Invisible Civilisation - The Hosts

"Others enjoy stories from the road"

Their doors are as big as fortress gates. They guard a life carved in binary calendars and fridge note magnets. But not a single arrow was shot today. This year. Or the next. And these doors are special. For whomever can push them gently, they’ll open the road to the castle’s beds. They’ll guide the traveller to the living room and next to the chimney. This castle isn’t fighting the world. It’s waiting for the scent of the road and the wind of the horses to blow through its doors and fill its chambers.

They haven’t travelled for years. But the smell of my hair makes them dream. The look in my eyes takes them to India. The sand in my nails enchants them. And my beard is an ocean of adventures and the promise of a thousand stories. The women, the women and the mysteries. The secrets only travel uncovers. The things you can only see when you put on your foreign eyes and you stranger gaze. They look mesmerised and bemused. Bemused because they’ve touched what I’ve touched. They saw as well. And my walk is a sweet virus that awakens their own.

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"But it’s not just the surfers who benefit. Being a host can be tremendously rewarding, as well. For instance, my hosts in Morocco, Vietnam, and Brazil all use CouchSurfing as a means to improve their English. Others simply enjoy meeting new people and hearing interesting stories from the road."

I sit down and I look into his right eye. Blue. Like the flag I stole from a bar in Budapest. Blue. Like the drink I gulped in the streets of Bruxelles. Blue. Like the sign above my London hotel. Blue like your eyes my love. My king with open arms and world-wide smile. My stories are yours. You’ll play a part in one. If you’ve not conquered that chapter already.

Invisible Civilisation - N° 1 Person Of The Year

You're a form of sunshine
And if i had my word to say
You'd be a song I've heard before
But not in the same way

It's melody and chime I hear
This thing you do with your mouth
Just ridicules the word “Smile”
You’re a trip to Nicaragua
On the back of an elephant

You’re the choice of wild
A jet looping in the sky
The promise of happiness
Made flesh and hair
Raw, naked goddess of wind

How did I dare touch your lips?
How did I survive?
How long has it been
Since a plane last crashed on my doorstep?

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Invisible Civilisation - Suspended Policeman

He walks the walk of the sherif in town. He lost his job due to violence. His own. Unforgiving, unapologetic. He would have beaten up that man again had he seen him in the streets. His streets. His town. His country. A sense of possession not akin to attachment but to a form of fatherly tenderness. You could see him look the city in the eye and say “don’t stay up too late”. Or take a residential building by the arm and firmly affirm “stay out of trouble”. He saw the windows breaking week after week. He saw the litter piling up on the side of the street. And here is a man to whom life is not a nod in front of a darker reality. To whom the number of alternative things to do is too little to ignore his single most pressing task. Nothing else can occupy the time of his mind. The space of his breath.

The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.
— Philip K. Dick, What Heroism Is

Here is the man who won’t stand still. The policeman who'll keep an eye on the town despite his suspension. The best policeman. "You can’t buy a man who’s sold on his town” he says. And the barman smiles as he pours a 12 year old Chivas Regal in his glass.