Recently, CRRI’s current placement student Jonnie Felton (@Feltone7) took some time away from CCRI to participate in a charity hitchhike from Sheffield to Bucharest. Here is Jonnie’s account of his experience…
At a distance of approximately 2,225 km as the crow flies, hitchhiking from Sheffield to Bucharest was a journey of epic proportions. It took my teammate and I one cruise liner, two free trains, 18 hitches, and a marathon or three’s worth of walking to reach our final destination. We passed through some of Europe’s grandest cities and most dramatic landscapes, all whilst enjoying the company of some delightful folk who shared – albeit briefly – a moment of their lives with us: a priceless experience to say the least.
The stage was set: get to Bucharest in eight days without spending a penny on travel (aside from said cruise liner which was booked in advance). There would be difficult times ahead in deserted petrol stations and hour upon hour spent traipsing round various city limits. On reflection, decision-making and perseverance were key to success. Throughout the trip, we were constantly questioning ourselves: are we standing in the right place; do people have enough time to pull over; are our cardboard signs legible? In reality though, something always cropped up in the end and we made it to Bucharest with a day to spare.
There were some truly special moments (careering through Bavaria against the backdrop of the Austrian Alps and Lake Chiemsee) interspersed by moments of desperation (getting lost in a less-than-pleasant neighbourhood in Bratislava). I enjoyed my fair share of ham and cheese sandwiches and Radler beer – a gold medallist in continental nourishment – and had a particularly eye-opening Couchsurfing experience that has aided my dissertation preparation no-end.
Ultimately though, I met some memorable characters with warm hearts and engaging stories to tell. The trip was testament to human kindness and generosity; ‘hitch’-less, you could say.
Jonnie has currently raised over £300 for the various charities, and there is still time to add to this via his Virgin Money Giving page.