I am an armchair traveller as opposed to an intrepid traveller, so it is always good to get a book that enables me to see the world without having to leave my living room, or my couch…
You may have heard of Couchsurfing.com? It is designed to enable cheap travel and a novel way to meet new people while staying on their couch, or if you are lucky a bed.
Gabriele Galimberti, the author of My Couch is Your Couch, is an Italian photographer who travelled the world for two years staying only with people who belonged to couchsurfing.com. He has created a book with vignettes of the people he meets, the places they live, a little bit about their lives and a touching tribute to people who are willing to open up their homes and their lives to strangers.
Favourites would have to be the surfer in Alaska – yes, there are waves even if it is minus 15 degrees; the family in Malaysia that share their home with a variety of reptiles; and a couple in Kiev who are naturalists and have tree trunks for a bench and rocks for chairs – thankfully there was a normal old bed for the author. Many of the people featured would be deemed eccentric, some are political, and there are hints of tough lives but enormous optimism.
This is a book to dip into, to pore over the photos and perhaps to even consider becoming part of this community. The only negative being there is not an entry for New Zealand!