Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Twitchhiking to New Zealand

12 months ago if I had said to you that I believed someone could hitchhike all the way from England to New Zealand without ever spending a single cent, I know you'd have said I was crazy. People need to eat, need to drink, need a place to sleep, need to wash...... and so on, you get my point. It's no different when you're travelling. So how would someone travel to the other side of our planet for absolutely free?

Well they'd have to rely on the generosity and kindness of strangers. A fairly big ask we'll all agree.

So on March 1st 2009 when Paul Smith set off from Gateshead to make an 11,000 mile trip to New Zealand (Stewart Island) relying on only the help of strangers, many believed he was doomed to failure. What made this even more certain in people's head was the fact that Paul said he would make the trip in less then 30 days!

And guess what, just shy of 30 days later, Paul was on Stewart Island. By plane, boat, train, bus and car, Paul travelled the 11,000 miles without spending a penny. On completing the amazing journey Paul wrote in his blog:

'The Twitchhiker project showed that kindness is universal, that the whole can be infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, and that social media may begin online but it will converge with the real world whenever and wherever you let it.'

Paul's journey also raised more than £5,000 for charity, and went as follows...

  • Gateshead to Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam to Paris
  • Paris to Saarbruck
  • Saarbruck to Eppelborn
  • Eppelborn to Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt to Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam to New York
  • New York to Washington DC
  • Washington DC to Frederick
  • Frederick to Pittsburgh
  • Pittsburgh to Chicago
  • Chicago to Kansas City
  • Kansas City to Lawrence
  • Lawrence to Wichita
  • Wichita to Austin
  • Austin to San Diego
  • San Diego to San Francisco
  • San Francisco to Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County to Oakland
  • Oakland to Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles to Wellington
  • Wellington to Stewart Island

The two rules of Twitchhiking that Paul always abided by:
Move on from each destination in no less than two days
Never plan more than three days in advance

Another great part of the story was from Ken (Ken Morrill - @yenra), who drove Paul from Frederick to Pittsburgh. Ken created a mixtape for the journey, based on requests and suggestions from other Twitter users:
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles
  • On The Road Again - Willie Nelson
  • Litttlest Hobo Theme (Maybe Tomorrow) - Terry Bush
  • Ramblin’ Man - The Allman Brothers
  • Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
  • Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
  • Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  • Cream - Crossroads - Eric Clapton
  • Radar Love - Golden Earring
  • Rocky Mountain High - John Denver
  • It’s A New Day - Will.I.Am
  • Already Gone - The Eagles
  • Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Don’t Stop - Fleetwood Mac
  • Land Down Under - Men at Work

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