This was not the China I had envisioned – Hitchhiking around the world

Had I missed a big piece of news? Riot police with machine guns, shields, steel baseball bats loomed in every direction. And the electric body scanners and bag searches on every street corner (literally) made me wonder if I should get the hell out when I reached Kashgar, my first stop in China. And every…

Back to Almaty and on to Bishkek -Kyrgyzstan Part 1/2 – Hitchhiking Around the World

April 2018 With a shiny new Chinese visa in my passport, I put the last 10 months of crippling stress behind me and looked to the road ahead. I thought I would be ecstatic, but I was not even half way around the world yet. Instead, I felt a sense of pride and modesty, realising…

The Winter of Shifting Personality – Georgia – Hitchhiking Around the World

Georgia was an adventure in itself in so many ways; for 6 months, I would struggle through a series of immense character transformations, get a dream job, almost die, fall in love properly for the first time and explore a country that does not technically exist. I would meet some of the most influential people…

Azerbaijan Part 2/2 – Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure

October 2017 Winter was certainly here and the nights were too cold for my inadequate equipment. I knew I needed to push on to get to Georgia within the next few days. I would have one more stop in Azerbaijan - Ganja, where I was meeting a Couchsurfing host the next day. It started to…

Azerbaijan Part 1/2 – Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure

October 2017 Countries blend together like paints on a palette and now that I had gone West from Central Asia, Europe's influence was seeping in. The familiar feeling of being in a big city was brought back by the sounds of revving engines, squeaking tyres, uninterpretable chatter, all blended with the smell of exhaust fumes…

…To the End of the World – Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure – Uzbekistan Part 3/3

September 2017 As I woke up on my last day in Nukus, a wave of sadness came over me. I had made friends, integrated into the community and started to get comfortable. I knew I wouldn't be back again, as is the case for almost all of the places I pass through. I didn't think…

The Second Time I Almost Got Married – Uzbekistan Part 2/3 – Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure

September 2017 On the roadside on the outskirts of Samarkand after walking out early morning, a car pulled in. I did the usual ‘I cannot pay’ mime and the man did not drive off. Thinking he had agreed to take me for free, I got in. But things felt different; There were no questions about…

Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure: Uzbekistan Part 1/3: Tashkent to Samarkand

September 2017 From my train-track-side camping spot, I rose with the sun and jumped over the fence back to the road into the city. I had slept there because I couldn't find an open Wi-Fi signal to find a hostel, as I do whenever I enter a new city. But I had finally found one…

Tom’s Big Hitchhiking Adventure: Almaty to Tashkent

September 2017 Following the walk out of Almaty, I’d spent the night outside a shopping mall among some tall, dry and dusty weeds. My face scarf had kept me from sneezing through the night. I was on an 800km leg to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. I had a dream that I’d given in and…

Tom Hitchhikes the Earth – Days 74-78: What it Means to be British

"...Travel doesn’t make you a different person, it just helps you to realize yourself." It had been very challenging getting to Kazan but I was finally here, albeit a bit late - my host had given up on me and since I didn't have a local sim card, I couldn't update him. I found WiFi…

Моscow and Another Adventure-Ending Crisis

In one sentence, Moscow was like London but in a different alphabet – the sticky, smoggy wind blowing from the underground stations, the rushing, nervous business people chattering gibberish around me and the beeping of thick traffic which never stops. And at night, street and car headlights illuminated the city which does not rest. But…

Hitchhiking Buses – Veliky Novgorod and the Road to Moscow

Ilya's mother dying just before I arrived to his home meant I didn't spend very long in Veliky Novgorod; I explored the city in a day and left after the second night. Touristy, it wasn't. Apart from experiencing a 'real' Russian town, I took a look at some government buildings, probably arousing further suspicion to…

Estonia: Dropping Plans, Picking Possibilities – Hitchhiking Around the World Days 64-66

'Estonia' - before going for the first time, that melodic name painted pictures in my mind of scenes from children's books read to me by my parents. We often create an over-romanticized idea of a new place, but the moment I crossed the border, my imagination materialized. It is one of those magic places I…

Estonia. Hope is the Opposite of Fear – Hitchhiking Around the World Day 60 – 62

"Hope is the opposite of fear." The crisp, morning air from the half-opened window welcomed me into the new day and breathed hope into my problem. Despite what had burdened me over the last few days, I was relaxed.  I made a big breakfast for Tambet and me, which we enjoyed on his balcony while…

The Day it All Went Wrong – Latvia Part 2/2 – Hitchhiking Around the World Days 51 – 58

“Not only had I been punched in the stomach, now I had been kicked in the balls, too.” I had been in Latvia for a week and experienced the capital city, Riga. Now I wanted to see somewhere that wasn’t a tourist magnet - somewhere in the countryside, somewhere which would show me the 'real'…

Latvia Part 1/2 – Riga. Hitchhiking Around the World Days 43 -50

"...We always remember the past better than it was at the time." Leaving Lithuania I choose to walk out of cities - and everywhere I stop, for that matter - because of my rule to circumnavigate the planet without paying for transport. This restricts me to either walking, hitchhiking, or if someone is kind enough,…

Into the Former USSR and the Chinese Visa Crisis; Hitchhiking Around the World: Days 34 – 40

- On 1 June 2017, I left the UK to hitchhike alone around the world - "About $5500 left my account that day." Up until this week of the adventure I had started to tell people that it was becoming a bit too easy - I was staying for free with Couchsurfing hosts for 2-3…

A Near-Death Experience: Hitchhiking Around the World Days 32 and 33

"I thought that the tall grass would be a safe, well-hidden place for sleeping in, but I was forced out of my sleeping bag just after sunrise by a man driving a lawnmower inches away from my tent." I spent a total of 3 days in the small town of Konin. It was my first…

Getting Lucky in a McDonald’s – Hitchhiking Around the World Day 27-32

On 1 June 2017, I left the small English town of Falmouth to hitchhike alone around the world. After a month-long 3100km sprint from Falmouth, I had arrived in Poland and I needed to rest. I found a cheap hostel which was empty and slept 10-12 hours every night and 2-3 during the day. Despite this,…