If you enjoy reading travel books, then I can highly recommend this hitch hiker’s guide to almost everywhere but the galaxy. Not having read any of Jaimie’s previous books, it was startling to read that he was feeling restless and decided to hitch hike from Tasmania to London. It is quite an extraordinary concept, and he is quite adamant about not paying his way.
As Jaimie proceeds from Constitution Dock in Hobart, via a yacht that had taken place in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, his plans become clearer. He has a rough map (via Google maps) of the direction he is headed, and the things he wants to see along the way.
In Australia it was Uluru, and so he keeps hitching a ride with people who are going in the same direction. He uses the same method in countries where he can’t speak the language, namely having the name of the next few towns written down to show to drivers. It seems to work well, and one is thinking ‘I could do this.’
However, Jaimie has done a great deal of research and planning. I thoroughly enjoyed the background history, politics and social customs of the countries he visited. Some travellers tick off a country on their ‘Must See’ list, but never understand the implications of why the society is the way it is. For example, in Kyrgyz, approximately 15,000 women are kidnapped for brides each year! This is an old custom that is resurfacing and an amazing fact.
The author writes with style and there are some wonderful descriptions of the vastly different scenes he encounters. He details the natural beauty, the weather (all important on the road) and the architecture that surrounds him.Because his travels take him well off the beaten track, you hear about things rarely mentioned in travel brochures, and appreciate his careful descriptions of the object and the mood.
I suppose to emulate Jaimie; you would need to be young, strong, brave, hardy, resourceful, and quick to understand people and their motivations. It is a shame that he didn’t meet people in Australia that reflect our society more evenly. Perhaps I will just curl up and read about his journeys.