In Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti's series Couchsurfing, he catalogs the stories of people who take part in the CouchSurfing community. Unfamiliar with what that is? CouchSurfing is an online network of over 7 million members throughout 100,000 cities that connects travelers with hosts who are willing to let them stay in their home. Through this global non-profit organization, people meet and trade hospitality, which gives them a unique cultural experience they wouldn't have otherwise. This community of kindness and curiosity is further fostered by the fact that CouchSurfing prohibits the exchange of money between either party. The length of a stay can vary; some guests may live in a host's home for a long time, while others only a day.
Galimberti's intriguing images capture the unique relationships that this practice promotes. He personally has traveled around the world through CouchSurfing and hosted dozens of guests in his home in Tuscany. It's led to a variety of interesting experiences that range from staying in fairytale villa in Texas to sharing a 10 square-meter room in Sichuan. Galimberti also has been welcomed by a Ukranian couple that informed him they were “house nudists,” and appropriately greeted him naked. Whatever the situation, the photographs illustrate the true essence of travel – getting to know strangers and places in a meaningful way.
Above: Zhang Yue, Chongqing, China
Lena, Odeass, Ukraine
Berglind Gunnarsdttir, Reykjavik, Iceland
Ratu Saverio Selio Ralulu Nasila, Namaka, Viti Levu, The Fiji Islands
Brenda Fernandez, Manila, The Philippines
Lamine, Guediawaye, Senegal
Buckley Barratt, American Fork, Utah
Catalina, Bogota, Colombia
Maria Armas, Nopaltepec, Mexico
Psam, Stone Town, Zanzibar
Leticia Massula, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Kenias Hichaaba, Maun, Botswana