Before, there was LetMeStayForADay

Thanks to, budget travelers and vagabonds of all stripes have an easy way to get in touch with like-minded individuals willing to offer free lodging.

Not only does couchsurfing offer a way to save on hostel costs, it also gives you a chance to meet people and interact with locals in ways that would otherwise be largely impossible.

But couchsurfing has a long-forgotten predecessor — LetMeStayForADay.

Almost eight years ago, Ramon Stoppelenburg was a 24-year-old traveler from Amsterdam who wanted to travel the world, but lacked the cash. So he created the LetMeStayForADay site, asking willing strangers to put him up for a night in their homes.

Despite what you might think, Stoppelenburg wasn’t just freeloading his way around the world. He also wanted to prove a point, several actually — that strangers aren’t scary, that people really do enjoy inviting travelers into their homes and that when you travel you are an ambassador and should welcome strangers.

The site was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, but it did thrive within the travel community, so much so that Stoppelenburg was overwhelmed and eventually decided to shut it down.

Fast-forward to today and is global phenomena, making Stoppelenburg, as World Hum calls him, a sort of godfather of couchsurfing. World Hum tracked Stoppelenburg down and has a nice interview with him, including what he thinks of (he’s an ambassador for the site in his hometown, so presumably he likes it).

I’ve yet to take advantage of couchsurfing, but plan to do so the next time I hit the road. In the mean time I’ll offer a toast to Stoppelenburg and others who pioneered the idea of using the web as a way to connect with strangers abroad.

Posted by | Comments Off on Before, there was LetMeStayForADay  | February 4, 2009
Category: General

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