This page explains the idea and rules of the original Twitchhiker Project, which took place in March 2009. I made it as far as Stewart Island in New Zealand, and with the aid of several thousand people on Twitter raised £5,285 plus £949.82 in Gift Aid for Charity: water.
What is Twitchhiker?
The Twitchhiker is both a project and a person, @paul_a_smith. That’s me. Hello there. On 1st March, I’ll attempt to travel as far around the world as possible in 30 days, relying only on the goodwill of people using Twitter.
While travelling, I’ll be raising as much money as possible for charity: water.
For the love of all things holy and sacred, why?
To see if it’s possible. Because it might be fun. And to raise a eye-bulgingly enormous stack of money for charity: water, a fantastic cause currently being supported by the global phenomena that is Twestival.
So what are you going to do?
The aim is to travel as far from home (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) as possible within 30 days. New Zealand is the place closest to the opposite point on the planet to my house, so that should be my intended destination. Actually, the closest landmass is an island so insignificant that Google can’t be bothered to name it. If you can identify it, please let me know. It’d be good to know where I’m aiming for. [it's Campbell Island apparently, according to people who know better than I]
I may spend two days sat in Newcastle’s Central Station before catching the bus home, but I’m hoping that Twitterers will offer me a car ride up or down the road, a bed or sofa for the night; hopefully somebody can help me onto a standby flight or the likes of Eurostar, or maybe they’ll have a ferry ticket they can’t use. If I can get out of the UK, then anything’s possible.
How will you raise money for charity: water?
People can sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/twitchhiker. Please consider that I may end up in the shower block of a Mexican jail as a result of this challenge, so I’d prefer you were generous to a fault. The target is to raise at least £3,000, which will mean charity: water can fund a well project in a developing country.
What happens after 30 days?
I get to go home and see if I’ve been burgled.
The are five rules I have to follow throughout the 30 days. Obviously I’m at liberty to bend them if certain death or amputation will otherwise occur, but I’ll do my best to stick to them:
I can only accept offers of travel and accommodation on Twitter, from users who are following @twitchhiker
This means if a Twitterer’s sister’s boyfriend’s father has a spare train ticket, I can’t use it; the help has to come directly from the person using Twitter. This may be too restrictive, but I want to draw on the support of the Twitter community, not to use Twitter as a search engine to find third party services.
I can’t make any plans further than three days in advance
It’s entirely possible that before I begin this challenge, I could have my entire route pre-determined and that would be no fun at all. So unless an offer of transport or accommodation is made within 72 hours of it being applicable, I can’t accept it. Damn.
I can only spend money on food, drink and anything that might fit in my suitcase
All travel and accommodation must be offered to me through Twitter. If I can’t, then I’m sleeping rough.
If there’s more than one offer on the table, I get to choose which I take. If there’s only one, I have to take it within 48 hours.
I’m not entirely happy about this bit. If any part of this challenge is going to see me dead in a ditch or under a patio, it’s this part.
If I’m unable to find a way to move on from a location within 48 hours, the challenge is over and I go home.
I hope my fellow Twitterers won’t let that happen.
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