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Hospitality exchange

Posted: 2006-05-30 02:39:22, Categories: Travel, Hospitality exchange, 289 words (permalink)

Hi, I'm coming to Helsinki for a couple of days, could you host me?. Since last September I've received such emails about once a month. Hospitality Club and other hospitality exchange networks make it perfectly acceptable social behaviour to ask questions like that from people you've never met. While that might sound strange at first, it's great fun for both the hosts and the guests. So the right answer to the question is yes. ;)

In a way, it's like bringing an ancient tradition to Internet age. People didn't use to lock their doors and offered food and shelter for strangers who happened to pass by. The development of transport and accommodation services has made it easier than ever to travel, but at the same time has in the worst case reduced contacts with local inhabitants to transactions in a souvenir shop. It's no surprise that people are forming communities where these barriers are broken again. The Internet makes it easier than ever.

As the networks grow, also larger meetings are organized. Last week from Thursday to Sunday there was a Hospitality Club event in Helsinki with more than 130 participants. I met again some truly wonderful people and had good time. Everyone else seemed to do as well, so the event was a success. You can take a peek at the event website if you like.

However, no matter the size of the club, the real core of it is still small encounters between just a few people. That will be one of the new elements during my upcoming trip. I will be visiting some friends I've hosted in Helsinki, and others whom I will meet the first time when arriving at their front door. I'm looking forward to that.


Towards new adventures

Posted: 2006-05-21 23:27:34, Categories: Travel, General, Cycling, 203 words (permalink)
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, part of The Road Not Taken

In August 2005 I made a decision to travel. The trip will begin in June 2006. I have traveled before, I've even lived abroad, but this time will be different. I won't have any obligations to work or study, nor a permanent address. The tour will start in Eastern Europe and continue in Asia, and perhaps include other continents too. Details are still open, but it doesn't matter — I'll have time to figure them out on the road.

At least in the beginning, I'll travel by bicycle. If at some point I feel I've had enough of cycling, then I'll switch to more traditional backpacking. I initially plan to travel for about one year, but I don't want to commit to any specific time or route too much in advance. I have more detailed plans for the first month or two, more about that later.

This blog will be used to post my travel news and other random thoughts.

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Copyright Arto Teräs <ajt@iki.fi>, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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