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Sunday, 1 May 2016

How Couchsufing and Workaway Helped Brian Travel The World To Learn Languages

Who Is Brian?

Brian Loo is a Malaysian, whose story was featured in a blog called "I Will Teach You A Language". He was once a manager of 70+ people. He was upper management, or a boss, in an engineering role, at a Japanese food company. He was, in his own words, "well paid". 

But life was not meaningful for him. The daily grind took its toll, and he felt empty inside. 

After seven years at the company, he decided to try something drastic. He resigned from his job, and began his journey to travel the world and learn languages. 

After resigning from his job, he worked in various places, sometimes getting paid, often not. In his tarvels, he taught and learned languages in various countries such as
  1. Malaysia
  2. Southwest Thailand
  3. London
  4. Spain
  5. Italy
  6. Turkey
  7. France
Eventually, he found his current business partner through Couchsurfing. They now run a translation business called Toledo Technical. (Actually, his blog post is a rather long read. I summarized the content.)

I was inspired by Brian's story and decided to check out what Couchsurfing and Workaway are all about.


Their website proclaims, "Stay with locals and meet travelers". The promise is that you can meet new people and enjoy seeing the world. People who use the platform are given opportunities to meet hosts in faraway lands. There are event listings for the adventurous and willing to join.

There is a trust management system on the Couchsurfing website. They document whether a user has a verified payment method, home address, etc. There is also a rating / comment system for fellow users to rate other users.

Their documentation page says, "You have friends all over the world, you just haven't met them yet."

It seems to be free. That is a good thing, because this blog was made for skinflints, penny pinchers and misers. (In case you missed my last blog piece on the Panama Papers incident, many famous leaders are also penny pinchers and misers.)

Their website proclaims, "Volunteering and cultural exchange around the world. Integrate and help local communities in over 155 countries." I guess this means it's basically a platform for non-fussy volunteers to meet friendly hospitable hosts who cannot afford to pay for professionals.

I would wager that this site attracts a lot of skinflints and misers on both sides: The volunteers and the hosts. Both think of saving their money. There are 21,007 "active hosts" as of 30th April 2016, based on information on the front page (above the fold, on the upper right).

Workaway seems like it could be a successful venture if both host and volunteer aren't too demanding of each other.