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

Current mood – feeling “dickish”

I’m feeling out of my depth this morning, annoyed at my own arrogance, and anxious, not unlike a man told he’s soon to have angry tigers strapped to both legs.

It’s seven days since I sent that very first tweet, and the response has been jaw-slackingly unexpected. Thanks to a feature on ReadWriteWeb yesterday, I’ve piled on over 500 new followers in 24 hours. There’s oodles of support and, at the risk of repeating myself, I have no doubt this will work.

So why the melancholy mood? For staters, I feel a little dickish (not a word I’ve ever used before, but it seems entirely apt here)  that I was ignorant to the situation in Southern Australia until yesterday afternoon. All the tweets about Victoria burning had blithely washed over me. Even my first email of the day was from Paul Richards, the producer at Sunrise in Sydney, apologising that my live interview on breakfast television was cancelled, what with the ‘situation’ and all. Fair enough, I’d thought, but brush fires happen all the time, don’t they? Hence my inaugural use of the word ‘dickish’. I’m ashamed of myself for being so consumed in my work and this project that I didn’t bother to look up and see what else was happening in the world I hoped to travel.

Then there’s Charity: water. I wanted to support this cause because of Twestival (if you don’t know what this is yet, check their website and buy a ticket today) so without much thought I took up the same cause. I obviously needed the charity’s blessing, so I began emailing their head office in New York last Sunday; by Wednesday I’d heard nothing so I called instead. I was asked to email another person, who loved the idea of Twitchhiker and wished me luck, but still referred me onto another person, who emailed me last night:

Paul –

Thanks so much for your email and for your interest in supporting charity: water.

I would love to learn more about your idea.  Please let me know if you’d like to set up a brief call.

Many thanks,

Interest in supporting Charity: water? Oh god, what does that mean? I am supporting Charity: water, right now. Twitter users have donated over £800 because they believe in this project. I sent everything about Twitchhiker to head office last Sunday, and a week on it sounds as if there’s a question mark me continuing. Why is this happening? Because I’ve been arrogant; instead checking in with them first, I’d cut corners. I sent Carrie my number with a lump in my throat; we’ll see what happens.

And then there’s the noticeboard on my desk, which looks very much as it did seven days ago (I haven’t staged this shot, by the way – my passport genuinely does live in my line-of-sight so I can’t lose it):

Twitchhiker - my empty to-do list. Not great.

Suddenly I feel I’ve spent a week noodling about on Twitter and collecting shiny press cuttings; I haven’t actually lifted a finger to help myself make this journey achievable. I’ve done nothing whatsoever. What is it I think I’m doing, exactly? I need to give myself a serious talking to, because while my shoot-first, ask-questions-later policy got this project off the ground, it feels it could just as easily bury it.


9 Comments so far
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Hiya Paul, I think that it is just the nerves kicking in hun, sit back and take a deep breath, the question is, what can you realistically do at the moment?

Tea and toast beckon

Julia X

Comment by Julia Ball

I think your shoot first strategy works perfectly, you’re in a roller coaster now mate :-). Imo you’ve done the most difficult part: getting attention and a following. Now you just keep everyone informed and ask for help!

Comment by Mark


Just followed you on Twitter. Love the idea – we can get so wrapped up in our ideas can’t we?

I think you are still on the right track – you’ve realized a lot that will help you stay balanced in the next few days to come.

I’ll be following your progress – can’t wait to see you make it to the States.

Comment by Daniel

Hey Paul,
I think you’re doing a great job, you just need to belive that what you are doing/going to do is going to work, because all your followers do.
And as for the “Interest” in following the charity, I think even if you don’t get their blessing, they are hardly going to turn down a check for a grand or so are they?
Keep at the good work
Sorrel x

Comment by Sorrel

Thank you chaps 🙂

I do have a tendency to start projects before thinking them through; this has become so big, so quickly that I don’t want it to fall over because I rushed into it.

I need to knuckle down and start planning what I can and Mark, you’re right – I can ask you and everyone else for help. That’s the whole point of this experiment, so I shouldn’t shy away from it.

And breathe…

Comment by Paul

Completely understand where you are as from time to time I’ve rushed into something and then wondered how I’m going to do it!

The great thing about this is that you get momentum – you’ve started the ball rolling and now you need to go with it. If you need help, ask for it. Loads of people out there ready to help you along the way.

If you’d spent ages planning and doing everything the right way then you’d probably never have done it at all as it would have looked far too complicated. You’re on the rollercoaster now – enjoy the trip!

Comment by Pauline

Hey Paul,
Don’t feel dickish(first time Iv’e used that word too)! Feel positive that you have taken those look before you leap steps to raise awareness of that chairty with a very unique,daring and amusing way.All of us Twits are right behind you wishing you all the luck in the world.
Twittering big hugs
Susie x

Comment by Susie Gennoe

Not to worry about the charity. Sounds very much like a form response and that they haven’t got their act together. Why exactly do you need their blessing? Just send ’em the money 🙂

Comment by Follower

I’d say you’re on the right track, and it’s okay to take a few moments to breathe! I’m sure the charity : water people will be totally on board with what you’re doing (and the interest and money raised)! As others have noted, you have this huge network that can help you out with other stuff too – not just the occasional lift or plane ticket!

Comment by Jen

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