How to travel the world with no fund- by people who have done it

Three adventurers share their advice on cash-free journeys around the globe, and expose the highs and lows of the challenge

Laura Bingham: 7,000 km cycle across South America, July 2016

What was the high point of your trip-up?
When my sister joined me for a short while in Argentina. Wed been there for two days and a man stopped on the side of the road and began speaking to us. He told us how hed cycled around Spain last year then offered us his place to bide that night. When we arrived at his home, his mum greeted us with open arms and fed us so much food that we ate like monarches for the first time in months. The following day we met another cyclist who invited us to his home for lunch and made arrangements with his friend for us to stay a day subsequently. After a generous lunch, we went to his friends place and were stopped in the local township by a human who gave us a large purse of oranges. He, too, offered a stay in his home This level of generosity shocked me to my core. I think we forget how dedicating people can be and how a kind stranger can look after you without expecting anything in return. Its funny how kindness and a warm smile can be the highlighting of your day.

Laura
Laura Bingham checks her map during her 7,000 km ride. Photo: Brandon C Giesbrecht

The low phase?
The moment that stands out was on day 16, simply over 2 week in to my trip-up. I had been pushing my bike up the Ecuadorian Andes for four days; it was pouring with rainfall and I was highly hungry. I had passed house after house of rejection: no one would help. Nothing. We reached a house and I fell to my knees in tears, begging the woman for help, even simply her garden to put up my tent. She looked at me, looked at how desperate I was, the tears streaming from my face, and shook her finger. Nothing. I could do nothing and I felt like nothing. I dug deep to source any shred of energy or willpower to keep going.

Whats your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar trip ?
If youre planning a cycling trip-up, pack sun. Very light. Weight will hold you back and youll be surprised by the amount of stuff you dont need. Believe practically and essentially. I would recommend Gore gloves and rain coat as they are lightweight. I also loved my down coat: it kept me warm and ran as a pillow too! Finally, it is important to keep positive. I was raising money for a charity called
Operation South America and the thought of them got me through my darkest days. And download some motivational videos or podcasts. I liked to listen to Motivational Madness it keeps you strong if youre feeling low.
R ead more about Lauras adventures at laurabingham.org

Rob Greenfield: 72 money-free days travelling from Brazil to Panama

Rob
Rob on one of several rides in Mexico. Photo: Rob Greenfield
What was the high point of your journey ?
Stepping off the plane in Brazil. I had no fund , no contacts , no solid plans and 7,000 miles of mystery and wonder ahead of me through lands Id never defined foot on. With so many of us on a quest for more stuff and more money, this is a perspective on Ground that few of us get to feel.

The low phase ?
The daily challenge of detecting a new source of food and water, a place to sleep, and a ride built the whole trip-up through South America strenuous. To hitchhike 7,000 miles when you dont like vehicles isnt always the most fun. One day in Peru I accidentally got off the Pan-American Highway and ended up in the middle of nowhere. It took me around 12 rides to go just 130 miles. But hitchhiking is worth it because it takes you to places and introduces you to people you never would have find or met in any other way.

Hitchhiking
Photograph: Rob Greenfield

Whats your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar journey?
Be prepared and have the gear to be mostly self-sustaining. Carry a tent and sleeping gear, water purifier, cooking equipment and comfy clothes. Travel light and leave behind what you dont require. Stimulate connects for places to stay, and earn meals through websites such as
wwoof.org, helps.net, and workaway.info. Ditch your expectations before beginning the journey and keep an open and curious mind.
Read more about Robs adventures at robgreenfield.tv

Rhinal Patel: travelled from her UK home to Hong Kong

Breakfast
Breakfast at sunrise by Lake Toba, Sumatra

What was the high point of your trip, so far?
There is no better feeling than when someone, without knowing who you are, holds out a hand to help you. One memorable experience was hitchhiking in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. My friend Paco went to ask an elderly Muslim lady how far the next town was and she looked at us like we therefore crazy( hitchhiking is not common in Indonesia ). We started waving at the cars running past when abruptly she came over, calmly stood in the middle of the road and made a stop sign in front of a auto going past. It stopped immediately, and she told us to get in. This old lady had more power and fortitude than most kids today! I was truly inspired and impressed. The power of social media also astonished me. People would find my blog online and contact me, inviting me to stay with them.

The low point ?
The lowest phase was in Germany, I had two days to get to Poland for my flight and I had planned to travel 300 km across the north. On the way, a Brazilian guy who picked me up found out that there were growing neo-Nazi towns in the north and I could be entering a dangerous situation. I rerouted via Berlin, adding another 300 km to my journey. I arrived late at a service station and decided it was too late to hitchhike, so I slept in the toilet. Then I got a message from person in Berlin saying that he had read my blogand asked what he could do to help. I told him my situation and he offered to come and get me as well as pay for my bus ticket and a hotel. But before I could respond I lost Wi-Fi connection. I spent the next 90 minutes asking people if I could borrow a phone to bellow him: everyone said no. Eventually, one girl agreed and we waited for her boyfriend to come out of the toilet so I could explain my location to my contact in Berlin. As soon as he came out the look on his face told me he was not going to help me, but I did not expect what was to come out of his mouth: I am sorry we cannot help you. You might be trying to organise a bomb somewhere.

Whats your advice for anyone who wants to do a similar trip?
There is the risk something bad can happen to a lone female hitchhiker, but it was important to me to show the importance of freedom and independence, especially for women. I did almost back away after hearing the story of
Pippa Bacca( an Italian hitchhiker murdered in Turkey in 2008 ), but I decided to proceed with caution. I didnt hitchhike at night with people I didnt know and I started using other methods, like hitchhiking trains, auto shares, or with friends of friends. Asking locals for advice, learning how to read people body language and researching countries beforehand is also important.

Emotionally, you need a positive position and determination. You are going to hear no a lot along your way and sometimes dirty appears and nasty comments. But you cannot give up at the first no try, try, and try again until you get a yes.You are much more likely to hitch a ride when youre smiling than when you are down and depressed. Usually when someone does stop, it aims up being a beautiful experience. Sweden was a difficult place for me to hitchhike because of the racism that has developed there, but the best advice that someone gave me is: Focus on your end objective and dont let anything or anyone get in your way.
To read more about Rhinals travelings visit her blog tinyurl.com/ rhinal or donate to her chosen charity at totalgiving.co.uk

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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