to the pharmacy and buy

my hormones to become a woman.

The 3 things we have that you westerners

do not have: You are hairy, tall

and your bone structure is great.

Even you can see that an Asian guy,

a straight man, is the opposite of you.

So this is the reason why it is

very easy for us to be feminine.

Let's go shopping!

Shopping can release stress and tension.

I look like you, but without the breasts.

(laughs)

Yeah, looks good on you.

You should try this!

Yes why not?

Every girl's dream is to wear

a white dress and a white veil.

Even though she was born a boy.

When people look at me I don't care

and it doesn't really bother me.

Everyone is watching...

We are looking for beautiful things,

strange or unusual things,

so for me, when they look at me,

I really don't care,

they are not aggressive,

they don't hurt me.

So they could appreciate my beauty.

Maybe they think I'm trans

or maybe "Is this a woman?"

So they have doubts, they doubt.

So they're free to watch.

It's normal.

Everything is beauty in the eyes of the beholder.

Fiona lives her life exactly

as she wishes.

What others think of her

doesn't really matter to her.

Thanks to her, I learned not to judge

people too fast.

I try more than ever to cross

this world with its eyes wide open,

get to know people better,

to check my opinions. The world is

too diverse to put it in boxes.

(cheerful music)

Traveling cannot be taken for granted.

I only realized this on my way.

Unfortunately, traveling is impossible

for a lot of people around the world.

Welcoming travelers for them is the only way

to get to know other cultures.

I had a guy here from South Africa.

This is one of my favorite stories.

It was his first experience with Couchsurfing.

His first experience outside Africa.

He had never traveled outside of his country.

And about three weeks before arriving,

he sent me a message saying,

"Alan, would you do me a favor?"

I said, "Of course" and he said:

"Can you talk to my mother?"

I thought, "What?"

He wanted me to Skype with his mother,

because she was afraid of the place

where her little boy was going to stay.

So I spent 20 minutes talking it,

and halfway she said to him:

"I think you will be fine."

I had mom's seal of approval.

I thought it was really good.

I want to practice my english,

I want to have a lot of friends

many countries.

With English you have plenty of opportunities

to interact, to know more about the world,

and you can even read books,

watch movies without subtitles.

I never go out of the country so I wanna see a lot of people

from all over the world and discover their cultures.

For that, we need a common language.

Almost everywhere you can communicate in English.

But to be completely honest with you,

at the start of the trip, my english was pretty terrible.

No matter how much

you master a language.

You just need to keep on trying

without taking you too seriously.

Giang from Hanoi volunteers to teach

English to his neighbor's children.

And he does it in his own house.

I just give them some kind of base

to speak English.

Not everything, but they can communicate

with strangers, with simple sentences.

My name is Chami.

I am nine years old.

From where are you?

I am from Vietnam.

It's good!

How many people are there in your family?

Family.

My mother, my father, my sister,

My brother and I.

Sensational.

Children will have a better future

with English, because there are many

Westerners who come to Vietnam.

And they will find a job with their help,

because they can speak English.

And the second reason for studying English:

They can go abroad and discover the world in English.

(cheers)

The children are free for today,

and now it's my turn.

Vietnamese for beginners.

The first is hello.

Xin chao. Xin chao.

Yeah.

And now on the second word, thank you.

Is cam on.

Look at my mouth.

What did I get involved in?

Vietnamese is not an easy language.

It's a tonal language, and in this case,

for each syllable, there are 6 different sounds,

It can completely change the meaning.

(laughs)

Thank you very much.

You're welcome.

In Vietnamese, it is khong co gi.

Alright, it's time to go.

(laughs)

(groovy music)

I will never be a genius of languages.

That I know.

Korean is not an easy language either.

At least I can say hello, thank you and Health!

(speaks a foreign language)

(the bell rings)

Apart from the language, I had another problem

in South Korea in particular.

Cold temperatures of -15 degrees.

I was not at all prepared for.

Being from Austria with the Alps at our doorstep,

I was naive enough to believe that

other places weren't so cold.

Fortunately the family prepared me

an even warmer welcome,

and the way to a person's heart,

is through their stomachs.

First time to gimbap.

And now?

(speaks a foreign language)

And carrots?

Mm-hmm.

How often do you prepare gimbap?

(speaks a foreign language)

Not often. It's really difficult

to organize these ingredients.

Okay.

(laughing)

Thanks for being able to do this.

(speaks a foreign language)

I will stay in Korea and do gimbap every day.

All my life.

(speaks a foreign language)

(laughs)

(speaks a foreign language)

She said: “You go to Austria and sell gimbap”.

Oh yes!

(laughs)

I can do it.

I think I will... It's just--

I haven't seen the gimbap in Austria.

(speaks a foreign language)

Today you have about three rolls.

Really? Yeah.

Really, oh my... Yeah.

Perfect? Perfect!

Perfect!

(laughs)

Oh.

(speaks a foreign language)

Am I master of the gimbap?

Master of the Gimbap!

(laughs)

When I discovered Couchsurfing,

it was entirely new to me.

So I didn't know what to expect and

I was afraid that a stranger would stay with us.

But we've already had a lot of help from Couchsurfers in the United States.

So this was the perfect opportunity to give back

and I am very happy to have tried it.

(laughs)

I have never seen my mother so happy.

It's a truly innocent and pure smile.

My brother too.

It opened up a whole new world to him.

Couchsurfing is like

you were on that trip, you know?

You are part of this traveler.

So you see, you are contributing.

I guess Couchsurfing is

an exciting feeling, it brings excitement

to normal life and makes you feel

to want to travel again, you know?

(soft music)

(Bells are ringing)

(car horns)

Anjum lives in Udaipur,

with his parents and siblings.

She convinced the whole family

Couchsurfing.

It makes me happy to welcome people,

and I think it brings us good luck.

In our culture, we treat guests like our gods.

So we will make them happy too.

They will have a family in India and will leave

with a smile on their face.

And a smile is what I want to see on the faces of my guests.

Alas, I can only stay for tea,

because Anjum is only allowed to host

female couchsurfers at night.

(speaks a foreign language)

(laughs)

I love it!

Thank you! I love it.

(speaks a foreign language)

The bags under the eyes of the little one do not come

besides not of an evening of madness.

Coal in their eyes like this

in fact it's very old, it's like,

it will save the child or a person from evil eyes.

So that's the main cause.

And the girls do it to be beautiful,

to have big eyes.

But I don't like to put it on,

because my eyes are already big.

(laughs)

(speaks a foreign language)

I don't have this privilege to explore

the world, but I can meet people

from anywhere, so I'm interested.

It's amazing for me to be with them.

That's why I'm on Couchsurfing.

Thanks to Couchsurfing, you can find more

than a sofa for the night.

In California I even met my neighbor

Couchsurfing travel companion.

Kathi is from Germany.

Together we party in every city

from the west coast of the United States.

When we travel together and share a small space,

we learn a lot about ourselves and about others.

You grow up during this time, no matter how it works in the end.

Couchsurfing is of course also associated with a certain risk.

Often times, things don't go as planned.

Always nothing.

Me neither.

We have not received a response

from our potential Couchsurfing host

and it is already ten o'clock.

So, I don't think we'll be lucky tonight.

He said he would come get us here

but the outlook is a bit lame.

There is no hostel nearby

and the cheapest room would cost $ 120 a night.

No way.

We'll end up staying in the car for the night.

Quite comfortable with both of us.

At least there is alcohol to keep us warm.

Yes. So we won't be cold tonight, right?

Sorry. Health.

(Try to rap in German)

What are the lyrics again?

(actually rap in German)

You confuse me.

A night in the car is proof of this.

The search for hosts is often difficult.

More than once we end up sitting on the side of the road

at night, not knowing where we will spend it.

But it's exactly that thrill that makes it so fun.

Why not go further?

Hitchhiking.

Always smiling.

I thought it would be easier.

There is a lot of waiting for hitchhiking.

But the wait is paying off.

It's not because someone is hitchhiking

that he's a horrible person.

But most of the time they have little luck,

they try to go elsewhere,

they try to travel, see different things.

And when I saw you, I was thinking

well, maybe it's the same situation.

I thought, well her hair is done,

she doesn't seem to live in an alley

or something like that, they're trying to go to LA.

They must be tourists, just trying to get there.

Good job, Kathi. Yay!

How graceful and beautiful you are.

This is how I woke up this morning.

(laughs)

What is our beauty for,

if we can't be seen at night?

We tried it for three hours.

We changed places three times.

and no one wanted to take us.

Now it is too dark.

The funny thing is that the driver who dropped us off here,

will take us back to San Diego.

So we didn't go that far,

from San Diego to San Diego.

Yay!

The story of my life.

Tomorrow is another day.

And now we're going back.

And now we're going back to San Diego.

One way or another, you will get there.

(laughs)

Sorry. No problem, man.

Thank you. I go back down

anyway, so it worked.

What was it like traveling with me?

We've been traveling together for three weeks

and we always get along wonderfully.

It's because we have quite similar characters.

We are spontaneous,

we don't plan ahead,

and we just go with the flow.

We don't have a fixed plan for when to go where.

Our shared adventures have come to an end.

It's time to go our separate ways.

I'm on my own again, looking for hosts.

It does not make life easier.

Often times, I sit around for hours messaging people.

Long hours of waiting and rejection

after another, it's tiring.

But who seeks, finds a host, even in places

the most remote.

(soft music)

Welcome to my cabin in Yosemite,

it's called a wob, w-o-b.

Which means "without bathrooms".

That's precisely it, a living space,

without bathroom.

Two people live here, me and my roommate.

I just moved in three days ago.

That's why everything is still a mess, but,

this is where I live.

So how much are you paying for this?

How much I pay...

Well, that's a good question.

It's only $ 21 a week.

So it's the same price

that we paid for beer yesterday.

In fact, I paid more for the beers yesterday,

including tip. $ 21 per week

not bad for a place like this.

Yeah, that's great.

(water gushes out)

(soft music)

Yeah, woo-hoo, I did!

(light music)

A real paradise.

The United States has a lot to offer.

Apart from breathtaking nature,

unfortunately also one or two bad experiences.

During a Couchsurfing meeting in Atlanta,

other travelers tell me about their travels.

Apparently there are a lot of nudists on Couchsurfing.

Mudassar tells me the naked truth.

He was naked when he opened the door.

If anyone had passed in his hallway,

he would have seen his thing.

When I walked in, I wanted to give her a hug.

Suddenly, whoa!

No no no no!

And the man - I'm turning in that direction

and he turns, "Alright, come on Mudassar!"

So you didn't give her a hug?

Of course not, damn it, no!

And I'll tell you one more thing

this guy didn't mention anywhere on his profile

that he wanted us to be naked in his house.

He should have mentioned that.

So I wouldn't have gone.

But then no one will stay!

No, there are people who like it.

Because after that I went to see

many profiles of guys.

There were nudists,

and they were very clear about it.

They said: "Okay, I'm a nudist",

"And you must be naked in my house."

Stories like that make me think

to my journey.

How would I react in such a situation?

Soon I will have an answer.

In New York, I sent 50 requests.

However, only one person accepts me,

under one condition.

I have to share the bed with him.

Well, what choice do I have?

May I introduce you, this is Bob.

Hello. Hi!

Welcome to New York, are you okay?

Hey!

I'm doing well, and you?

Good enough, bring your bag here,

and I'll show you where you can sleep.

You can put your bag here,

and you will sleep here.

So I have to share the bed with you?

Yeah, I hope it's okay

There are roommates and another Couchsurfer,

so it's a little tight.

So you are the lucky one.

(laughs)

I hosted around 200 people.

I say in the profile that I am a nudist,

I assumed they had read it and it was fine with them.

There are surfers who are also nudists.

Most are not, and a few are.

I think they are okay with that.

The living room, and make yourself at home.

Eat and drink whatever you want.

I'll give you the keys

so you can come and go when you want.

Are you not afraid that your neighbors

see you naked?

Actually no it's hard to see inside

during the day, and at night

I have curtains in the bedroom.

I had a funny story though.

The guy from the supermarket has a friend who lives next door

and he said he could see me naked,

and I said "Eugene, I would be so happy if someone"

"Could see my penis half a block away"

"I would be the proudest man in the building."

(laughs)

This is a famous naked man.

Now I would like to look like him.

(laughs)

And this is my old roommate Arthur, a self portrait.

(laughs)

I am a nudist because I don't like to wear clothes.

I like this freedom.

I started at about 23 years old. I lived in Chicago,

and I would swim in Lake Michigan naked,

and I was taking the naked sun.

And it's just more comfortable.

It works like that.

And then you can adjust it as you want.

Thank you! Be careful,

you can burn yourself in here, okay.

You risk having no more hair!

(laughs)

It's a smoothie like that. Yeah!

I should shave it.

No need to shave it.
It's very sexy.

(laughs)

Have I told you this story before?

I had these three different people here

who had not read my profile.

They hadn't read?

So they didn't know what they expected.

Well I opened the door

and he said, "Oh no, some people!"

And I said, "Did you read my..."

I said, "Come on, come over here, cause you know,"

"I don't want the neighbors to see me in the hallway."

So I said, "Come in."

I said, "Have you read my profile?"

He said "No".

And I said, "I'm nudist, if I make you uncomfortable

I'm going to put on pants. "

He said, "No, no, we're at your place."

If someone felt uncomfortable and didn't know it,

or I also have textile friends,

when they come to dinner, I always wear my clothes.

(laughs)

I also have laissez-faire friends

and then I have nudist friends.

There were guys: "Oh, I'm straight"

"I'm straight, I'm straight."

At the end of the day or at the end of the night,

I spent the night with him in my bed.

Really? Yeah!

(laughs)

Well you know what the difference is

between a gay and a straight man on Saturday night?

What is that?

A pack of six beers.

A six pack, I think like six double whiskeys

on the rocks!

Yeah, I need a beer there.

(laughs)

How many do you have?

This is my first.

Your first?

Yeah! You have to drink more.

(laughs)

Five more!

(laughs)

In which bed are you spending this night?

(laughing)

Which?

No no no.

Can you turn around please?

Oh yes!

(laughs)

So, now time for a Schnitzel!

Sorry!

I am really afraid of the oil.

Be careful!

Otherwise, your hair will disappear.

And now who's next?

Let's go.

(laughs)

(sizzling sounds)

(laughs)

The Schnitzel is ready.

Mm, delicious delicious!

I'm not talking about the food.

Yes it is, let me tell you,

this is the indication for a straight man.

If you want to impress your girlfriend,

learn to cook a good dinner,

uses candles and cloth napkins,

and either she will love you

or she'll think you're gay.

(laughs)

It's time to put on my shorts.

Really?

There is no need.

(light music)

A night at a nudist?

At the start of my journey,

I would have laughed if you told me that.

But Bob proved me wrong.

With her fun and charming nature, I was a fan immediately.

I stay at his house in New York for 8 days.

Longer than with most of my other hosts.

(light music)

Suddenly Bob is no longer a naked stranger,

but a quick friend, with a crazy hobby.

Bob made me let go of my prejudices,

and my pants.

(drum and song)

(cheers)

My big dream of my own movie.

I have never been so close before.

Couch Connections is going to Hollywood.

And in the supporting roles,

Jair and Fernanda.

The helicopter is coming now.

And aliens (mimics the explosion).

Action!

I was already recording.

Yeah?

Did you record it? Yeah!

Ten, nine, eight, seven...

What is this?

Oh my God!

(screams)

(whirring)

(laughs)

I have to admit - I could get used to it

to the life of a movie star.

Or at least my own jacuzzi.

You find them everywhere in Santa Barbara.

In Vienna, Jair and Fernanda were convinced of other things.

It was a great experience and we have

liked Vienna more because of it.

Because of Couchsurfing? Yeah.

Because we had a local who showed us

and told us what to do, you know.

And where to go and where they go,

to meet up with friends and bars, what?

that we will not find otherwise.

The opera thing - we wouldn't have known.

You know so much about Vienna, I wouldn't have known.

When everything was built, in what year.

No, not really, but thank you.

(laughs)

I invented it very well.

And you stayed two nights more than...

That we had thought.

We liked it so much.

Thanks to Couchsurfing,

I have found friends all over the world.

It is the greatest gift my trip can offer.

By the way, it's no coincidence

if I visit them that day,

because today is a very special day for Jair.

(sings in a foreign language)

(applause)

Thanks thanks!

Gracias!

(groovy music)

It's my birthday!

I can tell a person to do anything

what a drinking game with me.

Christoph, you're gonna shoot that beer.

(dance music)

Woo!

(cheers)

Woo!

(tambourine)

From Hollywood to Bollywood.

My host Rishav takes me to the 25th anniversary

of his parents' marriage.

It is an honor to be invited to family events.

(cheers)

(drum music)

(catchy Indian music)

The party went on for hours and hours,

at a speed that would have made

the most extravagant european wedding

a children's birthday party.

And the strangest thing, all this without even

a drop of alcohol.

(cheers)

Throughout my trip, I have listened to many stories.

The most beautiful has been told to me

by Kristen and Sam from the United States.

Their story began on Couchsurfing.

Now they share much more than their sofa.

We're sitting on my couch and everything's cool.

I think, "This guy is so nice, I like him."

Afterwards, on our computers to exchange music,

play music: "Do you know that?"

"You know that?"

And then he said, "Just a minute."

And he gets up and he opens his pants,

and I thought, "He's crazy!"

And then he took them off and he wore a second

pants underneath.

But I was really scared there.

I thought, "Oh, my mom was right."

(laughs)

But it was good, he was not crazy.

I decided at the last minute you had that look

that I wouldn't drop all my pants.

(laughs)

Two strangers ended up being

more than friends.

And now their whole family is part

from the Couchsurfing community.

Do you like Couchsurfing?

No! Why?

Why not?

I don't know what you're talking about, so I said no.

(laughs)

The family has grown bigger and bigger.

Yeah. Tripled.

Thanks to Sam.

He moved here, and soon after we got married

the next year. Now it's been 9 years

that we met, 7 years of marriage.

And we have two Couchsurfing children,

a 4 year old and a 14 month old baby.

A 15 month old baby.

Yeah, almost 15 months.

Not yet.

It's the Couchsurfing family.

(laughs)

Yay!

Do you think I'm a stranger?

Yes.

You are a stranger.

But now, is he a stranger, or is he a friend?

It is a friend. Yeah.

I have this idea that one day maybe,

I will be able to go around the world

only by visiting people I already know.

And if we really have the opportunity to meet people,

and talk to them, understand who they are,

and listen to their stories,

it erases so many of those differences.

People who use Couchsurfing have the same mindset.

It's a culture, it's a community,

to meet anyone in the world,

and you won't feel like a stranger.

It's a perfect way to understand that the world

actually isn't that big bad place.

There are some really wonderful people.

It makes this big world smaller.

Every friend I have now was a stranger to me.

(groovy music)

My trip helped me see the world again

with the eyes of a child.

My confidence in humanity has grown,

just like my hair.

My last host, Rashmi, took the opportunity.

Better said, she took advantage of my hair.

She turns me into a presentable human being.

How do you feel about this?

So I feel really nervous.

But I said it is at your own risk.

It's okay, I trust you.

Cool, so see what I got for you.

Ooh!

It's like a professional hair salon.

(laughs)

So like that?

Yes.

Ready?

I think, yeah. Okay!

This is the first.

(laughs)

That's exciting!

I really trust you.

I think you can do it perfectly.

Yeah.

Can you see in the mirror how you like it?

It's perfect in the mirror!

(laughs)

(buzzing razor)

(soft music)

(laughs)

♪ I'm becoming a new me ♪

♪ Everywhere I go ♪ Oh my God.

It's strange!

All the hair is gone!

♪ And if all I will
be someday ♪ Goodbye!

♪ Is a sum of memories ♪

♪ I will leave one in each country ♪

♪ From here until I'm done ♪ Oh
yeah, the camera!

(laughing) Take this.

(groovy music)

I never liked kitsch and big words,

but in the end, I can't help it, it's true.

In life, it doesn't matter how big your house is.

All that matters is the size of your heart,

and my hosts all had a big heart.

My initial fear of the unknown was for no reason.

From Canada to India.

Everywhere I was treated like family.

♪ Anyone you will meet ♪

♪ He carries a part of the world with him ♪

♪ Every little thing we share ♪

♪ A border is overcome ♪

My mother said, "Don't talk to strangers."

I'm sticking to a different truth.

It's the opening that gives you the key

to open doors to the world.

Mom, I'm coming home!

(soft music)

♪ It's written in the stars ♪

♪ At least that's what they say ♪

♪ But how do we know where we are going? ♪

♪ If we don't know our ways ♪

♪ I don't know, if we were duped? ♪

♪ What sticks to all these roads ♪

♪ is the effort it takes ♪

♪ I used to come and go ♪

♪ But now I'm early ♪

♪ I gave it my all, I gave it my all, I would ♪

♪ Give a little more ♪

♪ I would dig a hole in the woods ♪

♪ And I grow up with the roots and I ♪

♪ Go with the flood as life tells me ♪

♪ I let go of the mess created in my head because ♪

♪ Home is where the heart is ♪

♪ And that's where I'm going ♪

♪ And that's where I'm going ♪

♪ Leave early shaved ♪

♪ Not where the bottom is ♪

♪ My greatest adventures: sugar and milk ♪

♪ And I know there is so much more ♪

♪ I haven't tried it yet ♪

♪ So come take me by the hand ♪

♪ And we'll go crazy ♪

♪ Exhausted to the end ♪

♪ But still so incredible ♪

♪ With my house door open ♪

♪ And my note on the fridge ♪

♪ I'm digging a hole in the woods ♪

♪ And I grow up with the roots ♪

♪ And I go with the flood as life tells me ♪

♪ And I let go of the mess ♪

♪ Created in my head because ♪

♪ Home is where the heart is ♪

♪ And that's where I'm going ♪

♪ And that's where I'm going ♪

♪ I close my eyes to feel the moment ♪

♪ I walk on this cobbled path ♪

♪ I breathe before I let go ♪

♪ When the stars collide, they collapse ♪

♪ But in the end there will always be a beginning ♪

♪ Up to this point I dance ♪

♪ Under the waterfall ♪

♪ I'm digging a hole in the woods ♪

♪ And I grow up with the roots and I ♪

♪ I go with the flood as life tells me ♪

♪ And I let go of the mess created in my head because ♪

♪ Home is where the heart is ♪

♪ And that's where I'm going ♪

♪ Home is where the heart is ♪

♪ This is where the heart is ♪

♪ Home is where the heart is ♪

♪ This is where the heart is ♪

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