Me and Mara are both member of Couchsurfing since 2005 (me) and 2008 (Mara).
Couchsurfing is a community of people from various countries and levels of societies united by one joint goal to share hospitality, knowledge about their countries and cultures, and learn about others.
How it works?
You create a profile, fill it in with information about yourself and your availability to host people who travel or just take them around. By hosting I mean you let these people stay for a couple of days or longer live in your flat, house or any other type of accommodation. Yes, you let complete strangers stay in your flat. Or you can just meet them for a drink, show them your city or help with some interesting tips. The same way when you travel, you get to stay with other people, they help you, show you around and give you tips.
It is a great way to meet people from all over the world, see how people really live and visit places you would not visit using guidebooks.
Since we have started couchsurfing we have met a great amount or very interesting people who we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Most of our friends in Prague are thru CS. During one day I can chat with my friends in Thailand, Georgia, Germany and Japan. Next day I can talk to one from Indonesia or get a postcard from Portugal. We keep in contact and visit each other. Our circle of friends in Prague is as diverse as this planet. Very often when ten of us sit at a table, there hardly will be two persons from one and the same country. We get first hand information about their countries. Luckily enough many of them cook very well, which gives me a chance to eat dishes from their countries without actually visiting those countries.
We will be using CS during our travels as we already have friends in many countries we are going to visit. Plus we are going to make new friends in those countries.