Dave Patton: Couchsurfer, CAACer, Roadtripper and Backpacker extraordinaire!


After a few months on the road I discovered that a fellow CAACer was in hot pursuit. Dave, using buses, caught me up and he signed me up for a 9 day hike. He is a pretty nifty photographer and it is definately worth checking out his photos here.

1. We recently hiked the Huayhuash trek together. Where did you first hear about this trek?
At one of the weekly Wednesday night Edinburgh couchsurfing group pub meets, a Scottish CSer who´d visited S America highly recommended the hike, saying it was far superior to the Santa Cruz hike. She wasn´t wrong, in my opinion!

2. Which was your favourite day of the trek?
Day 3 - many stunning lakes and mountain vistas; difficult but very rewarding mountain pass with lots of surprises. At camp (Huayhuash village)... politely asking the locals who lived in a couple of mud brick houses for dinner to break the daily routine of spaghetti and pasta sauce. Result... wonderful cultural experience and insight into mountain life, and delicious homemade dinner and breakfast direct from the farm.

3. Why wash?
Huayhuash? Top hike in the world. Why wash? Bar some hot springs, it´s the longest I´ve gone without washing and shaving! The post hike shower has never felt so good.

4. You make good use of Couchsurfing on your trips. What have been your best
I´ve had many great CSing experiences, such as Hawaian surfing and many road trips with the locals to places well off the tourist trail. But my favorite was probably my first, near Perth in Western Australia. My host lent me his bike and snorkel to visit Rottnest Island. He took me to one of his Aussie Rules football sessions so I could "give it a go". He welcomed me on a typical Aussie camping weekend with his pals in Margaret River, experiencing swags, fine wines and chocolate tasting. Plus a bedroom to myself in his family home and home cooking were delightful after months of hostels!

5. How many countries have you visited now? Which are your top 5?
46 I think, hope to make it to 100 one day! Top 5, tough question; I like to think of the top 5 places I´d most like to return to.

New Zealand - for people who love the great outdoors.
Thailand - beaches and tasty food at low prices.
Bolivia - adventure travel in a nutshell and very cheap.
South Africa - many natural delights and wild safari.
Italy - it almost has it all; great history, cities, coast, mountains, lakes and food.

(Check out how you are doing against the official list of countries here. I only manage a measly 28.)

6. Can you recommend a book?
Nelson Mandela´s autobiography, to learn what the great man has to say.

7. What is the most inspiring travel tale you have heard?
I have probably been most inspired by an Australian fellow who hitch-hiked almost the length of Africa with another guy and girl. That was real adventure and getting off the beaten track, things that I strive for.

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