Jim Haynes was both an icon and a relic of the Swinging Sixties, an American in Paris who was famous for inviting hundreds of thousands of strangers to dinner at his home. He died this month.
[…] During the 1990s, the crowds started to dwindle at the Paris dinners, as the original hippy crowd aged. But then a new wave of younger visitors started to get in touch. The bloggers had discovered him.
[…] He explained that, in the late 1980s, he had founded a guidebook series for countries behind the Iron Curtain. Instead of the standard descriptions of sights and hotel listings, the format was like an address book, including the contact details for hundreds of in-country hosts. The idea was that if people could not easily see the Western world themselves, he would bring it to them via travellers. It was “couchsurfing”, but offline.
Interesting guy. Though he sounds like the total opposite to myself. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having a dozen strangers over to my house for dinner every week. You can listen to a five minute audio interview with him here [c]. And here’s his Wikipedia.