There were five rules of Twitchhiker: o I can only accept offers of travel and accommodation from people on Twitter. o I can't make any travel plans further than three days in advance. o I can only spend money on food, drink and anything that might fit in my suitcase. o If there is more than one offer, I choose which I take. If there is only one, I have to take it within 48 hours. o If I am unable to find a way to move on from a location within 48 hours, the challenge is over and I go home. Bored in the bread aisle of the supermarket one day, Paul Smith wondered how far he could get around the world in 30 days through the goodwill of users of social networking site Twitter. At the mercy of these rules, he set his sights on New Zealand - the opposite point on the planet to his home in Newcastle. All he had to do next was explain the idea to his new wife. In an adventure wrapped in nonsense and cocooned in daft, he travelled by road, boat, plane and train, slept in five-star luxury and on no-star floors, shmoozed with Hollywood A-listers and was humbled by the generosity of the thousands who followed his journey and determined its course. @twitchhiker I can send you to Wichita by Greyhound if that's any good… Sent 10:13 AM Mar 12th I was more or less in the exact geographical centre of a different continent, and a nameless woman some 4,000 miles east in Dublin was buying me a bus ticket...
Before he was a writer, blogger and author, Paul Smith was an award-winning radio producer and manager, a trainee rocket scientist and almost, but not quite, inventor of the portable toaster.
His writing career began at the age of 14, with a monthly astronomy column for his local newspaper. It was so successful that the editor entirely failed to inform him when it was dropped for a feature about second-hand white goods.
In March 2009, he had an idea to test whether relationships formed through social media networks had value in the real world, and embarked upon the Twitchhiker project - an attempt to travel to the opposite side of the planet within 30 days, relying entirely on the goodwill and generosity of people using Twitter.