The NYC Nomad: Man Couchsurfs Different Neighborhoods, While Working Full-Time

Photo: Neighborhoodr!

New Yorker Ed Casabian has embarked on an interesting social experiment of sorts. After a rough breakup with a longtime girlfriend in 2010, Casabian realized that he was happiest when travelling -- so he decided to travel all over, but right in the city limits of the five boroughs. So for the last 15 months Casabian has been staying in a different neighborhood, with a different host, every week -- while working full-time.

Calling himself "The NYC Nomad," Casabian has been documenting his travels on his blog and on Twitter, even garnering a community fellowship from music social network SoundCloud. Casabian describes how it's done in this video:

NYC Nomad from Todd Olmstead on Vimeo.

On his blog, he also says:

There are many different goals -- I'd like to stay with people of different ages, races, religions, sexual orientations and economic situations. I'd like to hit the five boroughs (Staten Island eludes me but its on the calendar!). I'm trying to do 52 neighborhoods. I'm at around 40 right now depending on how you define them. Ultimately though, I'm looking for different perspectives and ideas. So far, I have stayed with some of my best friends, friends of friends, relatives of friends, former coworkers, complete strangers through some of the recent press I have received. It has been difficult, scary, interesting, and exciting. Most of all, it has been immensely rewarding, which is what I expected when this idea first popped into my head.

Aiming to be "a traveler in one of the greatest cities in the world," Casabian's efforts demonstrate how living life differently can mean building a different kind of network, community and interdependence. As part of his SoundCloud fellowship, Casabian is doing weekly interviews of the most interesting person in each neighborhood. He shares his stories via SoundCloud, apparently loves to cook for his hosts, and has glowing testimonials from all over the world (Casabian is currently in Germany now).

Interestingly, Casabian also notes that this experiment would not have been possible five years ago -- referring to facilitating technologies like smartphones and global social movements like couchsurfing. But like self-styled experimenter "No-Impact Man" Colin Beavan, Casabian's efforts pose an interesting question: can we live more lightly, given the tools and the opportunity?

To find out more information or to host Casabian, check out his blog, Tumblr and @thenycnomad.

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Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | New York City | Urban Life

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