Over the last few months there's been a great series in the Guardian by Vicky Baker, a freelance writer. Ms. Baker is traveling through South and Central America, staying with residents and steeping in local cultures. So far she's visited Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
The series explains in detail how to get going as a couchsurfing traveler. Reading Baker's articles, it's easy to (1) sense an internal explosion of envy while (2) recognizing the many strengths of the form of travel she advances. Such good stuff.