Today we are traveling with Jamie from Great Big Scary World.
I’m Jamie and I grew up in rural England. After going through the motions of obtaining a Masters degree in Mathematics, I decided to take a slightly less trodden path in life and now travel extensively. My blog is called Great Big Scary World because I was always very afraid of the world, but now try to find beauty and wonder in it whenever I can. The fear doesn’t disappear, but you learn to manage it, and I started the site when I began a six month hitchhiking journey around Europe.
What type of traveler would you say are you?
Extreme budget. I often travel on a handful of pounds a day, saving money by free camping, hitchhiking, cycling, or whatever else it is that I need to do. I don’t work often, so I have to be careful with my funds.
What’s inside your backpack? What is that one thing that you ALWAYS have to carry.
A notepad to write down those special, fleeting thoughts before the run away.
Can you tell us a hitchhiking story?
Hundreds! In fact I even wrote a book (The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World) about my hitchhiking journey across Europe. Most importantly though, almost all of the stories I have are either positive or funny (to me). Nothing bad has happened.
Can you tell us about dumpster diving? Which countries did you practise?
I tried this in England, Holland, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Norway, and Poland. It’s hit or miss and sometimes you find a stash of alcohol, cheese, and bread, other times you get very little. In Norway we fed a farm of many people by going skipping once a week and we ate SO well. On one occasion we found 28 large cans of cider and 3 kilos of cheese. While this is a great way of saving money, a big part of doing this is that I just hate to see waste.
Which country did you find easier to hitchhike? Why?
I have hitchhiked in around thirty countries and all of them have been great. Occasionally you get unlucky, but for the most part hitchhiking has restored my faith in humanity.
Which country did you find harder to hitchhike? Why?
I once got stuck in Slovenia and only got one ride in fourteen hours. The first time I hitchhiked in Slovenia I got a ride in five minutes, so I think I was unlucky to be left at an isolated area late at night the second time.
Traveling by bicycle or hitchhiking? Why?
I don’t work often, so I have a very limited budget. Cycling and hitchhiking are very low budget ways of travelling. They also push you to your limits (mentally / physically) and allow you to discover little parts of the world that you wouldn’t otherwise find.
Where you were sleeping in your bicycle trip?
In a tent, hiding from people, especially after we got arested for camping in a park in Amsterdam. Apart from that night, no one bothered us. We also Couch Surfed twice.
Traveling alone or with someone? Why?
I like to be alone mostly so that I can meet people along the way and take them with me. If things change, you can separate. I did, however, meet a young lady who has been ‘tagging along’ for nearly four years now!
Which country did you find the most hospitable people?
In Uganda the people are beautiful… and also… hang on, I need a book for this. Every country I have been to has wonderful people. You just have to smile, be friendly, and people will reciprocate. In general though, the less financially developed an area, the friendlier the people.
How is a day in your life when you aren’t traveling?
When I’m working in a job I don’t enjoy, I get very bored and unhappy. I find myself reading stories of other people doing things I want to do, so whenever I get the chance, I spend as much time outside as possible. I love nature.
What’s the big reason why you are traveling?
Every time I see something or go somewhere, it gives me a drive to do even more. I see stories on the internet and I think, ‘that looks fun, I want to try.’ Mostly I want to enjoy life and make memories. I don’t want to look back in many years and regret not doing enough.
Can you tell us about your bicycle trip?
We cycled 1,600km in 25 days, so the average was only mid 60s, but some days we didn’t cycle at all and some days we were struggling up gravel tracks through mountains. We were relaxing a lot, so we weren’t in a big hurry. This also made the journey cheaper because I had about £200 for the whole trip, including buying the bike.
In all the trips you’ve done, what has been your favorite so far? and why?
I have three. Walking across Iceland with my brother was a special journey for the physical challenge and for sharing it with my brother. Cycling to Slovakia then rafting the Danube on a homemade raft was special because it showed how much we could do, despite having no experience or money. Hitchhiking Europe alone was special because it helped me see that I could do a lot, even when I wasn’t overly confident.
What’s your favorite gastronomy/food cuisine that you had in your travels?
Çiğ köfte from Turkey. It translates as raw meatballs, but there is no meat in it nowadays which suits me just perfect as a vegetarian. And I love Mediterranean cuisine. Greek food, yum.
Has there been any challenging and bad moments?
All the time. I have been scared for my safety and for the safety of others. I have ran out of money (completely) on multiple occasions and sometimes I have been very unhappy. Despite this, the highs way outweigh the lows, thus I keep doing what I do.
What has been you favorite destination on all the trips you’ve done?
A dirty (cold) cow pond in rural Lithuania while the rain was pounding down. It was one of those moments where I let go of everything, ignored the cold, and felt like I was king of the world. The water was so black I couldn’t even see my hands when I was swimming.
What’s the worst place that you have stayed in for sleeping? What’s the best?
Getting arrested for sleeping in Amsterdam was a real pain, but when we were rafting down the Danube I lost my sleeping bag and had to sleep in a flooded tent. Being freezing cold and wet all night without a sleeping bag was hell.
Are you planning for a new trip or do you already have a new trip in mind?
About a hundred. It’s finding the time and the money for plane tickets that I find the biggest challenge.
Its easy to find love while you are traveling?
I never go looking for it, but yes, when you are having so many life changing experiences and meeting so many people, you fall into relationships very quickly and easily. This one has lasted nearly four years.
How do you finance your trips?
I work when I have the chance and I spend very little. Spending very little is the key for me.
Do you have any recommendations which blogger/traveller should I interview next?
Try Derek from No Hanging Around. He lost his parents to cancer, then cycled from South Africa to Ireland.
How many books did you sell so far?
I actually don’t know due to Amazon not offering totals – they only offer monthly reports. I once heard that 90% of self published authors never sell 100 books. While I comfortably beat soon after publishing, I am light years away from being able to support myself from my writing. If I sell more than one book each day, I have to think of it as a good day (unfortunately). I did once do a free promotion for my book and managed to ‘sell’ 1,200 books in two days… if only they weren’t free!
Amazing story Jamie, thanks for your time!
Jamie´s story is amazing, how easy can it be to travel around the world? 🙂 You just need a passport and very little money. You can always go for adventure hitchhiking, traveling by bicycle or even walking in Iceland. He showed us many ways to travel without money around the world. Jamie wrote his stories in two books: The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World and Across the Moon.
If you want to read more stories traveling without money, check out my bicycle trip from Spain to Norway. Or Tomislav Perko, another fellow hitchhiker and author, who traveled around the world in a $10 daily budget, for 5 years. Also, we have the story of Jeremy Marie, who was hitchhiking around the world 5 years in a low budget.
Until the next great traveler story dear friends and dreamers! x