Today we are traveling with Jeremy Marie
Jeremy Marie is a French traveler from Normandy. His blog describes the tour around the world that he did by hitchhiking between 2007 and 2013. Jeremy Marie was hitchhiking around the world for 6 years. He hitchhiked 180 000 kilometers. Jeremy Marie wrote a book about his trip available in French language where he writes about his experiences hitchhiking in different countries.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
I would describe myself as a Backpacker. Though this word requires maybe a bit more details for my case. I tend to travel off beaten tracks and to focus my journeys towards the understanding of local cultures. What I search is to connect the most with the daily life of the people who live in the area that I happen to travel. In few words, I travel in order to learn about the world and its inhabitants.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry
I try to keep my backpack as small and as light as possible. For this reason, I use only the things that are absolutely necessary, such as few clothes, my toothbrush, a small camera, a netbook, eventually a picoprojector to share my journey with schools/social groups, and my passport, which might be the thing that I ALWAYS have to carry!
Can you tell us a hitchhiking story?
When I was hitchhiking around the world, it happened many times for me to look for lifts in the petrol station. For this, I made a folder with the pictures of my journey, maps, and newspaper prints that were talking about my journey. I also used this folder once people were picking me up randomly to make them travel by procuration, showing them the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina, the Ayers Rock in Australia or the Great Wall of China.
Once I finished my journey, I moved to Dublin in Ireland and start to look for a job. After few weeks, a travel agency called me for an interview. I came with my folder and did the exact same things that I was doing in the petrol station: I opened my folder and talked about the world.
I got the job and stayed 2 years working in this company. As you can see, more than just a way to go from one place to another for free, Hitchhiking can actually also provide jobs!
Which country was the best for hitchhiking? Why?
I would say that New Zealand, Chile and lastly Ireland where I recently lived were particularly easy to hitchhike. I would say that it was easy for different reasons, but maybe that the media didn’t give such a bad picture of hitchhiking yet, and that people used more their life experience to have an idea about what is dangerous and not in their own country, instead of trusting more what the media would eventually say.
And the worst country for hitchhiking? Why?
Without doubt: the United States. I would give three main reasons for this:
1. Hitchhiking is forbidden is most of the states. In 6 months hitchhiking there, I got stopped 35 times by the police.
2. People are scared. The media give an horrible image of the hitchhiker, and the people are very worry now when they see one, even if they never spoke with one. Because people are scared, they obviously don’t stop and they even people sometimes violent, at least in their words or gestures.
3. Because of the current mentality based on success = money. A hitchhiker is associated with the idea of the “lack of money”, which means non respectable, and so not someone to be helped.
[Tweet “United States is the worst country for hitchhiking”]
Are you usually traveling alone? Why?
I have been traveling a long time alone, until I met my wife. Traveling alone had very positive assets that were very good during this period of my life. Indeed, being alone makes it easy to meet people, and so I met an incredible number of people when I spent those years on the road. This gave me access to different cultures and ways of thinking, which gives me today a better understanding of the world.
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
Regarding the matter of hospitality, I have to say that Muslim countries were the best for me. In this religion, the hospitality to the traveler is something very important. In some of the Muslim countries, such as Sudan, Iran and Syria (before the war), the hospitality was really reaching the clouds.
Can you tell us about your longest trip? How long was it and which places did you go to?
My longest journey took me 5 years and a half. I did a tour of the world by hitchhiking that led me through 71 countries and territories, traveling 180700 kilometers with the help of 1752 vehicles.
During this journey, I travel from Europe to Middle East, across Africa from North to South along the East side, across the Atlantic Ocean by hitchhiking a sailing boat, then overland up North through Central America, around North America up to Alaska, then down south through the Caribbean to South America and around the continent all the way to Ushuaia, across the Pacific Ocean by hitchhiking another sailing boat all the way to New Zealand.
Then hitchhiking a cargo to Australia, then by plane hitchhiking to Indonesia, around South East Asia, China, overland through Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and Europe back to Caen where I started my trip. I did this journey because that was my dream to see the world. I wanted to understand the planet from the point of view of its inhabitant. I believe it was plain curiosity and of course a desire for adventures.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
My favorite was surely my world tour by hitchhiking, as it gave me the possibility to realize so many dreams and to make it a lifestyle for many years.
Has there been any challenging and bad moments?
I think that trying to cross the oceans was the most difficult part of the world tour by hitchhiking. There is so much uncertainty.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done? Why?
My favorite landscape would surely be the Bromo Volcano, in the island of Java in Indonesia.The view is just incredible as sunrise time, with the three cones, surrounding by a lake ofsand, and finally a jungle green color on the main cone that makes it so surreal.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best?
The worst place would probably be a night I spent in Uganda. It came from a good intention of a teenager that invited me to his place to stay overnight, in the Southwest of the country. During the night, I woke up to go to the toilet. When I came back, I switched off the light and tried to sleep, but my hand touched something that moved. I switched on my headlight and saw a huge rat in my bed that was trying to escape but couldn’t because of the mosquito net. The rat was truly panicking and was jumping everywhere, on the bed, on the net, on me! Finally I opened the net and the rat left straight away. This truly surprised me and I don’t recall having spent a great night that day.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
Yes, next February, I will travel with my wife around India and Nepal for about 3 months. I always wanted to discover this country and finally we will get this opportunity together.
Its easy to find love while you are traveling?
I guess that there are more chances to find love while traveling as we are exposed to meet a greater number of individuals while moving rather than staying in the same place. After, it is difficult to give any probability and it also depends of the character of the person who wishes to travel.
In my case, I met my wife during my world tour by hitchhiking. She is Indonesian from the island of Sumatra.
[Tweet “I met my wife during my world tour by hitchhiking.”]
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveler should I interview next?
As a hitchhiker, I would maybe recommend the person that inspired so many hitchhikers “Andre Brugiroux”. He is near 80 years old now, and has traveled in every country in the world to this date. A pretty unique character for sure.
How many books did you sell?
My book was printed in 6000 copies, which are sold out at this stage. My editor printed a pocket format of this book this year, though I don’t know how many copies were printed.
Amazing interview and story, thanks for your time Jeremy Marie!
Jeremy Marie is searching for contacts in Indian schools/social groups that would be happy to welcome him. When Jeremy Marie travels , he always try to share what he learnt from life in his journey. So, Jeremy Marie gives free slide-show conference of his world tour by hitchhiking in schools/orphanages or hospitals. If you have such contacts in India or Nepal, please feel free to send them to him. So, he can try to en light the day of young people who might not have the chance to travel by themselves!
Great stories traveling around the world. Jeremy Marie is a hitchhiking expert. Hitchhiking cars and boats. Long trip, 6 years, hitting on the road. If you want to know more details about Jeremy Marie. Feel free to follow him in his Facebook page. If you want to read his book (French language).
If you want to read more interviews related to this one, check Tomislav Perko’s interview. Another hitchhiker around the world.