I joined Couchsurfers in June last year, initially as most people do, to see the world for free, but since then I have only hosted, never travelled. There is a lot to be said for the Couchsurfer organisation, in that it enables you to get in touch with, chat with, stay with and host people you could never ever have met otherwise. There are certain dangers of course, one has to be very careful and read profiles carefully before accepting a person or people one has never met before into one's home. One has to set one's own rules. There is also the danger on the various forums of rumour, backbiting, and frankly slanderous behaviour that one would rarely meet in real life. People feel free behind a computer screen to voice opinions and criticize where they would never do so to your face. But that being said, I hosted four times last year (my profile is CarolineV, http://www.couchsurfers.org, you can look me up under Brittany, and you'll see who I hosted and what we thought of each other). One of my guests taught me to fly a kite (the type kitesurfers use) on my big beach and was kind enough to send me a beginner's kite for my birthday! I also found a marvellous Norwegian housesitter for the month I spent in Princeton when Cécile was having my second grandson (Leif Mohandes, born 28th September), and one of the people I hosted last summer is coming this month to sit my house for most of the month of March when I'm away in India (more of that further on). All for free, they consider my house a good base for visiting the region, I know the place is occupied and my animal(s) looked after and plants watered. I'm less keen on surfing someone else's couch though. Don't like to impose, which is silly, since I agree to be imposed upon; don't want things to go wrong and end up paying for an expensive hotel; not sure I want to put up with being carted around as a tourist, I prefer doing it on my own. But maybe I'll get around to that this year.