“But hitching didn’t die a natural death — it was murdered. And there’s little evidence that it was as dangerous as we think.”
Said the New York Times earlier this year. And during 2012 I have done a lot of hitch-hiking. My thumb has taken me traveling in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Zanzibar, Malawi and Zimbabwe. All in just one year.
Most of the experiences has been good, only one man turned out to be over-sexual (and of course it was in Switzerland, where else but in the rich of richness?). During the year I’ve met people born into slavery and refugees trying to get into Europe, but failing.
While sorting out old diary-notes lying around I found this piece:
“I was sitting behind him on his bike. He was going so fast down the hill I couldn’t bare keeping my eyes open. ‘There’s Malawi!’ he shouted. ‘What?’ I screamed back, slowly opening my eyes. ‘There’s Malawi!’ He screamed again and pointed at the lush green hills in front of us. I was awestruck.”
Three days later I found myself trekking up the hill to Livingstonia, monkeys chatting in the trees for company and an old man who spoke no English to show the way through the shortcuts. There was more climbing than walking and at one point my backpack pulled me down backwards, down the cliff, and balancing on a root and grasping for another one to cling to, I was ok and got myself back onto the track. I will never forget than nerve-killing moment.
2012 was also the year when I got malaria for the first – and hopefully the last – time of my life and nearly died. I’ve met the best couch surfing hosts I’ve ever had. I got a bachelor in journalism at the Mid Sweden University, freelanced for radio and magazines, got my heart broken for the first time and I buried my cat who’s been with me for sixteen years. I was homeless and spent five months on couches and mattresses at different friends. I also found a home, a place to which I want to return to after trip after trip.
And thanks to all of you who has read my blog. You who has been with me from the beginning, and you who dropped by during the year. Thank you. Now I look forward to a new year with travels, challenges and friends. Happy new year!