I recently came back from a hitchhiking journey around the world. When my partner and me landed in New York with two backpacks, six hundred dollars, few plans and lots of dreams - we knew one thing - we wanted to see the world. At that time we had no idea the journey would take us... five years.
Few plans and lots of dreams
The world is big and fascinating. And we have decided to see it. “Just like that? Where did you get the idea from?” people ask us. I never really thought about it. I guess – right, just like that. Though maybe it helped that I got the travel bug from my parents. When I was one they took me on a journey around Poland – by hitchhiking! I had to wait for my own expeditions for a while, but when I started – it was hard to stop. I hitchhiked around entire Europe, often taking part as a volunteer at international workcamps. Having graduated from Foreign Languages Teacher Training College, when I wasn’t limited by short vacation, I set off on a longer adventure – a solo eight month overland journey – through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan to India and Nepal. And later… I met Chopin. At that time each of us was dreaming of another great journey. I wanted to circle the Earth in a bicycle Peace Ride. Chopin, having completed his civil service, was thinking of just walking, without any plan, stopping here and there to work for a while, and go on. Destiny, however, had a different plan for us. We were meant to do it together. One way ticket, two backpacks, a close to six hundred dollars (all our savings), few plans and lots of dreams – that’s what we had when we landed in New York. It was Wednesday, October 7th, 1998. We knew one thing – we wanted to see the world. The whole world! How to do it almost with no money? How to do it to best get to know the people and cultures of the countries along our way? Of course – by hitchhiking! We didn’t plan the detailed route – we just chose the general direction. We didn’t study guidebooks – people who picked us up, people we met along a mountain path, or a map we accidentally came across – these were our guides. We just let the events happen and the road lead us through new places, countries and adventures. Thumbing a ride with destiny… We didn’t expect it would take us… five years. During those five years, I was keeping a diary, day by day filling new pages of thick notebooks with tiny handwriting. I scribbled leaning against my backpack waiting for a ride in the middle of a dusty Paraguayan wasteland, I wrote on board the boat sailing the Amazon River; or surrounded by a curious crowd of barefoot children in a Laotian village. Whenever there was a chance, I typed it into a computer, and Chopin archived on our website. Now I have managed to share the most interesting fragments of the diary together with the best of the photographs in one book. You’re invited for a journey – first with us, and then – following your own dreams.