International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.
After a few long weeks of getting back in to the swing of my schedule, the sun is still shining, the birds still chirping and my mind is still wandering – where to go next? I never could figure out how people in warm climates ever got any work done? In my half-daydream / half-web search, I’ve found tons of neat concepts that help the average Joe wander the world on a budget.
First stop : CouchSurfing.org At first, I was a little put off by inviting random tourists to stay on your couch, but after reading through the details, I’m a little less hesitant. Basically, the site allows you to find locals in the places where you’re staying. It gives you the option to meet up and have a local take you around, have a coffee to practice your language skills or stay on the locals’ couch to save on hotel/hostel bills. The rating and feedback function lets you know others’ opinions of your surfer and helps you decide how much time you’re going to spend with the tourist. I like it, but I would approach it cautiously.
Next: I found an article about How to Swap Cities. Again, novel idea but I have my hesitations. Basically swapping is just as it sounds; you transplant yourself in to someone Else’s home and lifestyle for a designated amount of time. It’s a great way to get to really know another city for longer than just the 10-15 days that a holiday would take up and allows you to experience life in another culture/continent. It takes a lot of planning to make it work though – getting work to transfer you temporarily to another office location or convincing them to let you telecommute takes time.
Both of these options require a very high degree of trust between you an your guest and many would shy away from it, knowing since childhood to be weary of strangers. At the same time though, there’s recent studies to suggest that, in general, people are good. The Toronto Star’s experiment with stolen wallets is proof, but being cautious while abroad never hurt either.
Lastly, back to the ol’ faithful money saving tricks: Buy food at the grocery store, go camping, share toiletries, use your feet instead of transit and always, always have enough change to call home, just in case!