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Have Couch, Will Travel

I have a friend in his mid-40s who loves to travel to the most remote places he can think of. On the positive side, he’s a traveler in the truest sense of the word. He doesn’t want to experience a place from its five-star hotels, lying on 3,000-thread-count sheets and eating gourmet meals. He wants to become a local and live like the locals do, if only for a few days. I’ve traveled with this friend often, and, believe me, it’s an awesome way to get to know a place. But I’m just not quite as into “rusticity” as he is, and I finally had to make a few demands if we were going to travel together. The biggest of those was that I would get my own bathroom. I didn’t want to have to share with an entire floor of people, much less with a village of people. Nor did I want to head out on a hike in order to find my bathroom. Perhaps it’s petty or, as he thought, ridiculous, but I’d like to think I’m simply old enough to know my strengths and weaknesses.

So when someone proposed we do a story on CouchSurfing, I thought — after I rolled my eyes — about how much my friend would love this type of travel, and I figured there’d be others like him out there as well. In fact, there must be, as CouchSurfing is a growing phenomenon.

In a nutshell, it’s sort of a nonluxurious time-share. You sleep on my couch in Dallas; I sleep on your couch in Italy. Sounds like a win-win, huh? For the whole story, turn to page 30. And Todd, let us know when you become president of this travel trend. We’ll want discounts!

Another piece I found comforting was one about Eons.com, a new website. I work with a lot of people who are much younger than I am, and keeping up with them often feels like a no-win situation. For example, I consider myself to be pretty tech-savvy, but sites like MySpace, which my coworkers are a part of, just give me a headache. MySpace isn’t geared toward or designed for me. Thus, I don’t get how to navigate it or how to find things or people on it. Basically, I just don’t get it.

But now there’s Eons. It provides an online environment where people older than 20 (or even 30) — actually, it’s for the 50-plus crowd — can come together from all over the world to share their ideas and thoughts and experiences. Check out the story on page 34, and then check out the site.

These are just two fine examples of the stories we have for you in this issue, and I think you should read them all. But my last recommendation today will be the humorous story by funny guy John Gonzalez.

When John read about the regular-guy Scrabble player who got the highest tournament score ever, he decided to challenge him to a game. After rigorous training, he went in feeling like he had a pretty good chance at besting this guy. So what happened? You’ll just have to turn to page 38 and see for yourself.

In the meantime, we’ll be out scouring the world for more fascinating topics to bring to you.

Thanks for reading.

Signature of Sheri Burns

Sherri Gulczynski Burns