There was a man…
Well, he’s still alive, so technically I did a bad thing writing it in the past tense. But as this man I speak of already has done this seed, keep up with me…
So. There was a man, named Smith, Paul Smith. A thirty-four year old freelance writer. He spent his honeymoon in New York, but suffered post-holiday blues. Life is hard…
But, this post-holiday blues gave birth to an idea. He wanted to try to get to Cambell Island, which is two hundred miles off New Zealand’s coast, within thirty days.
His new wife, named Jane, didn’t argue about her man’s pursuits. No, instead she backed him and told him to put all the dates on the calendar.
He tweeted his ambitions on Twitter four weeks before the departure date, but response was slow. That all changed once the Lord of the Tweet, Stephen Fry, found out about him and mentioned Paul Smith to his 1.6 million followers. I have 44 followers. I have a long road ahead for Twitterdom…
Anyways. After Stephen Fry’s mention of Smith’s intentions, the response was massive. And as a coincidence, Paul Smith has travelled the world almost totally free using only Twitter to get journeys from other Twitterers.
This is how he did it.
– Ferry ticket from Newcastle to Amsterdam (tweeter called Leanne)
– Train to Paris (two French tweeters)
– Free bed at a hostel
– Train to Saarbrucken
– Lift in car to Frankfurt (German tweeter Andrea Juchem)
– One-way flight from Frankfurt to New York (tweeter called Owen, using Air Miles.
– Spare bed in hotel room (tweeter from Yorkshire called Mark)
– Then travel to and stays in Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco by plane, train and car (US tweeters)
– Flight to San Francisco (Zurich-based tweeter)
– Car to Los Angeles
– Free flight from LA to Auckland (Air New Zealand)
– Ferry to South Island
– Lift to tip of South Island (tweeter called Smiley)
– Sailed to Stewart Island.
At this point, Smith was hoping to find a sailor to take him to his final destination, but alas, he failed. Oh, hard luck, m’fellow…
Even though he never actually reached Cambell Island, he realised two things. One of these things is that he had achieved more than he could ever hope for. The other thing he realised was the fact that people could be kind and spontaneous to strangers.
On his travels, he managed to fit in an interview for the Good Morning America television breakfast show, and even partied with actresses Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes and Jessica Alba in Hollywood. Nice for some, eh?
He returned home – via another free flight from Air New Zealand – to his wife and nine-year-old twin sons, Sam and Jack. He stated that he was “almost there, but not quite.
“But my main aim was to get as far around the world as I could in 30 days. When I gazed across the sea towards Campbell Island I didn’t feel like a beaten man.
“People were bending over backwards to help me and the trip proved to me there is a lot of good in the world.”
He has now written and released a book, called Twitchhiker.