Bursa Turkey

It is my impression that it is possible for a traveler to girdle the globe without ever meeting a local person who does not stand to make money off of them. The tourism bubble is thick, and can serve as a separation barrier between travelers and the people who live where they travel.

There is a notion in most cultures that traveling the world means meeting new people and having new experiences. But my impression is that if you fully utilize the tourism infrastructure that is available to you – or if you stick hard to following the guidebook – you may as well just stay at home watching the travel channel, for you will just have the same experiences – drinking in bars, shopping, trying to shag chicks – as you did before you went traveling. In point, you will see a lot, but experience little.

Bursa Turkey
Bursa TurkeyIt once took a decent amount of effort and trial and error to make friends in the places that I traveled prior to using Couchsurfing.com. If I could make friends and visit people’s homes three or four times a month, I considered myself to be doing good. With Couchsurfing it is fairly easy to meet people everywhere you go.

You just browse the database, find someone whose profile you like, and send them a message. Sometimes they invite you to stay with them, sometimes they offer to meet up for dinner or coffee, and sometimes they tell you to go shit in your hat.
Bursa Turkey
Bursa Turkey
Bursa Turkey
Bursa Turkey
I looked around and only found a sea of apartment highrises and knots of highways. The destination placard on the front of the bus that dropped me off here said “Bursa,” but I had no idea where Bursa was.

I climbed a highway overpass to get a good view of what laid beyond and could not find anything other than more highways and more apartment complexes.

I smiled, for I was in a place where people lived. I was in one of those inbetween places where travelers often fail to stop.

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