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March 25, 2009

A Twitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy

ALL OVER THE PLACE – Paul Smith has just travelled the length of New Zealand’s South Island with a man he’s never met. 25 days ago he left his home in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North East of England with a simple mission: travel as far as he can in 30 days relying only on the generosity of fellow twitterers for his travel and accommodation. Thanks to the folks at o2 Litmus, Paul has been recording his whole journey on a Nokia N95, posting stories, pics and tweets to his blog and Twitter.

Paul describes his self imposed rules on his blog, but they don’t seem to have hindered him. Despite being only able to accept offers of travel and accommodation within 48 hours of receiving them, meaning he’s never stayed long in the same place, but neither has he had much notice on where he’d be going next, he’s actually managed to cover some pretty impressive ground.

His first helper offered him a ticket on a boat from Newcastle to Amsterdam. His second offer took the form of a lift from a university lecturer from Newcastle Central Station (the start point) to the port. After arriving in Amsterdam Paul moved quickly to Paris and despite a slow start managed to go from there to Frankfurt in Germany via a stopover in Saarbruck before boarding a flight to the USA, paid for with another Twitterer’s airmiles. Genius.

The story is fascinating as it unfolded over the last three weeks. Catch up on the whole lot on Paul’s blog. We’ll be watching the final stint to see what happens. It’s a pretty amazing achivement so far.

But why? Well, Paul is a journalist so the story itself is worth doing (anyone remember Round Ireland with a Fridge – great book, if you haven’t read it). But there’s a bigger cause. Paul is actually raising money for the charity Water. If you’d like to donate, you can do it on Paul’s JustGiving page.