Featured Image: dailymail.co.uk
Back in June 2015, 29 year old Petrina Thong flew to Stockholm from Kuala Lumpur with only RM800 to see how far she could go and she arrives back in July 2016, after travelling through 22 countries.
According to Daily Mail, she hitchhiked from Stockholm to KL over the course of 13 months and in that period, she managed to visit 22 countries in all in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Ms Thong who is a freelance scriptwriter describes the adventures as a ‘self challenge’ because she had never been hitchhiking before.
‘When I flew to Stockholm last year I went with the intention of experiencing hitchhiking, simply because I couldn’t imagine doing it,’ she told Daily Mail.
‘I figured I might as well try it out, thinking I would travel about three to six months, depending on how long I can survive with a budget of RM800.’
Her RM800 ran out after three months but she got to see some incredible sights and meet people, all without spending any money.
‘For food, I’d be digging out food from the trash, hanging around eateries and pouncing on people’s leftovers, asking markets for fruits that can’t be sold anymore.
‘Once evening came, I’d look for places to camp or get invited home by randoms.’
And at times she met amazing, kind people who were more than willing to help her.
One of the most frightening moment during her journey was when crossing the border from Iran to Pakistan.
‘Due to cases of travellers getting kidnapped, I wasn’t allowed to travel by myself,’ Ms Thong explained. ‘From the Iranian border, I got into a police car, trailed by 2 more gunmen on a bike.’
‘We got to the first check point, then I got chucked onto a police truck. Went to another check point. Waited for ages, then got handed over to an Army guy and he hitchhiked with me to get to another check point. From there, I got onto three more Army trucks.’
Her favourite moment was when she found the elusive Rainbow Gathering which is a counterculture gathering in the mountains of Lithuania.
Rainbow Gatherings are communities of people who congregate annually in remote forests around the world for one or more weeks at a time to enact a supposedly shared ideology of peace, harmony, freedom, and respect.
‘Money has no value, food is equally shared amongst all, everyone is family,’ MS Thong said. ‘There is no hierarchy, no alcohol or drugs allowed, so one can only be high on life. It’s very back to basics.’
‘I found myself falling in love with this bizarre community. With no contact to the outside world, all one has is reconnecting with nature and building relationships with once strangers as you’re huddled around a shared fire trying to keep warm or rejoicing at the sight of sunshine after days of endless rain.’
Sometimes Ms Thong would search for secluded places, like of Blagaj in Bosnia and decide to track down the location for a short visit
Here’s how Petrina’s route look like from Sweden to Malaysia
Sweden – Denmark – Germany – Poland – Lithuania – Latvia – Lithuania – Poland – Slovakia – Hungary – Croatia – Slovenia – Italy – Slovenia – Croatia – Bosnia – Montenegro – Albania – Kosovo – Macedonia – Bulgaria – Turkey – Denmark – Netherlands – Belgium – Denmark* – Turkey – Iran – Pakistan – India – Thailand – Malaysia
According to Daily Mail , Petrina travelled back to Denmark because her friend gifted her with flights to Copenhagen so that they could meet again. She then returned to Turkey and resumed her journey.
A lot of people questioned why she was travelling alone when she is in Middle East and Asia. Petrina said ‘In Asia, it’s not common for people to solo travel, especially women.’ And she recommends other single woman to do so
‘I expected it to be an insanely difficult journey, but in retrospect, it doesn’t seem all that bad,’ she said. ‘Of course I had many moments of wondering what the hell I’m doing and questioning why I am putting myself through such ordeals, but I have comforting new outlook on the world.’
‘My greatest lesson is that the world or the unknown isn’t as scary as you make it out to be. People everywhere are unbelievably kind and willing to help. Now I know that even if I’m lost in a country where I can’t speak the language and I have no money, I will still be alright.’
Source: Daily Mail