Ramon Stoppelenburg, the Internet Personality of the Year – guest speaker at the World Blogging Forum in Bucharest

I’m more eager every day to meet the bloggers attending the World Blogging Forum in Bucharest this November. One of the first persons to confirm his presence in Romania, Ramon Stoppelenburg, has quite a story:

The Dutch Ramon Stoppelenburg (1976) started blogging from his student loft somewhere in 1998. But he became world famous for being the first ever person to travel the world for free, totally relying on the hospitality of strangers from all over the world, who invited him over through his website www.letmestayforaday.com. Over 3,577 people from 72 countries invited him over and from 2001 to 2003 he travelled through 18 countries in total, varying from Norway to South Africa and from Australia to Canada. In return for the offered hospitality he received, he wrote extensive daily reports about his whereabouts, his hosts, their life and the culture of the country he was visiting. His website had once processed over 1,2 million visits in one month. The British Sunday Times even called him the Internet Personality of the Year 2001.

The media that carried them in the sky from the beginning, great to launch such a web project when all the other dot coms were falling down, made it pretty hard to continue this kind of living after two years. He became too famous and people where suddenly treating him as a special person instead of a young Dutch guy with a crazy idea. In June 2003 he even declined an invitation to be a guest on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show in the USA – fearing it would overload his website and have people invite him over ‘only because he was on television’. 🙂