About our trip

Our plan

Our plan is not really precise, in general we try to keep as much freedom as possible, and to let the travel guide us. Even if we don’t have a guiding thread, we know that we want to travel by hitchhiking and not taking planes. Our travel is a trip around the world so the idea is to leave from one side and to come back from the other, to check if the planet is round to be sure that it’s not a conspiration of the space lizards, and tramping during a circumnavigation in more than 80 days dedicated to Galileo.
We decided to start with Africa, we will go down this continent on the East side. From Turkey we want to reach Cyprus by hitchhiking a boat, then Egypt or Israel. From there we will have around 15000km to hitchhike to reach South Africa. We will cross more or less these countries: Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique. We want to reach Cap Town in December 2015, and from there find a boat to get to South America. It’s indeed much easier to find a sailing boat to cross Atlantic between November and February because the winds are much more merciful, therefore it’s the season when most of the boat are crossing.
Once arrived in South America, we will dance salsa for one or two years while eating tacos, maybe we will make a detour in the hamburger land in order to buy in complete legality a big old rifle. And then once again we will take a sailing boat to dive into the big curry rice bowl. After that we can get back home, easy peasy.

Our our trip was born:

    Rémi and Arthur both used to live next to Grenoble and know each other since middle school. But they really started to be friends in high school until becoming like potatoe and reblochon (a nice French cheese, and by mixing with potatoe, cooking it in the oven, you get a very very delicious tartiflette http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/feb/27/how-to-cook-perfect-tartiflette ). We travelled several times on our side, but together as well: Grenoble-the sea by bike, travel in East Europe, etc.

   We only had few money (too lazy to work?!) and because we didn´t really needed it (respect to the French government´s scholarships and the grand parents during Christmas periods), we developed a strong sense of money saving and fund misuse *. Then, what used to be pure and simple stinginess started to become a pleasure: of course we were volunteers at music festivals to avoid to pay the entry fee, but we were there as well for the conviviality and the human contacts that volunteering creates. And the same is true for hitchhiking. But please read the next section to know more about it!

   Recently, our two different academic paths made us to consider long term travelling and it is pretty naturally that the project started. Several different ideas came to our minds, some of them are still here and others were little by little abandonned: at first we wanted to shot a movie while travelling, then simply make short videos, and in the end we don´t really know… Another guiding line was to travel with “0 expenses in transport”. We still have these ideas in our heads, but they are not defining our trip any more.
  * Fund misuse: “The art of not using money to some stuff (transport, accommodation, etc.) as we could buy beers instead” Oxford English Dictionary (OED), 2019 edition, very soon in every good book store.

But actually, where is Grenoble?

Our philosophy of travelling

We already mentioned earlier hitchhiking. But what is hitchhiking? Fortunately, Wikipedia is here for us.
And unfortunately, this definition is only overflying the most important aspect of hitchhiking: the reasons why people do it.
Please take out your pens and papers, here comes the question. If you allow us, we are going to take French data for this.
A Grenoble-Lyon trip with the train, leaving at 13h24 and arriving at 14h46 (1h22 of transport) for a person aged between 12 and 25 years without reduction is expensive.
I live in Grenoble and I have a good friend Bob in Lyon who organizes a birthday party for his octopus. I would love to go there, but if I add the price of the party, a 12-years aged Coca-Cola bottle and caviar plus a birthday present to Paul the Octopus, it will cost me half of my scholarship. And even more if in the club I pay an ink bottle to Paul.
I’m a student, which means I’m out of money, but it has been a long time since I haven’t seen Bob. I cannot miss this evening.
Until here, no problem, I can afford it. The week-end after I’ll just stay calm at home and won’t do crazy stuff.
But here comes an text message on my phone, straight from Jean-Baptiste Grange proposing me a ski day in Prapoutel. Fresh snow is forecasted for the next week-end… Because I’m born in the mountains of Grenoble and a high peaks lover, I cannot refuse this invitation.
I have now three choices, and I have to get rid of one because my wallet is not going to follow me in this:
– Not going to the party and going to ski, and drink my 12-years aged Cola alone
– Going to the party and to the ski but no Cola-drinking. Yes, I know, I already was told that without alcohol the party is even crazier. I stay convinced that it’s a government’s thing to make young people drink less.
– Or not going to ski : totally impossible if you look at the snow forecast, it looks way too awesome.
What solution do I have?
If I go at the exit of Grenoble in the direction of Lyon with a piece of cupboard taken out of the basement and a black marker stolen in my mother’s desk, I might get a lift to the toll in about 5 minutes. And maybe from there  I’ll find in less than 10min someone that will bring me directly in the center of Lyon?! It makes a 1h09+5min+10min = 1h24 trip. And thanks to this, I can use my scholarship for beer, partying and skiiiiii
Yes of course, hitchhiking would be a solution. But on the other hand, I could be so comfy in the train, looking at people on there smartphones and iPads. Instead if I hitchhike, I’ll to talk to a mail deliveryman that offers me to go with him everyday to Paris for free. And then have a nice talk about nature with this storm chaser (yes, it exists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_chasing ). So much effort…
Still, I’m not too sure about this hitchhiking stuff: and what it I don’t get taken? And I’ll stupid doing nothing on the side of the road?! Maybe if I sell my Pokemon cards I can pay my ski pass (if you are interested, I have got a shiny Blastoise. Send me a message). Ok, I’ll take the train
I´ve been trying all night to sell my Pokemon cards so I couldn’t wake up before 13h. Unfortunately the french train company SNCF is striking again since noon. Now, there is definitely only one solution: hitchhiking.
This story tells how we fell into hitchhiking. It explains as well the different advantages that we find in it, and more largely being housed by the local habitants. At first, the monetary aspect because when you travel, these are the biggest expenses. Hitchhiking allows us to travel longer with the same amount of money, a nice way of saying we don’t like to pay!
Then, we do it for the human encounters: you have no idea who is going to be the next person, no idea of the opportunities you will have. The cultural richness it brings you is just great!
The last aspect that makes us prefer hitchhiking to carsharing is flexibility! You are simply free of leaving whenever you want, no time pressure, and you can stay one day or one week more in a place if you like.
For our trip, we therefore plan a 5€/day budget, which is 1825€/year adding a 400€/year insurance (so mathematical people, how much is it in total?).
NB: Of course, we don’t denigrate neither carsharing nor train! Both are transport means very adapted to other situations than ours. The best exemple could be if you want to make sure to be on time at an appointment!
 In this text, we only talked about the advantages of hitchhiking and why these advantages made us choose this transport mean.
We could as well talk about the hours and hours waiting, about the people shouting “fuck you” and honking while passing by, about the people avoiding deliberately our looks and our smiles, about the concrete beds of the petrol station. But in the end we keep a beautiful memory from it, that will stay for ever and ever in our minds and so on… And we remember as well this guy or this girl who, after hours of waiting and struggle is going to make a huge detour to arrange us and to pay us a coffee.
This is why we became serial hitchhikers.
On the collaborative hitchhiking website: Why I hitchhike?

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