One of the best part of traveling for me were meeting people from different cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, professions. In this post through my various hosts in the past 3 years I'll try to reflect on diversity of people and lives.
In June 2012 we were staying in Zagreb in beautiful apartment owned and decorated be 2 extremely talented local architects. We met their friends who were also architects and I believe to this day for me Croatia has the highest ratio of architects per country that I personally know. This couple was unbelievable, they told us about architecture in Zagreb, about Serbian-Croatian war in 1990s, about sailing and Croatian islands, about differences between coastal Croatia and northern parts of the country. We learned about local coffee traditions, discussed Croatian football, pastries, local food markets, Croatian language, trips to Italy, Venetian Biennale and many more.
In Sarajevo we stayed in the apartment rented to us by the famous local radio journalist. He was in the city during the Siege of Sarajevo. He traveled a lot, been and worked in many different countries. What I liked the most was love for his country, his city, his religion and culture.
When we came to Rio we stayed in the place rented out by Irish couple who move to Brazil and was working in the travel industry. They were renting out their place while doing 2-weeks tourist trips to the Bahia.
We came to São Paulo at the end of 2012. We stayed at the apartment with amazing view to Praça Roosevelt. The place was rented out by the Brazilian designer who moved years ago to Amsterdam. The place was small but gorgeous. I think to this day it remains the place with best interior design I ever saw. I never saw the owner in person but I feel I was able to connect and understand a lot about our host through the design.
In January 2013 we arrived to Mexico City from Brazil. We stayed in the family home with family of 3 people: grandma, our host and her kid. It was huge surprise for us to discover that the family moved here a lot of years ago from Brazil! I still don't know how common it is for people to leave Brazil and come to Mexico or Netherlands. But two of our hosts did just that.
We never met our host in Guatemala City. Apartment was owned by young Guatemalan girl who was studying in US at that time and all communication was done through email.
In El Salvador we stayed in small family house that belonged to the super kind and friendly person. Single Salvadorian young mom, with lovely boy, was working as graphic designer (making designs for the drugs packaging) in the local company. We met her family: mother and brother were respected doctors in the local hospital. We visited this hospital and spent one day shopping together on the local market and next day relaxing together on the seaside.
In Tegucigalpa with stayed in tiny hotel with 10 rooms. I got acquainted with hotel owner who was working on the site with all tourist rentals for Honduras.
Our hosts in Leon, Nicaragua were couple in late 30s from France. They visited this beautiful country years ago, liked the place and moved to run their small mini-hotel.
We stayed in Panama with well-off young Colombian couple who left their home country and moved their family business to Panama. Guy had Belgian roots and girl was from the arabic family in Cartajena. Brother of our host apparently became quite popular comedian using Vine to post his short funny videos about Latin culture.
In Ecuador with stayed with the Ecuadorian/Catalan guy. It was very hard for him to identify himself with one of the ethnicities. At the time he was remodeling his mom's home in the Quito's downtown to become small hotel. He told us about diversity of Ecuador, his travel to India and wishes to learn shamans' craft.
In Washington I stayed with young American couple who were working for White house and dreamed of improving their country.
In Istanbul we rented place together with local fashion photographer. What I remember about him was his frustration with local government (which is international common topic among majority of countries I visited).
In Macedonia with rented place from the local couple (wife was manager in local branch of big bank and husband was taking care of house, kids and AirBnB property). We mostly interacted with husband who was officially unemployed by his own choice (which is still uncommon today for some reason). This helped us to have multiple interesting discussions.
I wanted to analyze diversity that travel can provide: ethnicities, cultures, food, languages etc. Also it allows you to learn about different professions, hear different opinions, views, conclusions. There are a lot of opportunities just in travel, you can find friends, you can find jobs, you can find connections. If you experienced all of this you can create something new. You can become a fusion of different cultures, ideas and form or create something unique on top of that.