On the road, there’s basically three ways to sleep :
* Rent a room in a hostel or whatever;
* “Whatever works” : sleep on the ground, possibly with something (sleeping bag, hamac, tent, sleeping mat…);
* Being gently hosted by people.
Each of these solutions have pros and cons. Renting a room somewhere is obviously really comfy and a good way to “charge up batteries”, but often lacks some social contact (although this is not entirely true in hostels) and isn’t free. Sleeping anywhere works wonders in some places and is absolutely free, but you should find a place you feel safe, you need extra effort to wash yourself and it is not always legal.
I’m really a big fan of the people-hosting, mostly because of it’s greatest specificity : you meet people, spend time with complete strangers (who are not strangers for long in most cases !), discover new ways of life as well as points of views about the place you’re staying you couldn’t have obtained otherwise. It is also really heartwarming.
Then, how are you supposed to find somebody willing to host you ? It sometimes happens randomly : some people offered to host me when I was simply strolling around a city or after offering me a lift while I was hitchhiking. You can also ask people in the street, which is something some neat TV shows like J’irai dormir chez vous or Nus et culottés can show.
But then, Internet.
Internet changed a lot of things for a lot of people. One of the most fascinating communities I’ve met so far with Internet is the group of people on the website Couchsurfing.
The idea is very simple : people create an account on the website, tell some stuff about themselves and say whether or not they can host people in their house/flat/room. Then, they can search for fellow couchsurfers in some place they want to go and send them a message to ask if they could host them for some days. Thus the term of “Couch Surfing” : it is mainly a “couch-borrowing” website.
Couchsurfing is not only a hosting website however, as people can create groups, various events so travellers and locals can meet up, or even just offer travellers passing by to take a coffee or visit the city.
The entire website & hosting process are entirely free, although it is adviced to bring a little something to your host, may it be a present, a knowledge, a cooking receipe or whatever. But this is usually very natural, as people are usually quite friendly (well, they accept to share their home to begin with). Each surfing experience is very different, depending of the people involved in the surfing exchange.
Back to Ludi Vojago. I suppose it is quite clear Couchsurfing is my sleeping way of choice, as well as a way to meet people in the places I’m passing by, may it be players or diverse people curious about my trip. This isn’t meant to be the sole way tho, as I could have to rent a room or sleep on the ground in places with no available Surfers, but I’m quite optimistic about the “hosting” part of the trip.
I also think everybody should give it a shot. I’ve seen really various people on CS : young and old, single and married, grand-parents with little children, big houses with several students… So, why not you ? 🙂