Jamie is the creator of www.greatbigscaryworld.com where he shares all of his stories and travel advice as he explores the world on a journey fuelled by adventure, overcoming fear, and the search for happiness. You can get the full story of his adventure from his website and download his manifesto from www.greatbigscaryworld.com/ag/ in which he shares the idea that travelling the world is for anyone and everyone. He advocates the idea that money, jobs, and social norms are all mental barriers that can be overcome as one hopes to disregard society and live a life of adventure.
Hitchhiking Europe Alone
“I’m getting into a car with a stranger who doesn’t even speak the same language as me and I have no idea where I am or where they are going.” This was not an uncommon thought as I packed my life into my backpack and headed into Europe alone. I had quit my job, walked away from anything that I called home, and was living life with no plans. For one of the first times in my life, I started to feel truly free.
I slept next to the Eiffel Tower, under bridges, on beaches, behind abandoned buildings, and inside bushes in addition to the sofas and beds of many generous couch surfers around Europe. This journey took me through 24 countries and it was only the lack of warm weather that forced me to stop. Hitchhiking in the winter is difficult.
When I started this journey, I thought about who would want to come with me and who would want to travel in the same way as I travel. The answer of course, was no-one. As I left, I felt alone. The more I travelled, the less alone I became. Over two hundred people drove me in their cars and around fifty invited me into their homes to sleep. I met people on the road that I travelled with and I even stumbled across a hitchhiking festival with a couple of hundred hitchhikers. I spent time with hundreds, probably thousands of wonderful people who showed me great kindness despite sharing no common language with many of these people.
I herded cows by midnight, played at training rats, washed in rivers, and even tried skipping (eating from bins). This journey had no limits and it was a journey that was only made possible by choosing to say yes to everything and not holding myself back. I sometimes wonder if that is possible when you are not alone. One of my great joys was that I could find people I liked along the way and take them with me. When we felt like going our separate ways, we waved goodbye and continued our journeys. Several of these I have met up with since. Many more I still hope to see.
I no longer have fears of travelling alone. I now have a desire to push my limits further than ever before. Wherever you go in the world, people are wonderful. One night in Lithuania, close to midnight, a family stopped on a very isolated road, 40km from the nearest town, to pick up myself and an Irish guy I met on the way to Denmark. They took us home and fed us. The next morning, I swam in the lake with their daughter, got served a delicious breakfast, and then they drove us to the next town to continue our journey. I will always be grateful for people such as this.
If you are afraid of travelling alone, you do not need to be. You can never travel alone. Instead, you will be travelling with friends that you just haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.
If you enjoyed this post then please share it with your friends. It only takes a second and it will mean a lot to both Jamie and myself. Thank you.