Marco Smolla’s guide to couchsurfing

Marco went on a trip around the world and tested the planet’s weirdest sleeping situations...
Marco Smolla's trip around the world
Marco Smolla's trip around the world © Marco Smolla
By Miriam Hofmann

Snowboard crack Marco Smolla went on a year-long trip around the world. After graduating with a bachelor degree in physics, the rider wanted to make his dream come true – travelling around the globe, surfing, snowboarding and enjoying the ultimate in independence.

But where he actually dreamt on his journey was a quite different story. On his trip he slept in some of the most absurd beds – so absurd that he photographed each and everyone of them:

Sometimes I can't wrap my head around the places where I actually spent the night.

- Marco Smolla

You can take a look at the unique photo album below. And start dreaming about your next journey...

Marco Smolla sleeping on a truck in Montana
Marco Smolla in Montana © Marco Smolla

This photo was taken in Montana, USA. It was a snowboarding trip I went on with Elias Elhardt. One night we might have had one drink too many and spontaneously decided to lift a friends couch onto his truck. The reward was a joyride on the newly furnished truck bed – it was so comfortable that I just stayed right there to sleep it off.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 4
Deep sleep: 4
Ambience: 5

Marco Smolla's bed in Sumbawa, Indonesia
Marco Smolla in Sumbawa, Indonesia © Marco Smolla

In Sumbawa, Indonesia I slept on this sloping mattress. One night I arrived at a remote spot on my surf trip and there was no one at the reception of the only accommodation around. Some other tourists informed me that the owner (and receptionist) was on vacation – but I could just rest in an empty room... And that's what I did. A rather puzzled cleaning lady collected the fee the next morning.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 2
Deep sleep: 3
Ambience: 2

Marco Smolla's accomodation in the Allgäu
Marco Smolla in the Allgäu © Marco Smolla

You can find these comfy bunks in a self-catering cabins in the Allgäu. We spent two nights there while on the Red Bull Hüttentour. Right in the backcountry and far away from the civlisation, it was very special accommodation: No cell phone service, no computer, no media entertainment. But lots of time for playing board games and telling stories in the evening.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 4
Deep sleep: 5
Ambience: 4

Marco Smolla's accomodation in Oberstaufen, Germany
Marco Smolla in Oberstaufen, Germany © Marco Smolla

We're still in the Allgäu. To be more precise, in Oberstaufen. This is where I started a two-day tour with my friend Elias. It was 48 hours of pure adventure! We walked through valleys and jumped from cliffs. In the evening we discovered this place and just stayed there. And in real adventure style we collected firewood, caught fish and grilled it. An awesome experience! And thanks to the sandy ground my "bed" was quite comfortable.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 3
Deep sleep: 3
Ambience: 5

Marco Smolla's accomodation in Jakarta, Indonesia
Marco Smolla in Jakarta © Marco Smolla

A nine-hour stopover at the airport in Jakarta – enough time to get some sleep. I've built a small cave from the artificial turf. My board bag was my mattress, the backpack my pillow, the rain jacket my blanket. To keep the glare out I hang a pullover between the seats and thus had it all to myself. Still, I hardly got any sleep.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 1
Deep sleep: 2
Ambience: 2

Marco Smolla on Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Marco Smolla on Mentawai Islands, Indonesia © Marco Smolla

In a movie theatre? On an airplane? Neither. This was my "bed" on a boat. While going to the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, I spent 10 hours on this cutter. When you book second class, you get a seat – first class gets a gymnastics mat as mattress. I allowed myself the luxury and got comfortable with my sleeping bag and pillow in the back of the boat.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 3
Deep sleep: 2
Ambience: 1

Marco Smolla's accomodation in Sumatra, Indonesia
Marco Smolla in Sumatra, Indonesia © Marco Smolla

This photo was taken on a sleeping boat, too. We were on the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Though it was quite modern, with shielded head sections, I couldn't sleep at all. Maybe it was the hard ground – or Fips' stinky feet.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 2
Deep sleep: 3
Ambience: 1

Marco Smolla's accomodation in India
Marco Smolla in India © Marco Smolla

Here we are in India. Ahead of me a 17-hour train ride and I am fascinated by the efficient use of space in the trains. Each compartment has two benches with enough space to seat six people during the day. In the evening they fold down four additional benches to create beds, so that all the passengers can sleep. This is of course only for the first-class passengers.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 3
Deep sleep: 3
Ambience: 3

Marco Smolla's accomodation in Alaska
Marco Smolla in Alaska © Marco Smolla

Alaska, the northernmost destination of my journey. And definitely one of the most exciting places I have ever seen. We used sleds to explore the area and flew to untouched slopes via helicopter – with this trip I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. Our base camp was 40km from the nearest road and our starting point to reach the lines. It was even comfy – thanks to a chimney, a small stove and extra thick down sleeping bags.

Marco’s quality check:
Comfort: 3
Deep sleep: 3
Ambience: 5

Marco Smolla in Munich
Marco Smolla in Munich © Marco Smolla

I've looked for the perfect sleeping place everywhere in the world. After a meticulous quality inspection I can say: Here it is. The most comfortable bed in the world. No strange smell, no bugs, no snoring room-mates. My apartment in Munich offers the perfect atmosphere to calm down and relax. And honestly, after adventurous travelling for a year, I am very happy to be back home.

Marco’s quality check?
Not necessary.

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