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Hitchhiking all the way to South Africa


The Chronicles of Me and My Magic Thumb - Andrew Grady from Kensal Rise is hitchhiking all the way to South Africa for the World Cup.
 
Having hitched countless times far and wide within our fair island shores, as well as extending the thumb on many a foreign soil ... I can safely say I am the closest I know to a hitching expert. The experiences, people, situations, opportunities, education, stories and ultimately the journey all bonded together at the mercy of a person's generosity of spirit .... to give a complete stranger a lift and help him on his way.
 
There's a unique notion to this form of travel, bearing in mind the variables that take play whilst hitching. When being picked up by an unfamiliar human, it's fair to assume that this person is of a trusting, giving nature, devoid of general cynicism and more likely kind-hearted, fond of chat and a little quirky ... or they just want to whinge their head off. Either way, it's a fact that all have a story to tell. Given it's just two strangers with no pre-judgement, sitting in a car in the middle of nowhere, lends itself as a great platform for openness. At first you'd be exchanging pleasantries to get a gauge on the character sitting beside you ... "where you going?" etc. Followed nine times out of ten by finding yourself sitting comfy and settled, engaged in another life story ... and on many occasions being invited home to meet the family. The diversity within people's lives in Britain is astounding, never mind Africa ... and each lift is a completely different experience. Then there's the random factor which is a separate stream in itself.
 
The vision I have for "The Chronicles of Me and My Magic Thumb" is to use hitching as a vehicle to uniquely display the varying delights of humanity, yet ultimately draw upon how similar we all are, despite our cultural differences. I could not dream of a better backdrop than a journey from my front door in West London all the way down to South Africa to get there in time for the World Cup ... the biggest human jamboree this planet has to offer. I have some amazing stories involving my own experiences with Africa that I can draw upon and stop off at en route but the most exciting part in anticipation of this genuine adventure is in the sheer random factor ... the not knowing what is coming your way. After experiencing this so much in our own humble land, I can't even begin to imagine what interesting avenues I'll be led down in Africa.
 
After the journey is done, the overall story I'm sure will be bursting into life as the recollections and entirety of the experience begin to sink in ... and all of this will be captured on film with a view of displaying humanity in a warm, gorgeous, eclectic, diverse, interesting light and, if England win the World Cup, I think it's safe to say we'll have the greatest ending to a film in recent history.
 
Obviously Africa is not the most stable of places ... hence, after long discussions with African documentary fixers and peeps familiar with Africa's ways on the whole, the safest, most practical route has been deduced. Given camera crews aren't welcomed at most borders, the only option is to do it renegade style ... myself and a camera man, using two Nikon D90 cameras which can be passed off as tourist cameras, yet possess cinematic HD quality, as well as a few handheld cameras which pass as phones. We've contacted the embassies involved en route and are in correspondence with a few regarding a whole host of possibilities. The route goes through:
 
England
France
Spain
Morocco
Western Sahara
Mauritania
Mali
Niger
Nigeria
Cameroon
Equatorial Guinea
Gabon
Congo
Angola
Namibia
South Africa


The route keeps us mainly on the west side of Africa, with Angola and the Congo probably having to be bypassed ... which would be overcome by catching/hitching a ride on a cargo boat down the west coast from Pointe-Noire/Gabon to Walvis Bay/Namibia. We left London on the 28th April, looking to arrive in Rustenburg/South Africa on 11th June for England's first game, passing through, at the mercy of the Gods, the countries listed above.

Follow him on his blog http://www.mymagicthumb.com/blog/
 
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