I mention couchsurfing (CS) often in these posts and feel inclined to explain in it a bit for those who are unaware of this awesome traveling network website. It’s a community travelers can use in a few different ways; kind of like a face book where one has a profile and friends, but way more valuable and it is a nonprofit.
There are city groups one can join to ask questions, get/share info, and initiate some meet ups and events. I first did this in Portland, which was a very caring and active group.
People can also choose to host travelers at their house where travelers will send a specific “couch surfing” request. I have hosted a bit in PDX and met so many interesting people from around the world. It sounds a little unsafe, but people have references and you need to be trusting and have an open mind. The times I have are priceless.
It is so refreshing in this life to meet people who trust others still and they are so darn hospitable and generous, to strangers no less. This world has some negative people, but CS allows you to have hope for humanity. You meet a variety of people; there’s so much in this world I just don’t even know and this allows you to get a little taste of life.
It is not a perfect system, but what is? The good outweighs the bad. This network is allowing people to travel very affordable, but it is much more than that. You get to know about local things that are not in the guidebooks and meet awesome people.