I don't know why I haven't written about this before.
I'm not sure.
I DO know why I am writing about this now. It is Bob's fault. He just did a post on being homeless on the road and traveling on limited funds. There's a great, cheap, way to travel, which I think would be perfect for a solo motorcyclist. Especially for someone like Bob who seems to be quite friendly and outgoing.
This method of which I speak is Couchsurfing.
Basically, it's a global social network of folks who are travelers, hosts, or both. As a traveler, you are seeking lodging in someone's home. As a host, you have a sofa, spare bedroom, empty corner, whatever, someone can use for sleeping. Of course, you'd need to share your facilities, too.
It doesn't have to be fancy. But remember, it's a social thing. It's not just about crashing anonymously in someone's house. You're expected to interact at least a little bit. But the thing is, the host and surfer establish the "ground rules" as they go. You do have to do some advance planning to identify hosts in a particular area when traveling.
It sounds sort of cool, but sort of scary, right? Let total strangers into your home? It actually is an established network that works quite well. There are local chapters where you actually meet other couchsurfers. They have get-togethers. You establish a profile by going to local events and actually traveling. Hosts and travelers rate each other. So while there's no official security check, there's enough intel available to know if someone is legit or not.
I wrote about Shannon's trip around the world a little while ago. In case you didn't read about it, Shannon, our oldest daughter, traveled solo around the world for about 10 months. One of the things that made her trip possible is Couchsurfing.
She didn't surf the entire time, she also stayed in hostels and even hotels on a very rare occasion. She met some very cool people along the way. And even now, when she's not in travel mode, she's hooked up with the local Couchsurfing contingent. Of course she hosts people, too.
I'm not sure how it would work for couples as space is usually limited. It's not a dating service or hook-up scheme, it really is a social travel network, but two people can't share a couch very well. And it's usually solo travelers who are more open to interaction with others. If you are traveling with even one other person, you have your own little circle people are hesitant to intrude upon.
If my husband weren't so painfully shy, I'd sign up to host people. I think it would be fun. A great way to meet new people from around the world.
Sound interesting? Have you ever heard of Couchsurfing? Would you consider surfing yourself?