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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.
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!