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Esperanto Hospitality Network – Pasporta Servo Posted by on Nov 29, 2010 in Travel

Want to travel the world, but don’t have much money? Would you rather get to know the locals instead of staying in a hotel? Enter Pasporta Servo (PS), a hospitality network with 1450 hosts in 91 countries. The only requirement: speak Esperanto.

Pasporta Servo book

I used PS while I was travelling through 14 countries in Europe for five months and always had an interesting experience. To summarize, I’d say there are two different stereotypical types of PS stays: with college students and families. With college students, you typically get a key, they might treat you to breakfast and then you’re pretty much on your own. With families, you’ll often feel like you’re part of the family during your stay, join in their meals, work around their schedule, etc.

I would say that staying with a college student tends to be more fun. You may be sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor or on a couch, but you’ll probably have a good time. Many have very busy schedules, so you’ll likely get a key, so they don’t have to worry about letting you back in, etc. They’ll often treat you to breakfast, but note that this is completely not necessary according to the terms of the network. You might also be invited to join them for a pub or club in the evening to hang out with their friends! This is an ideal time to learn more about the people and the country while having a few drinks and maybe some dancing.

With a family you’re more likely to get your own room and also be invited to meals. With some families I was accepted very quickly and they made me feel like I was just another member of the family. I ate with them, walked the dog with them, went shopping, etc. It was definitely an interesting view into the everyday life of people in that country. Of course, a disadvantage is that they will generally want to know where you’re going and when you’re likely to come back, but it’s a small price to pay for such an interesting experience!

If you’re lucky, then wherever you’re staying, there might be a local Esperanto speaker who has the day free to show you around where the tourists don’t normally see. I think the most amazing story I’ve heard in this regard is of Jordon Kalilich’s trip to connect with his family heritage in Croatia. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say it involved taking a ferry to a small town and getting to know some sheep. So, now it’s your turn! Where do you want to travel? Are there hosts there? I’d love to hear of your travel plans! If you’ve already travelled with Pasporta Servo, tell us about your adventures, just leave a comment below!

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About the Author:Chuck Smith

I was born in the US, but Esperanto has led me all over the world. I started teaching myself Esperanto on a whim in 2001, not knowing how it would change my life. The timing couldn’t have been better; around that same time I discovered Wikipedia in it’s very early stages and launched the Esperanto version. When I decided to backpack through Europe, I found Esperanto speakers to host me. These connections led me to the Esperanto Youth Organization in Rotterdam, where I worked for a year, using Esperanto as my primary language. Though in recent years I’ve moved on to other endeavors like iOS development, I remain deeply engrained in the Esperanto community, and love keeping you informed of the latest news. The best thing that came from learning Esperanto has been the opportunity to connect with fellow speakers around the globe, so feel free to join in the conversation with a comment! I am now the founder and CTO of the social app Amikumu.


Comments:

  1. Betty Chatterjee:

    I have been both a hostess and a guest since 2005. My first visitors were Chinese. Since then I’ve met charming and interesting people from Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Russia. In return I’ve received hospitality in Austria, England, Poland and the Ukraine. As a tourist I find meeting and talking to local people just as interesting as visiting tourist attractions.

    P.S. I’m fully booked during the last two weeks of July 2011, due to two major Esperanto congresses in Copenhagen.

  2. Nitace karn:

    i’m a young esperanto speaker. i don’t know much about its advantages but i have read this in articles an websites. i’d love to travel Austria . but don’t know how can I ??