Editorial,  Other

“What if you end up staying with Joseph Fritzl?”

CouchSurfing: the only way to get around.

Sifting through the mixed responses from people as I announced I was going couch-surfing around Europe, the above just happened to be the most absurd! Far from the typical English social code of keeping oneself to oneself, CouchSurfing brings together thousands of strangers each year to share their homes, share their experiences and most importantly, share their beer.

In a nutshell, this rising craze originates from a website in which people, predominantly students, offer their homes FOR FREE to travellers.  Luxury ranges from a sleeping bag on the floor to your own room, a key to the hosts abode, unlimited use of the shower and breakfast, lunch, dinner, elevenses…

Before dismissing this as a crazy way to be raped by foreigners, I really must discuss my experiences!

My current tally of CouchSurfing hosts is now six, and these range from the following list:

Hairy arm-pitted Austrian females whose home looked like it had gotten lost in the first world war.

A tortured artist who couldn’t tell us where the best places to visit where but could tell us the location of the best staircases in Vienna… it was much weirder coming from his mouth.

A Hungarian man who loved to ‘dance hip hop’ and played host to a further 6 more foreigners in his two  roomed apartment whilst we were there! Cosy!

We didn’t just receive free accommodation, we met some of the most unforgettable characters who took us to places that the average tourist would never have found.  Andres, our host in Ljubljana, not only dragged us (this is an understatement, I kicked and screamed) to a karaoke bar, but took us to the alternative squat in which hippies and ex-drug users fought against the police to transform old army barracks into a massive chill out area where you can drink, play guitar or alternatively have long painful chats with a man who believed he just saw Mick Jagger in a lift… which is an extraordinary feat seeing as there is only one floor.

CouchSurfing is turning a missed train into an opportunity for a new adventure. Starting a weekly dinner party. Teaching your kids about other cultures from your home. Getting advice for your next trip. Engaging with the world in a whole new way.”

I really do believe there is no other way to travel.  In comparison, staying in a hostel was mind-numbing! It is safe and it is free so if you’re tempted to experience something a bit riskier next time you travel, take a look at the website for more information.

http://www.couchsurfing.org/

 

You can read the original published article here.

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