May 24, 2006


The social networking on Facebook + the feedback mechanism on eBay + the adventure of the Lonely Planet guides = one of the coolest social phenomenons (phenomena?) I've ever seen on the web, CouchSurfing.

Basically, CouchSurfing enables you to get in touch with people who will let you crash at their place while you travel if you let others in the network crash at your place when they travel. Coverage around the world is pretty good. The feedback, vouching, and verification mechanisms are designed to assuage people's fears of staying with or accommodating strangers.

A quick Wikipedia search reveals that CouchSurfing is one of several such Hospitality Services, including a few that were paper-based before the advent of the internet.

Travel sites like these give me a wanderlust that I find hard to shake. Is this why I read less travel writing than I'd like? (Or do I just have no time given everything else I'm trying to read?)

To my co-blogger Ned (who will soon be reappearing on this site in a blaze of written glory after his own cross-country travel related absence), might you recommend some of the classics in travel writing so I can begin to delve into the genre?

(Came across CouchSurfing via the "Frugal Traveler" at the New York Times, who is embarking on a trip around the world.)


Blogger Ned said...

I have to say that my grasp of the history of travel literature is summary at best. In these all-too-common moments of abject nescience, who else is there to turn to but that eternal fountain of purely objective knowledge, our dear friend Wikipedia! And, what luck, there happens to be a fantastic entry for

Here are a few of my personal favorites though:
-The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton (Musings on the experience of travel through literature, art and the author's own wanderings - fantastic overview and an excellent casual read)
-Travels with Charlie, Steinbeck (Aging great American author takes to the road with poodle to rediscover his country during the turbulent 1960s)
-A Traveler in Rome, HV Morton (the quintessential 1950s British travel writer)
-Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik (New Yorker columnist writes about raising his family in Paris - not exclusively on travel, but an excellent read nonetheless)

I've been religiously following the Frugal Traveler in his epic trip around the world... hadn't picked up on CouchSurfing though - pretty novel concept!

2:08 PM  

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