i noticed that i keep mentioning couchsurfer(s)(ing)(ed) in my posts, but i never really explained what it is.
the concept is this. when you are travelling to a new place, instead of staying at a hotel or hostel, and just meeting other travelers, and seeing typical 'on the map' tourist spots; instead you contact a local living in the city or town you are visiting and you can stay with them and learn about the culture, get to make a new friend from a different part of the country. and so far all of my expereinces couchsurfing have been much more cherished than those spent in hostels. one of my couchsurfing hosts said it best "i travel to people, not places".
so if i decided for instance to go to ljubljana, slovenia; i simply search on the couchsurfing website for people who currently live there and are willing to host a backpacker. most people would now assume that creeps can just make a profile and hope that an unsuspecting girl will ask to stay with them. but its much more secure than that. i can chose to only stay with people who have good references from people all over the world. in fact i usually always make sure they have a review from a solo female traveler from north america. you can be as specific as age and gender when choosing your host.
the hope is that when you travel, someone will host you, and when you get back home, you will return the favor by hosting others. and so far its been working really well for this non-profit organization, seeing that they are currently in their sixth year! i even stayed with one guy in france who has been hosting people for five years, and in total has had over 250 stay with him!
im definitely going to continue to use CS for the rest of my trip....oh! and did i mention that its free!!!! if i hadnt been couchsurfing, i think i would probably be back in canada, because everything is turning out to cost more than i planned on.
today is my 50th day on the road, and 33 of those have been spent with CS hosts.
CS has without a doubt been the unexpected highlight of my trip so far.