Some people you can’t help but to love upon first introduction. Pedro and Alessandra are exactly the kind of people you want to meet when you are traveling. Born in Mexico City by way of Minnesota, Pedro now lives with his girlfriend, Alessandra in Oaxaca. They are both veteran couchsurfers and hosted me during my visit to this indigenous town in Southwestern Mexico. Pedro and I shared many of the same interests, and before long, I felt like I’d known him my whole life. I cornered him for a short interview on living in Mexico, couchsurfing, and his interests in environmentalism.
1. First of all, thank you for being such a great host. How do you choose which travelers to host?
First of all my friend, we both really enjoyed your company and you were a great surfer. The way I choose a traveler is somehow by instinct. First of all I pay attention to the CS request/message they send me, if it is very short and not really introducing themselves, I disregard them. If they took the time to write something about themselves or why they want to surf with me, then I go to their profile and see what they are like. In their profile I pay attention to the references people have left them and the kinf of friends they have. I like to see Pictures of the CS because a picture can say more than a thousand words (well, who better than you to know this). Like I said, if I get a good feeling from the CS (from all their info in their profile) then I write them back. If for any reason they do not reply back within 2-3 days max, then I just tell them that the Couch is no longer available.
2. Where are you originally from and how did you end up living in the States?
I was born in Mexico City and lived there until I wa 15 years old. My family moved to the USA because of my dad’s work. At the time he was working for 3M and he got offered a 5 year contract to work in at the World head quarters in St. Paul, Minnesota.
3. What was your best/worst travel experiences?
Best: meeting my girlfriend while traveling through Oaxaca, that was 4 years ago. I took 1 year off work and travelled from Minnesota to Laredo,TX by bus, or whatever I could find. Once I arrived in Mexico I traveled through various states all the way to Oaxaca.
Worst: Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. I was in Mumbai but nowhere close to the area where the terrorists attacked. The news spreaded like a wild fire and there was a lot of caos and panic.
4. What’s up with the worms man? Composting I mean…
Wormcomposting is awesome!!! I think every household should have a module of worms, this way we all could contribute to reducing green house gases coming from the landfills. So here is my spill about worms. I got about a half a fist full of worms in September 2011 and now 7 months later I have about 20 pounds of them! The way this kind of compost works is that you feed food scraps and organic material (leaves, animal manure, grass clippings, etc) to the worms and they transform it in a very high quality organic fertilizer. To this date I can estimate that we have got off the landfill about 670 pounds of organic waste.
5. What other environmental activities are important to you?
I bike to work and everywhere possible. I am working on a gray water recycling and filtering system. It consists of collecting most of the soapy water we produce at home (shower and kitchen sink) and filtering it through various layers of sand, gravel and carbon. With my girlfriend, Alessandra, we recycle used car tires and make them furniture. We try to recycle as much as we can.
7. What is your favorite thing about Mexico/being Mexican?
My favorite thing about Mexico is its culinary tradition and diversity. I am proud of being Mexican because of our fighting character and our relentlessness to give up.
8. What’s your best advice to folks wanting to do world travel?
Don’t over do it, don’t try to “know” every single place on earth. It is better if you really try to get to know the culture, people and traditions of 1 place rather that nothing of many places.
9. Please talk about your coffee kids organization and how others can help?
Coffee Kids helps coffee-farming families improve their quality of life. We believe that coffee-farming families hold the solutions to their problems. Coffee Kids helps community members to identify challenges and then partners with local nonprofits to develop projects that address these challenges. All of our projects respect the cultural integrity, intelligence and ingenuity of the people we serve.
We support different organizations in 4 countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru (soon Honduras). The areas that we support are: Microcredit, Education, Health, Food Security and Capacity Building.
Help spread the word about what we do or find out more ways to contribute to Coffee Kids on our website:
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