When I first joined Couchsurfing, I was mainly active as a host – having hundreds of local adventures with my couchsurfers, organizing fun events as the San Diego City Ambassador, creating a weekly mixer called Tipsy Tuesday, and getting people out of town for camping and road trips. Since then, I’ve become nomadic. I’ve traveled and couchsurfed around the world – from the deserts of Egypt to the posh streets of Dupont Circle in Washington DC – and made connections with people that have changed me forever. My hosts have always been my main focus when choosing a couch. One particular host, Paul “Yosemite Bear” Vasquez (the Double Rainbow Guy), has definitely made a memorable impression on my life and travels.
Alright, before you read on, you need to know who the Double Rainbow Guy is if you’re drawing a “Huh?” – and all you need is this YouTube video – which right now has about 28,054,37 views. Yes, 28 million. His videos get thousands of views a day.
Jimmy Kimmel played a big part in making the video go viral after he Tweeted it in July 2010, and Bear has visited the show several times since then. It was part of YouTube’s 2010 Rewind, was designated one of the top Memes of 2010 and even nominated for a People’s Choice Award. Most recently, Bear had a guest spot on Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Tape video and has been flown to Iceland, New Zealand and Brazil through opportunities related to the Double Rainbow video. Pretty crazy huh?!
Couchsurfing on Bear Mountain
Meghan and I came to couchsurf and WWOOF at Bear’s organic farm shortly after all of this started happening and the Double Rainbow Song by The Gregory Brothers was going viral itself. We had seen the video before requesting a couch, but had no idea people were so crazy about it. We arrived at a perfectly exciting time. On our first day as guests, camera crews from a Hollywood talent agency had us moving around at a hectic pace, visiting a crystal cave, a Native American health clinic, and still making it to Yosemite’s Sentinal Dome in time for the Autumnal Equinox sunset. They were shooting a sizzle reel along with Sam Maccarone to try and pitch a Bear-based reality show to the networks.
We pitched a tent in Bear’s front yard and camped for more than a month. There, just outside of Mariposa, California, Bear has his homestead on 8-acres with a magnificent view. Bear Mountain is a wonderful place to watch the seasons change. Over that month we traded in our bikinis for sweaters with coats. Our duties went from watering the garden twice daily to stacking firewood and trying to stay warm. (Check out our visit to the Cafe Gratitude Be Love Farm in Vacaville.) The week before we left, the camera crews were back again for some more footage and new adventures.
In between all of that, Bear managed to show us why he thinks his place is so “bitchin’”–and we agree! He took us into the national park, to the Merced River, to the local spa, to several neighborhood potlucks and parties, brought us along to sweat lodges with the Yosemite Indians, introduced us to amazing shamans, and shared his beautiful home with us. We lived, worked, and learned there surrounded by the enchanting land and blessed with the most delicious water on Earth from his underground well. He was always so excited about life and addicted to recording it, documenting his thoughts on the world – while millions of people watched.
It was great to see how it happens, and even better to become part of the cast of amazing characters who grace the place with their presence. We got to share so much with Bear, his kids (Paul and Irene), his house-mate (Kelly), his girlfriend (Sage), and the fine Australian Heeler dogs that protect the area from actual bears. If you ask, he will be glad to tell you the story of the time he came home to find a bear had been chilling in his living room — it even left a big paw print on the sliding glass door! A plan is in the works for our to return to Bear Mountain and the family we left there after we do a little more exploring in South East Asia — we want to build a bitchin’ treehouse!
If you want to experience Couchsurfing with Bear, send him a message on his profile here!
The Power of YouTube
Before arriving on Bear Mountain, Teknomadics was but an idea and a rather infantile blog. Bear encouraged us to use video to record our adventures and post to YouTube. He never ceased to have his camera ready-in-hand, and he constantly reminded us what a powerful tool it could be. After witnessing YouTube’s potential for connecting people, we figured we should take his advice and join in to set our positive message of love in motion. This gave the idea of Teknomadics the push and focus it needed to shine brighter. We’ve been traveling ever since, recording and sharing about sustainable businesses, responsible tour operators, inspirational people, and fun stories from the road. We are still experimenting and learning about video, making it up as we go along, and having tons of fun!
Our couchsurfing experience in Yosemite gave us a new friend, and the nudge we needed to get our project off the ground. On one of our adventures, Bear traveled south to San Diego and Baja California, so we could share some of our favorite places with him. We hooked up with Baja Trek’s Gus the Veggie Beach Bus and explored the area south of the border — the trip was way beyond epic! Can you say fish tacos and desert oasis?
Connect. Share. Love.
I made a short film I about my experience Couchsurfing in Chiang Mai and how I now travel around making videos because of Bear’s inspiration.