For this installment of our “Love of Travel” series, we are chatting with Danielle about her blog Like Riding a Bicycle and her hitchhiking travels around the world. Her tagline is a quote from Einstein about the fact that in life, you must keep moving to keep your balance. We can relate to her about the idea of staying moving and keeping balance in life, which is so important to us as well. So check out the story and be sure to follow along on Danielle’s amazing adventures around the globe!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Like Riding a Bicycle came to be.
I’d gone on a couple of short three month backpacking trips, and quickly fell in love with travel after my first solo trip to Peru. I started the website, quite honestly, just so that friends and family back home could keep track of my travels without my having to send out a billion emails, but it has of course evolved a lot since then.
When I returned from these first two trips, my entire life was about making money to get back on the road. The only thing that mattered was to be able to travel more. Finally, three years after my first trip, I could take it no more; I decided I would hit the road permanently. With $6,000 of debt and not a clue how to earn money while travelling, I packed my bag, and hit the road. That was three and a half years ago, and I’ve been looping the world ever since.
Describe your travel style to us, and what you love about it most?
My travel style is a bit odd. Sometimes I like to stay in places for a month or two, but usually I’m dashing from place to place. My favourite way to travel is to hitchhike, as it’s so much different from merely going from point A to point B. I get to be inspired by new people, discover hidden gems that you’d never find without the help of locals, and sometimes I even get close new friends all because of hitchhiking. The feeling of standing on a road with my thumb out, wondering who my next ride will be, and where I will end up camping that night is an unparalleled excitement for me.
What inspired your love of travel? Was it an experience, a place, a time in your life, a person?
My very first trip was to Peru seven long years ago. I was supposed to go with my long term boyfriend at the time, but – surprise! – we broke up a week before the trip was planned. Having never backpacked, least not travelled solo, I was freaked out as hell, but decided I would go to Peru alone anyway. It changed my entire life. It was the people – the Peruvians and the other travelers – the vastly different scenery than I’d ever seen before, and the sense of community amongst backpackers. It was everything.
Was there a place during your travels that surprised you in a good (or bad) way? How?
Easily Iceland. While I’d always thought it would be a cool place to visit, I didn’t really realise how very much I was going to fall in love with it. I simply went there as you could do a one week layover for free when travelling from North America to Europe on Iceland Air. It was a no brainer – I would hitchhike Iceland. From the insane kindness of the people, to the crazy scenery that just keeps on changing at every moment, I fell in love. Plus, anywhere that allows legal wild camping and is easy to hitchhike is an awesome place in my books.
What has been your most memorable moment during your travels, and why?
My most memorable moment was on my first trip to Peru. I was on a bus driving through the Amazon, fast asleep, when the bus stopped at around 3 am. I woke up to see a man in the front of the bus pointing a big black gun at us all, yelling in Spanish. Knowing no Spanish, I followed suit when the rest of the bus put their hands in the air. Slowly, the men were marched off the bus, leaving me to wonder: what are they about to do with the men? What are they about to do with the women? What are they about to do with the only foreigner on this bus – me?
In the end, thankfully, no one was harmed, just robbed blind. Six men with masks and guns had stopped the bus in total, some robbing the men off the bus, while a couple boarded the bus to rob us. I tell you, I had a cigarette on that bus once it started moving again as I was so anxious and freaked out – the one time in my life I’ll be able to have a smoke on a bus without a single person caring!
Through your travels, what you have you learned about yourself (and about the world)?
As I’m a solo traveler, I’ve actually – ironically – learned that long term solo travel can be really difficult. On a short term basis it’s great as you meet people travelling your direction and can go with them, but rarely do you meet another nomad. And when you do, they have their own wacky plans.
In terms of the world, I’ve learned that it’s filled with more good than evil, and of course I’ve learned this from hitchhiking. While most think it’s a terrifying game to hop in a stranger’s car, most people I hitch a ride with go above and beyond to help me out. They’re amazing people, and the easier it is to hitch a country, I find the friendlier the people tend to be.
What is your most anticipated, upcoming adventure / destination?
That’s a hard one for me! As I am always on the road, I never really know where I’ll wind up next. I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait and see where my next adventure leads me, as I won’t know until I get there!
Danielle is a crazy nomad, wandering through life in a seemingly confident way, while usually totally unsure of her next step. She’s been on the road for over three years straight, finding new homes as she hitchhikes along. She once hitched 6,000 kilometers in six days. Her biggest dream is to one day cuddle a platypus (seriously). Follow along by visiting her website Like Riding a Bicycle.