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On The Couch
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Couchsurfing? Surely a sofa would sink on the open sea?Couchsurfing is a global community of over a million people in 232 countries that offers couches, beds and body-sized horizontal surfaces via the internet for fellow members to bunk down on for the night. Couchsurfing is everywhere, from Kazakhstan, where there are124 empty couches for the daring traveller, to Antartica where 30 cold couches are available. It's free, it's friendly and it's the new way to travel.Fleur Britten, Sunday Times features writer is about to lose her couchsurfing virginity. Starting out in Moscow and taking the Trans-Siberian Railway with a couple of stops in Siberia and Ulan Ude, she'll then fly to Beijing and travel through China, crossing into Kazakhstan, followed by Ubekistan. Finding couches in the unlikeliest of places finally arriving back in London to play host to other couchsurfers.With the promise of 'couch available' rarely entailing a couch alone, with stories of meals, unofficial local tours and a family-like welcome, she will explore the unique couchsurfing community and so-called 'couchsurfing spirit'. What motivates people to invite strangers to sleep on their sofas? How is it possible to couchsurf and stay safe and what is it that is it that has made couchsurfing such a phenomenon? This is an adventure of kindness that will lead Fleur to meet the most unusual people and visit the most unexpected places.Combined with revealing, candid images this promises to be much, much more than your average travelogue.
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By Fleur Britten

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