There’s a way to visit 40 countries without even leaving your home.
I have been travelling to Strasbourg almost every month since 2013 for work. Since it’s the European Parliament’s plenary session all the hotels are two or three times more expensive during that week. Most of the times, if you don’t book well in advance you are stuck with a stinky former dormitory, trying to act as hotel under the name of Victoria Garden. Sorry, but no one should use vinegar for cleaning!
That’s why I decided to try Airbnb. It was actually my first experience with the website. Since then, I have already used it in Spain and Scotland. And that’s how I met Adrien and Julia who have been incredibly nice to host me ever since. They have traveled to places such as South Korea and Thailand without ever leaving their cosy apartment in central Strasbourg…
Yes, that’s me. Sixth from the right on the third row. Adrien and Julia have guests from all over the world. Adrien keeps statistics of all their guests and last time I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have already had visitors from 40 countries. How cool is that! And the best part? Everyone brings something from the world and leaves a memory. A photo taken by a Polaroid 300 Compact Instant Analog Camera.
I didn’t know these still exist. It’s not only fully functional but so regularly used that they soon ran out of space on one side of the door… If you ever decide to visit Strasbourg, make sure you call Adrien & Julia.
I have also been a member of Couchsurfing but to be honest, I have never used it. I have been lucky enough to meet people from all over the world throughout my life (explained how in this article) and most of the times I already have a friend’s couch to stay on. But all these website don’t just offer you cheaper bed. It’s more about the intertwining of cultures that is an integral reason for my wanderlust. As one of my favourite travel quotations go:
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
P.S. There are 206 countries in the world according to Wikipedia. 190 states whose sovereignty is undisputed and 16 states whose sovereignty is disputed. I have only visited 21! A bit more than 10%. By the way, the Free Sofia Tour has had guests from 153 countries. Back when I was a guide, the number was around 110 so I can at least say I have seen people from half of the world. But there’s more work to be done…