Book 04: The Long Hitch Home, “a book with a map”

This is a book with a map, and what a map! Jamie Maslin recounts in it his adventures hitchhiking from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where he lives now, to London, England, his hometown. You could slightly change the expression “go big or go home” to “go big and go home” to give it an entirely different meaning for this case: “go big” is the way, “go home” is the destination. What I’m trying to say is that once he stepped on this adventure, there was not really another option than to complete it. And I am sure glad that he did, and put it all in writing!

Eighteen thousand miles. Eight hundred rides. Nineteen countries. Three continents. One end of the globe to the other. Could you quit your job for the adventure of a lifetime?

The Long Hitch Home, Jamie Maslin

I got this book recommendation from a dear friend that lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has met Jamie in person while visiting Tasmania. From what she told me, and from what I saw from other commentaries in the page for his book on Goodreads, he seems to be an awfully friendly and open chap, and a usual presence at the Salamanca Market in Hobart. You also get the impression by reading the book that you would enjoy chatting with him over a few beers.

Sailing 630 miles from Hobart to Sydney.
Jamie Maslin, sailing 630 miles from Hobart to Sydney.

The first feeling when I began reading this book was a pleasant reminiscence of the places that I visited myself about a decade ago when traveling through Australia: Hobart, Mount Wellington, Sandy Beach, Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, etc. That was only the first stretch of the journey, but it was a good starting point in my opinion.

Out of a scary movie

There were many scary moments, like when he was chased by a pack of wild dogs, or when he was approached by supposed spies or when he was so close to an active, erupting, volcano. But to be honest, what scared me the most every time was the simple act of jumping on the car of a complete stranger, in the middle of nowhere, nobody standing witness of that. I have done that myself when I was 18 years old, without a cent in my pockets, and needed to go from my university back to my parents’ home on weekends. At that time there was no cell phone, no internet, and if ever there was a security camera, it surely had a very poor recording resolution, so I can relate to that. But it was also good to see that most of the time people were generous and treated him with kindness.

People usually pointed this risk to him, and they mentioned this movie a couple of times: Wolf Creek. I went and watched it. Well, I don’t think I would be brave enough to go hitchhiking now. The movie tells the story of 3 young backpackers that get stranded in the middle of the Australian Outback. They meet a guy that offers them help, which they accept, but it was better if they didn’t. Watch it if you are into True Crime or Horror.

Cambodia and Timor-Leste

While the book falls more in the genre of travel log, it offers social critic on most of the places that he visited. On that aspect he reminds me a little of George Orwell. Many of the facts that he mentions have not been widely broadcasted by the traditional media. So, he made sure to include his research on the subject, provide reliable references and give links to documentaries on the internet. It’s not my intention to reproduce all the material here. But if you are interested, besides reading the book, below are a couple of the links that he mentions. It has a wealth of information about some ugly chapters from history. Both documentaries are by John Pilger.

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia

The Timor Conspiracy

Spoiler alert: Jamie gets home safe and sound in the end. If you want to take a look at the pictures from the trip, you can follow the link below.

The Long Hitch Home album on Flickr.


One response to “Book 04: The Long Hitch Home, “a book with a map””

  1. Graziela Avatar

    Loved it!