Where are you going? Its hard or impossible some places, easy in others.
As per your second question, yes its true, although I'd say not all that common. But its easy to chat it up a bit and have plenty of people to travel with, again depending on where you are.
So Far: Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, England, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Morocco
Right Now: Grad schoolin' at the Columbia School of Int'l & Public Affairs
Next Up: The real world ... where one has to work, hopefully doing some sort of mediation/conflict resolution gig.