Inklings

Hey everybody. It’s been a while. There’s a lot to catch up on before I leave IN FOUR DAYS.

So nine months ago I was really itching to spiral into debt. I had several options. I could buy a yacht, or lose the lottery a hundred million times like everyone else, buy all the twinkies that were about to be taken from the shelves, or I could travel Europe and put my adventuring skills to the test. Yachts are useless in Missouri, the lottery was too boring, and one can enjoy only so many twinkies before going into a diabetic coma (not to mention they’re already back on shelves… excuse me while I run to the store). So Europe it was. Originally I didn’t think I wanted to go enough to actually spend money on it. But then I saw this:

The main pool at Sillans-la-Cascade, 50km from St Tropez

And this:

Santorini, Greece

And THIS:

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Oh, mercy.

Having recently purchased an iPad there was now the possibility of using some really cool apps that would make traveling much easier and cheaper. Skyscanner is one such app; it lets you look at flights to and from wherever you want (picked from a rotating world map) and then compare flights day-to-day between those locations for months at a time. I managed to find a dirt cheap round-trip ticket ($610) to Dublin with a 10-week trip length way back in January and couldn’t resist.
So my whole last semester went by pretty quickly, I graduated, and then came the “Oh shit.” moment when I realized I needed to figure out how on earth I was going to stay alive for 10 weeks while trekking through various countries. Enter CouchSurfing!

Not this kind of CouchSurfing. 

CouchSurfing is an online social network of travelers (and those who host travelers) all over the world. There are currently about 6 MILLION participants in over 100,000 cities worldwide. Here’s a video:

Of course from the first moment I heard about it, I was hooked. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you’ll know that a year ago I was in Philadelphia. My first night there, I ended up at a bar learning to country line dance out of sheer boredom, but was then treated to a bachelor party with people I’d only just met, homemade daiquiris, a beautiful view of Philadelphia, and expensive cheese and crackers with wine, AND my first taxi ride. All that was because I showed interest in some complete strangers and their country line dancing. I knew I’d be ready to take that international and CouchSurfing would be the perfect catalyst for cultural immersion. More on that later. 

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