Paul Smith, the Twitchhiker, talks about his travels and future plans (Paul Smith)
Interview Words : Daisy Cropper | 10 December

Twitchhiker: How one Man Travelled the World by Twitter

Paul Smith, the author of Twitchhiker, talked to Wanderlust live on Twitter about his journey and what's next...

Bored in the supermarket one day, Paul Smith wondered how far he could get in 30 days through the goodwill of users of social networking site Twitter. Paul set his sites on reaching Campbell Island near New Zealand.

He tells us (live on Twitter, of course) about travelling and technology, his guilty travel pleasures and his journey... including the 'hairy' bits.

Remember... Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, hence the short questions and replys.

Wanderlustmag: We'll start with you're travel CV: What's your favourite: Mountain/Ocean/Jungle/Desert and why?

Twitchhiker: City! Spent plenty of time growing up in the country and adore the outdoors, but love the nooks and crannies of a metropolis.

Wanderlustmag: Great answer! What was your first great travel experience?

Twitchhiker: Egypt when I was 19, after years of family holidays to the Costa Brava. Cruised the Nile on the former royal yacht. Glorious.

Wanderlustmag: …What has been your favourite journey?

Twitchhiker: In hindsight, the Twitchhiker project - particularly driving a camper van through New Zealand. It's an astonishing place.

Wanderlustmag: In hindsight... Was it not enjoyable whilst you were travelling? Which are your top five places in the world?

Twitchhiker: It was very tiring at the time, on the road nearly every day. After the first 8 or 9 days I settled into it and had fun!

I'm not hugely well travelled, although I hope that will change in time? So... NYC, Barcelona, Sorrento, NZ and Petaluma!

Wanderlustmag: I can imagine it would be stressful too?

Twitchhiker: It was stressful - medical issues, trying to work throughout - but it worked out!

Wanderlustmag: Yes it did work out and brilliantly... How do you feel about the success of your book? What's next for you?

Twitchhiker: Very happy about how the book's been received. It was never the plan, the publisher heard about me 6 months later on Twitter!

I need to take time out from travelling, work on sample chapters for my next book. Want to visit HK/Tokyo next on my travels.

Wanderlustmag: Were there any times whilst travelling you almost broke the rules? Did you sometimes receive no reply to your tweets?

Twitchhiker: There were dead zones around Pittsburgh and Kansas City, where nobody replied! But no, no rules broken ;)

Wanderlustmag: Were you surprised how many people around the world use twitter? Were you surprised by some people's generosity? 

Twitchhiker: The generosity was humbling. You hope the world is a decent place, it's reassuring to discover it is.

Wanderlustmag: Were there any bad experiences along the way?

Twitchhiker: A few hair-raising moments; while researching the book I found a blogger who'd put a bounty on my head. Nobody took him up!

Wanderlustmag: As an attempt to make you fail?

Twitchhiker: As an attempt to see me dead... He should have offered more than $500 if he wanted it done :)

Wanderlustmag: You're right.... It's lucky no-one took up his offer!! I seem to have strayed from the travel CV questions haven't I....

Wanderlustmag: Which passport stamp are you proudest of?

Twitchhiker: I don't have any outlandish stamps, as I said I'm not hugely well travelled... Yet.

I spend a lot of time in NYC, a couple of months a year. Fast and friendly city, proud to know it and some of the people well.

Wanderlustmag: Which passport stamp would you most like to have?

Twitchhiker: Aha! I mentioned HK/China earlier. I'd like to see Brazil at some time too, and India, too.

Wanderlustmag: Where/what is your guilty travel pleasure? I see you're working on an iPad - your favourite travel accessory?

Twitchhiker: Definitely the iPhone or iPad. Twitter and Google Maps FTW! Recommendations from twerps, and I always know where to go.

Twitchhiker: Tweeps! I meant tweeps! Damn the auto-correct!

Twitchhiker: Have to go now, my train has arrived. Bon voyage!

Wanderlustmag: Argh!! No we wanted to ask more questions!! Have a good trip and good luck with the new book! Thanks!