Twitchhiker | Paul Smith's travel tales from here and there


I see good people
03/02/2009, 00:41
Filed under: twitchhiker project | Tags: ,

Remember the last email you sent, or the last phone call you made, that you knew would have dire consequences? That as soon as you hit ‘send’ or the words began tumbling out your mouth, there could be no retractions, no way back?

Remember how that pang of adrenalin boomed and burst open in your chest, throbbing away until it consumed and choked your lungs? And once you finally fired off that mail, once you’d spat out all the right words (though not necessarily in the right order) and hung up, all you wanted to do is scream silently into a cushion or put your fingers in your ears and la la la la la?

That was me, just after midday today. Once the first tweet about @twitchhiker was sent, I stood up, sat down, stood up again, made lunch and proceeded to repeatedly stab a fork in my tongue, my shaking hands terrified by nerves. I was panic-stricken or, as I so eloquently put it to several people on Twitter later on, shitting my trousers. None of this was real until I told people it was, and I didn’t have to tell anyone. It could have been another one of those stupid bloody ideas we all have and never do a thing about, that we file away in the back of our brain and forget until we’re 87 years-old and playing mahjong in a home. And I was less than convinced that I wanted to attempt this. I like to travel, I’ve done some travel writing in the past, but this could see me end up as an unsolved torso case in Eastern Europe. Or Hull. The merest inkling of the slightest notion scared the living bejesus out of me.

At dinner time, I genuinely thought I’d never leave the shores of the UK on this challenge. I couldn’t see what possible combination of events could propel me over seas and oceans. 12 hours later, I’ve absolutely no doubt it can happen. None whatsoever. The kindness and warmth and support shown by those on Twitter has been everything I knew it could be. I still haven’t the first clue how I’ll depart the country after March 1st, but I feel as if sheer force of will take hurl me there, wherever there might be.

So if you’ve followed me today, if you’ve said hello, if you’ve already sponsored me, then thank you. You’re great, and you’ve made this all very real and very possible. Charity: water is an outstanding cause that will continue to prosper because of you. If you’ve already offered me lifts in cars and avocado trucks, if I can crash on your sofa or in your spare room, then thank you too. Even though the pesky rules of this challenge prevent me taking up any offers right now, as Juliette points out, all of these responses prove there are plenty of people on my side, willing this to happen.

If you’re Stephen Fry, I bloody love you too.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The great thing about what you’re doing is that it draws attention to the charity. How many more people know about charity:water today than yesterday? How many more will know before this ends? You’re bringing attention to this cause in a way that doesn’t cost the charity a cent/pence/currency of your choice. Charities spend varying percentages of their donations on publicity and fund-raising, and this one is gaining lots of publicity with no expenditure!

Since you’ve already got some publicity, why not see if the Twitter community can take it to the next level? If you could get a corporate sponsor to donate per mile/kilometer/measurement of your choice, that would up the ante. Surely there are PR people out there in Twitterdom that could help… and is there something you could auction on eBay? I’m afraid I don’t have any specific ideas, but someone will.

This is what I like about Twitter. It is what we make it. And by following your dream to help provide clean drinking water to people who have none, you’ve involved all of us. It’ll be a great adventure!

Comment by weirdsis

I wish you all the best. I was one of the first to follow you, before it exploded and you gained like 1200 followers!

Very cool indeed and if by any change you end up in Amsterdam (or near) Be sure I will offer to help you!

Comment by @BassW

You’re not going to die, murderers are pretty rare really. So whatever you do, don’t chicken out!

It’ll be cool, wish I’d thought of it :)

(in Liverpool so probably can’t be much help)

Comment by Thom

This is the possitive power of the web – it gets such a slating sometimes but then something like this can happen and lo and hapy things happen.

Wishing you all the best for this and I shall be following your progress – I’m not that far from you but can offer you a place to sleep and copious amounts of good Yorkshire tea for the trip if you need it in Sheffield.

Comment by Glamgirl

I think that I’ll follow you to the end of the earth ….. and then over the sea …… and then over some concrete ……. probably over a pond …… through a jungle ………. a brilliant idea!! ……. and I’m an ol’ git

Comment by Daddy Papersurfer

…… it’s a shame you can’t do 140 days ……. would be very appropriate ………… considering …… mmmmmm?

Comment by Daddy Papersurfer

@weirdsis Good question re. sponsorship. I think it’s something I’ll ask you to decide on too, since this isn’t down to just me.

@daddy papersurfer 140? Are you mad?

Comment by Paul




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