Monday, January 16, 2012

Couchsurfing Walk-Through And Walkabout (or How We Landed On The Couchsurfing Video!)

I stumbled upon Couchsurfing's "We're Casting!" announcement four months ago on its website while I was responding to a surfer's couch request. We were then temporarily residing (and waiting for the hubby's U.S. visa application to be approved) in an artist-owned cabin by Suffolk Park's Tallow Beach in New South Wales, Australia. I don't normally lurk around my home page, but for some reason, I did that day.

Casting Call

Because Couchsurfing's first video was (and still is) successful in promoting this awesome new way of traveling (hey, it ain't just about the accommodation), the cool folks from Couchsurfing's Headquarters thought of coming up with more videos. Two videos that will show the nitty gritty of hosting and surfing, and another that will tackle about safety.

Hence, the casting call. And a casting call like no other. With scenes to be shot in Thailand, Australia, Turkey (and I believe Kenya too), the cast will depict the diversity of the Couchsurfing population.

When I saw Australia on the short list, I was like, "Oh gosh this is miiine!"... 'Til I got to the part that says "We'll get in touch if we think you're a good fit for the project.". And then I went "Ugh!". I tried my luck anyway and filled out the questionnaire.

One question goes, "Why should you be in a CouchSurfing video? (Tell us what makes you awesome! This is an opportunity to shine so don't be shy about why you would be great in one of these videos)". Unsure of how to sell myself, I merely answered "I've couchsurfed single, married, pregnant and now I'm couchsurfing with my toddler."

An email arrived the next day from coordinator Heather saying they're interested! A Skype interview (by Heather herself and the director Justin) followed weeks after and the rest I guess is err, history.

Like Reality TV Stars

On shooting day, the crew arrived at my in-law's house 8:30 AM on the dot. Though they started setting up early, the actual interview began around midday and lasted for about an hour because of technical issues. In case you missed it, I just mentioned that I had an hour-long interview! Yep, that's how exhausting production can be.

Cameron, the camera guy, asking for a curtain to filter the intense sunlight.

The camera followed us around the house as if we were reality TV stars (I expected extreme close up shots, that why I uhm, cut my own bangs to cover ze zits!). It's one of the creepiest things I've experienced in like, my whole life (I was on a variety show ages ago, but yah know, the scripted kind).

Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park. They let us stroke a koala!

After the interview, we all rushed to the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park to meet other Couchsurfers who patiently waited for us. We were almost three hours late. The events shown on the videos weren't staged. They're all real experiences. It ain't seen on any of the two videos, but the Couchsurfers we did a day trip with, we actually just met for the first time.

With Pinky, the audio tech. It's a wrap!

Several others were also interviewed while we made the most out of our free admission to the park where visitors could walk alongside emus and watch free range kangaroos (yes, their meat is for legal consumption) hop. I saw a Tasmanian devil and a dingo for the first time, and touched a koala for the first time as well! About 5-ish we had to unfortunately "pack up" for the park was about to close.

And then, we waited for a couple of months to view the outcome.

The Final Product

There's just so much heart poured into this project that's why the videos radiate with positive vibes. We only have good things to say about this hospitality network and we hope we're able to convince you to join. Play the three videos so you'll have an idea of what I've been chattering about!

The Basics.

Visit their website if you wanna know more and well, sign up!

"Open your mind. Open your home. Open the world." - Couchsurfing


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IndieEscape said...
January 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Enjoyed the videos~ Kudos!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Wee! Thanks Kim :)

Journeys and Travels said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Gaye, when this video came out and I was like, OMG! I asked my staff to hit for it and while I was doing paperworks, I kept asking if it has already gone through the buffers and all. when I saw it, I said, that's it, I will share it on my FB wall! I am proud of CS as I am one too, on my lonesome in my home city. when I saw this video of yours and the family and of course, cuteee Luna, I reaffirmed my trust and confidence of CS around the world.

Much more than anything, I am glad you are part of the video to give it an Asian flare and of course, Asian context to it. Everyone never knew we, couchsurfers existed and they never even knew it is possible but this video give its utmost presentation and what one really gets is the strong message that humanity is far more better through this and by this.

Thanks for sharing your experience while making the video. I am and will always be inspired by your travel blog, your journeys and your lovely stories.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Doc Wends, we had a fantastic time shooting that video! And we just hope it serves its purpose :) Hope to Couchsurf at your place one day!

Markyramone said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Did it bring back the memories of the glorious days of your tv hosting gig at Studio 23? hehe

tatess said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM

i enjoyed reading your post and watching the video. Glad to see the girl behind Pinay Travel Junkie on a video .Thanks for sharing your couchsurfing story.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Marky, it kinda did but in a detached sorta way ;p

Electronic Clicks Online said...
January 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Nice videos.. thanks for sharing...

chin said...
January 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM

how does it feel to be a star? =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Hahaha! I don't really feel like one... But it's weird to see the screenshots every time we log on the website ;p

Pauline | Pinay Traveller said...
January 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

coolness! way to go!:)

Relentless Karla said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Gaymie! Autograph naman dyan! =) I'm so proud of you! More power to the Emami's and to your cool blog! Cheers to wanderlust! <3

Clint Andrew said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Very nice videos!

Reiza said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Gaye, if I end up addicted to couch surfing, it's going to be all your fault! Hahaha! I love the video, and I think you're awesome.

Gil Camporazo said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:24 PM

You're gutsy gal. You did it. Congratz!

Eric said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

proud to be a CSer's....

emonsterplonked said...
January 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM

OMG!!!! I think they just blocked CS here in the UAE... sh*t! Proud of you hottie!!!! i shared the link on my FB page!!!!

The SoleSisters said...
January 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM

I was blown away when I say your video. You're exactly the time of person I'd like to meet and have long conversations with. And Luna too. Hope to meet you someday!

Blair Villanueva said...
January 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM

nice video po!

Amor Envina said...
January 18, 2012 at 7:46 PM

hmmm this is fun!

Ivan Stewart Saldajeno said...
January 18, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Whoa! You were a host in Studio 23? I never heard that nor watch you show before. I hope you'll gonna return to hosting (esp. a travel show on GMA News TV hehe)

Travellers Confessions said...
January 18, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Gaye - I am speechless. The first video is brilliant. You have lovely family. All the best for you babe. xxx

baterya said...
January 18, 2012 at 9:31 PM

really great videos you got here.. i have subscribe via your facebook page.. thanks for all you shares

Jojie C said...
January 18, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Oh, wow! This is so exciting! It's a job well done! (ehem now I know how you sound like! hehehe)

joseph ian onyot said...
January 18, 2012 at 10:39 PM

wow... I want to see Kuala, face to face...heheheh..nice...

kay said...
January 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Wow! Ang galing! I wanna try it but I've always been worried and scared ... at least I get more info now :)

julie said...
January 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Wow! this is sooooooooo interesting! Would you mind if I share this to families and friends? I know a lot of people who loves to travel.

journeyingjames said...
January 19, 2012 at 1:03 AM

im so proud to be your kompanyero hippie mum!
shine brighter gay!

Anonymous said...
January 19, 2012 at 4:28 AM

Wow congrats! CS is really cool. I signed up a few months ago and I've been enjoying it so far. Your long and varied experience as a CSer in various stages of your life, from single girl to mom, makes you a great ambassador for it. Good job!

evankristine said...
January 19, 2012 at 5:56 AM

your blog inspired me a lot! at age 21 i have been working so hard since i was 16. save up money for travelling without realising that all i did is basically stress out myself. you gave me the inspiration that i should just go and be free and travel and do what i love the best! i decided to turn my blog from a personal blog to a travel photo diary. a compilation of my adventures. i don't have time to visit philippines but once i'm back, i'd be touring my birth country! i love your blog and your story is so inspiring! E.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Karla, cheers to wanderlust!

Reiza, haha! That's okay, I'll take the blame ;p

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:07 AM

Emon, OMG! CS blocked in UAE?! Magrequest pa naman kami couch in case we drop by before going back to Pinas.

Lois, realllllyyy looking forward to meeting you!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Ivan, the show ran ages ago and lasted for just one season :D

Julie, go go go share!

Kompanyerong James, muchas gracias. Let's travel together when we get back!

yols @ soloviaje said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Love it! They made such an effort to get feedback from a really diverse group.

I'd probably bring a postcard for my host. At least if they haven't been to the Philippines, it'll be incentive to come visit - and I can host them too!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Hi E! Yey! Another Pinay travel blogger... Yep, let's live in the NOW :)

evankristine said...
January 19, 2012 at 8:21 AM

by the way! I joined couch surfing and i found so great gathering events between travellers here in Helsinki! So great. Thanks for sharing this! I am now certainly going to follow your adventures to keep me on not forgetting what I am living for! :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 19, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Way to go E! Maybe we'll meet someday, somewhere too :D

Tin | The Average Jane said...
January 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

So cool! =)

Lilliane | wanderlass said...
January 19, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Nice one!

vin said...
January 19, 2012 at 2:09 PM

artistahin! i like your last line in the video "i've couchsurfed single, married, pregnant and now i'm couchsurfing with my toddler." luna is so lucky to have a hippie mom like you. :)

Anonymous said...
January 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I still cannot believe that I had a chance to travel with a star like Gaye Mitra-Emami, like totally. :)

ralph said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

couch surfers... this is new stuff. i think this is really great if your into the adventure of knowing other places... since your host is local to the place, thereby making him somewhat familiar. thanks for the share. Yahweh bless.

docgelo said...
January 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

i'm a fan! amazing, mommy gay! :D
ang husay ng video!

Aleah | said...
January 20, 2012 at 2:46 AM

Really loved the video, Gay. CS found a treasure when they chose your family. And talaga namang effort na pinuntahan kayo ha? Luna's soooo cute! haha

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 20, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Kompanyerong Leon, LOL @ "like, totally". I can imagine you saying it!

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy said...
January 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Cool! I hope they succeed at spreading the word since couchsurfing is pretty much the greatest thing ever!

wandering soles said...
January 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM

love the vid... galing! ibang level ka na talaga pang international! hehehe

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 20, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Scott, hope so too!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 20, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Nath, feeling pang international lang. Haha.

love2type said...
January 21, 2012 at 8:05 AM

ah, i saw the couchsurfing video first and i thought, that woman with a nose ring looked a bit familiar.. nyahhahah..

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...
January 21, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Wow, Gay -- What an awesome video! It's nice to know a bit more information on couch surfing. It was also wonderful to hear your "voice" =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 21, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Karlota, LOL!

AJ said...
January 23, 2012 at 8:33 AM

House as a classroom...I dig that! Star na star!!! Lavet!

Ding | The Pinoy Explorer said...
January 23, 2012 at 2:35 PM

galing! galing! I love your family shot! I just adore Luna!

dong ho said...
January 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM

this has convinced me to try it this year Gay. wow! your winning answer to their question is fantastic! short and all-worth to be chosen and featured.

likes Luna's smile on the koala.

Gladys | said...
January 24, 2012 at 10:52 PM

congrats on this stint! artistang-artista ang dating ^_^ luna is so cute!

Anonymous said...
January 25, 2012 at 2:58 AM

Gaye! Thanks so much for participating int he videos! Shervin, Luna and you are an inspiration to so many new CouchSurfers and we're so grateful for your eloquence and heart!
I hope you make it to San Francisco because everyone here at CS HQ will be clamoring to host you here!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 25, 2012 at 4:46 AM

Hi Heather! OMG, thanks so much for dropping by my blog. It was awesome to meet you and Justin and the other Couchsurfers. And I really hope we revisit San Francisco soon!

OLAN ► The Travel Teller said...
January 31, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I am a couchsurfer too Gay and seeing you on this vid makes me feel so proud and happy as a member of this great community. :) I have hosted and couchsurfed for times and the experience is truly AWESOME! I am so proud of you, of Luna and your hubby. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 31, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Thanks Olan! Hope to surf your couch someday :)

Rubz said...
February 2, 2012 at 6:15 AM

very interesting...want to join it soon..

Filipina Explorer said...
March 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Aylabet! There are frames where you remind me of Bianca Gonzales :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2012 at 5:08 PM

^^ That's a first :)

Maezel Co said...
May 8, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Wow! ;D I've known about Couch Surfing for quite some time now, and when I saw that you were on the video and that you were from the Philippines, I had to look you up! And my Google search landed on your blog. Looking at the date, I'd say I'm late but that hardly matters to me. :) Seeing those videos inspired me to explore Manila and the Philippines more so that maybe one day, when I'm old/brave enough, I'll be able to host too. :) Thank you for sharing everything! ;D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 8, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Welcome Maezel to my humble blog! Hope you do Couchsurfing soon... It's going to change your life :) Happy trails!

Sab said...
January 23, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Oh... you are the girl in the beginning of the CS videos, now I know :) I was also part of that video series, I'm the blonde German with the short haircut.. Nice that I found you here. Love your blog! And I love the Philippines, going back there in March and April, it will be my 5th time (I even wrote an article about the Philippines and why people should travel there :) Keep up the good work... Cheers from Istanbul !

Gaye @ Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 24, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Oh I recognize you! Hi there, Sab! Good to connect online. I'm happy you love my country. Would love to meet you but we won't be in the country on your travel dates :(

Carina said...
July 19, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Awesome videos! Love it!

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