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Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter Paperback – 2 Aug 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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: 261,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you've ever found yourself cooking up a great plan or adventure whilst taking your morning shower, only to find after weeks or months of procrastination that someone else has executed your grand idea, then you must read this book. Why? Because here is a man who had the guts to follow through.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 encounter on the journey , their descriptions of the places they travel to and their reactions to these places . I don't do social media and I thought this would be an enjoyable change , to have one's journey dictated by others . I was seduced into thinking this was a good example of travel writing by the many positive reviews .
It is true that I was to learn something about the author . Let me just say his haphazard approach to life did and general angst not inspire me .
The journey , as far as I got , was not the most well observed and experiential . Amsterdam just enough time to change transport . Paris for 2-3 days , what could have been but wasn't because he had to spend all his time work , twitter , blog ...... At this stage I was beginning to think WHY !! Let's face it , if you are going to go on a world journey , why are you not enjoying the world you are going to see ?
The train journey to Saarbrucken just about finished me off . '....rural France came into view , a patchwork quilt of farmed land with a handful of towns scattered here and there . ' Real riveting description eh what !!
So he got to The States and then should he / shouldn't he just keep on flying ?
Enough is enough . It might have been more interesting if I'd actually found the humour reviewers had promised me .
Maybe its something to do with my age . I remember telegrams . ' GOT TO PG 104 .STOP.
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Format: Paperback
Thoroughly enjoyable. A really brilliant, unique idea which like all good ideas is fantastically simple. Could it ever work? The fact that it did tells you more about the true spirit of human nature than the technology behind it all. The book really takes you alongside Paul through every moment and emotion of the adventure. It gets tough going in the middle when you just feel that despite his good intentions, he's just hating it. But then a moment arrives when the clouds clear and he really starts loving it. A great account of what really must have been a fantastic adventure. The fact that no one with a twitter account has done anything even remotely unique since pretty much sums up the idea, and Paul.
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Format: Paperback
This book is addictive. As I turned the pages I felt I was by Paul Smith's side on his amazing journey. Each page seemed to make me smile (and indeed often laugh out loud!!) with his honest and brilliant style. A real 'feel good' book, laced with the anticipation of 'Will anyone respond?...How will he get to America?...Will he get a bed for the night?..Could he be kidnapped and never heard of again???..this book makes you realise that there really are fantastic, kind, generous, people out there, beyond your own back yard. This book will make you want to pack your bag, explore new places, meet new people, taste new foods and indeed have afew cheeky bevvies on the way. I dare you not to enjoy this book!!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is highly rewarding on a number of levels; first, it's an eccentric and humorous read, second, it's testimony to the positive aspects of human nature and generosity, and thirdly, the journey it recounts raised a lot of money for a very worthy charity.

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.
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