A cultural exchange with me and my father in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, Buellton, USA


United States

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    Last activity


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    94.4 %

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    Average reply time:

    within 2 days


 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Hello, My name is Kai. I am 38 years old. I live in Buellton, California, near Santa Barbara, in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, on a small ranch with my father who is 94 years old. My father is a doctor, and originally from Germany, and a holocaust survivor. I also have a lovely and charming 8-year-old son who lives with me half-time when he is not with his mother or in school. There is also a woman named Emma who is here during the week helping my father and she is like a mother to everyone.

    I majored in biology in college and work at winemaking. I speak good Spanish, some French but my German is in the beginning stages despite having a German father and Austrian mother. I also have a dog, a Doberman pinscher, who is large but friendly. I have a very small garden in the back where I artichoke, peppers, and tomatoes and where I compost... but it's really just a few potted plants, not much of a garden. I also call this a ranch because it's seven rural acres outside of town... but we don't have animals to care for except my dog.

    Buellton is a small town in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, which is very popular with tourists from around the world, for its fine wines and historical towns... please research more about it. It is a 20-minute drive to the beach and a 45-minutes drive to the pretty city of Santa Barbara, 2 hours to Los Angeles, and 5 hours to San Francisco. We live on a small ranch but in a very large house with a swimming pool and a beautiful view of the SYV valley.

    Generally, my main concern in life is raising my son in a happy way, but I also like to have fun at home when he's not here or travel on weekends, to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, music festivals, to visit friends or go camping somewhere in California or Utah. Cultural enrichment for me and my family is what I’m all about.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Elderly Companionship
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    As a child growing up on a vineyard and horse farm in the Santa Ynez Valley, my family every year would have travelers from Europe and other parts of the world come and stay with us for weeks or months at a time. I remember this fondly as these were interesting people with personalities and stories different than typical Americans. As a child, my parents owned a horseback riding travel agency that sold horseback equestrian trips around the world so they would take me every year to some new country for an adventure. Therefore, my parents and I are well-traveled people. I have been to at least 50 countries, through Europe, Asia, and South America. This year I just got back from a month in Mexico after getting the vaccine. Recently, before the pandemic, I traveled to Colombia and Vietnam. I've also worked in vineyards and at wineries so I like talking about wine as well as many other things like music (I sort of play the drums and am about to start learning violin), politics, cooking (I specialize in the local Santa Maria style BBQ, but my girlfriend, who is a novelist, is vegetarian, and my father is a pescatarian, so we eat a wide variety of cuisine), as well as literature and science. At the University of Colorado, while working at the Denver Aquarium, I got my degree in Evolutionary Biology but studied many other things as well. I have a small garden. Life-long learning is a passion, this year I took a nutrition class and I am currently reading books on psychology, organizing, investing and I am studying for law school.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    I hope to learn from workawayers things that will enrich my life, things like cooking tips and exchanging travel stories. But the most important thing is I would most like help with caring for my father Wolfgang, who at age 94 needs companionship and intellectual stimulation, like playing games, talking, or looking at photo albums or speaking German, French, or Spanish with him as he is fluent in all three. So aside from the elederly companionship which is really needed, I think whatever tasks you feel most capable of or would like to do to help around the house is best left up to you.

    Things are busiest here around 4 to 8 pm so that is usually when I would want help. It could be like 1 hour of senior companionship (playing backgammon or chess, looking at photo albums, and talking with Wolfgang), 1 hour of help with daily life (like organizing, or making minor repairs around the house, turning the compost pile, fixing the irrigation system to the garden, feeding the fish, skimming or lifeguarding the swimming pool, taking outside the recycling, changing lightbulbs, etc., … we like opera/classical/all kinds of music really, 1 hour of cooking family meals together, and 1-2 hours of house sitting while I am gone from the house. Art projects and DIY projects that ameliorate the household and edify our occupants would also be appreciated.
    There is also a guest house on the property where a married couple rents and they have horses and chickens and often ask for help feeding them as unfortunately one of them has cancer and is often in the hospital.

    One final thing, because of my father's age, and other people in my family who are high-risk, proof of COVID vaccinations are required.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Intermediate
    German: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    I'm trying to learn German, improving my Spanish, and brushing up on my French.

  • Accommodation


    Private room with a private bathroom with bath and shower and full-size bed and a couch with private entrance. There is a shared kitchen where you are welcome to eat anything and everything we have. I keep the refrigerator, pantry, and freezer well-stocked and a shopping list where any requests would be filled (as long is not's $100 caviar :). The house has a large atrium with palm trees inside and outside and a bar in the center of the house and you are welcome to drink within reason. We like to BBQ outside, as well as cook inside and order in from some of the many good restaurants in the Santa Ynez Valley.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We don't have an extra-car at the moment. Uber is usually available, and I can easily drop you off and pick you up in Solvang on my way to school and back. Popular with the tourists is the winery tasting rooms, the Danish-themed town of Solvang, the other historic towns of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Ostrich Farm, the beaches, hiking, and visiting Santa Barbara. Many celebrities live near here... like the singer Pink and Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. The funny Oscar-winning movie Sideways, with Paul Giamatti, was filmed around here and really showcases the winetasting scene of the area. Pre-pandemic, I hosted people on Couchsurfer and we always had a good time. I like to think I'm fun, very knowledgeable about the area and I'm happy to go out with you when I have free time if you wish.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have decent wifi. It's satellite, not cable, so it could be better, but I don't have problems streaming Netflix 99% of the time.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Any dog that is friendly with other dogs and children is welcome, although a very small dog I would be worried could get injured while playing with my large dog.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    4 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 341881525418