- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Summersdale; 1 edition (2 Aug. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849530742
- ISBN-13: 978-1849530743
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter Paperback – 2 Aug 2010
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Featured on(Excess Baggage BBC Radio 4)
Featured in(Thomas Cook Travel)
'He made it from London to New Zealand. Yet more amazing, he sounds like a decent, modest witty guy.'(The Times)
'Genuinely funny... easy-to-read and hard-to-put-down... it's unremitting and utterly addictive.'(Real Travel)
'Smith flies, sails, rides and begs his way across the globe.'(Wanderlust)
'I really enjoyed the book and have been spreading the word. Amazing.'(Iain Morris, TV Producer (creator, The Inbetweeners))
'A madcap and frankly inadvisable adventure... hugely enjoyable, very funny.'(Martin Kelner, columnist for The Guardian)
'Smith is one of our true British eccentrics and should be saluted. He is fearless and possibly quite mad.'(Alex Lester BBC Radio 2)
About the Author
Paul Smith (@twitchhiker) is a former Sony award-winning radio producer based in Newcastle. He currently has 11,000 followers on Twitter and blogs about travel at http://www.twitchhiker.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The aim is singular: Paul Smith is to travel from Newcastle in the UK to Campbell Island near New Zealand. Yet the method is beautifully incomplete: By his own rules, he must advance his journey exclusively through travel and accommodation offers from people on Twitter. He's not allowed to plan more than three days in advance, and his own money may be spent on food and drink only. If he receives just one offer for the next stage of his trip, he's obliged to take it. If there's more than one, he can choose.
There is a point in the book where Smith compares his story to a Choose Your Own Adventure tale, where the reader controls the outcome by making choices at key stages in the book ("If you want Jim to get on the train and follow the man with the suspicious-looking hat, go to page 13"). I remember lapping up these novels as a teenager, and at a basic level this "crowd-sourcing of the plot" idea might explain the child-like fascination and blind trust displayed by the random strangers who helped shape his unpredictable journey through public "@replies" on Twitter.
Luckily the parallel with these novels stops there. Unlike those relics of teenage nostalgia, Smith's book has the feel of a rounded, well-crafted novel and it proceeds at a satisfying pace that makes it hard to put down.
You don't need to be a social media enthusiast to enjoy it.Read more ›
Filled with humour, this is the extraordinary tale of Paul Smith, aka Twitchhiker, attempting to travel from Newcastle to the opposite point on the earth, Campbell Island, some way of the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island, using only offers of transport and hospitality from members of Twitter. It's a bit like Tony Hawks' trip around Ireland, only on a bigger scale and without the fridge (see Round Ireland with a Fridge). It is quite simply, a brilliant idea; eccentric, adventurous, and exploiting social networking for assistance. The journey is, unsurprisingly, filled with many surprises, interesting characters, detours, parties and of course, difficulties; these range from funny situations regarding clean clothes and the like, to more serious ones, as the author recounts with openness how he misses his family and how his bipolar disorder affects him.
The many people across the world who help Smith are a testament to human good nature, generosity of time a spirit and a desire to be part of something quite mad. There are rich business people, large companies, poor couples and families, journalists, old people, young people, experienced travellers, all sorts really, and they're all willing to help. From offers of a sofa for the night, to paying for a long flight, or driving Smith for many hours, these are people who are warm-spirited with a sense of curiosity and adventure.Read more ›
Unfortunately Paul Smith is neither funny enough nor crazy enough to do his round-the-world trip proper justice. The best lines in the book are either tweets from other people, or lines he's borrowed from Douglas Adams and Robert Rankin (something he acknowledges at the end of the story).
Crucially, you don't feel a lot of sympathy for him. There's no real sense of danger or edginess- if the 'challenge' fails, Paul Smith gets on the next economy flight home and that's that. He plays very safe and it's not very spectacular. During the actual adventure, there were complaints on Twitter that Paul Smith was basically getting a free holiday from other people's charity. Smith acknowledges the criticism but never properly answers it, and so his bemoaning of how hungover he was while he had to travel so many thousands of (free) miles begins to grate after a while.
You don't really learn a lot either. For example in Dave Gorman's "Are You Dave Gorman?" or in Danny Wallace's "Yes Man" you end up thinking a lot about the kindness of strangers, the awkward moments, and so on. In "Twitchhiker", some people are donating hundreds of pounds' worth of free travel or accommodation to the cause, but only getting their name and nothing else in the book. You're left really wondering- "why did they do this? who are they? can you tell us more about them? can't you at least speak to them, get their side of the story?" Sadly no.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is probably something to do with my age . I enjoy reading travel books , finding out a bit about the author and the way they tick , About their interactions with the people they... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Brad bee
Two things I look for in a travel book, an interesting story and a funny recount of it. this book has it in abundancePublished on 5 Oct. 2014 by Luke capon
I'll keep this quick and simple. Enjoyable adventure and an original concept. Travel the world by twitter.I Like Pauls writing style and the story never stands still. Read morePublished on 1 April 2013 by Keith Larkworthy
What a clever idea! Not a Twitter user, but nevertheless enjoyed the concept and the journey. Really wanted him to gain his objective.Published on 1 Jan. 2013 by mrs m cryer
This was a great read. Its about travelling from Newcastle to an Island near New Zealand.He has set up some conditions and rules by which he can travel. Read morePublished on 27 Sept. 2012 by Stephen Luff
One of the best books I've read in a long time - reads a lot like early Bill Bryson. Paul is a phenomenal writer with an incredible story. Read morePublished on 9 July 2012 by John
I have just finished Twitchhiker, and I haven't laughed out loud so much while reading a book since reading Bill Bryson's books about America. Read morePublished on 29 April 2012 by Michelle
If anything this book will definitely advise you to avoid Tescos in Gateshead, which I can attest to, having lived here almost all my life, the book is a wonderful journey where... Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2012 by Wildheart Baby
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