Bonk & Co’s intrepid traveller Hollie Chambers has just returned from her charity hitchhike to Morocco, in support of Link Community Development.
Flying the Bonk & Co flag!
As she takes a well-earned rest, we decided to catch up with Hollie at home to get the lowdown on her adventure and to find out what lies ahead. First of all, we felt it was only right to work out – once and for all – what made a bright, young student throw caution to the wind and put her faith in the motorists of Europe.
Said Hollie: “When I first heard about the Hitch I thought it was a great idea to actually do something to raise money for Link Community Development. The thought of hitch hiking and meeting people is what made me want to be involved and the fact that I could raise money and help children in Africa at the same time sounded great.”
Hollie’s travelling companions on the road were two friends from Newcastle University, Ed Hiscocks and Harry Wyatt, and she said it was amazing to share the experience with them.
Though excited about the trip, Hollie said she was also very nervous as she had no idea what to expect when the hitchhike got underway. She also admitted she had not really anticipated how hard life on the road might be.
“All told, we were pretty lucky and didn't have to wait too long at all between lifts. At first I felt a bit nervous but equally excited and after the first few people picked us up I realised it was okay and from then it was all excitement as to where we would end up next!”
“We did come across a few memorable drivers along the way but the majority were extremely nice, talkative and very interested in what we were doing. One driver picked us up in the morning in France and we got along with him so well that he took us to his little village and we had a couple of drinks with him and then he let the three of us camped in the camp site nearby.”
European travel-lust being what it is, a lot of the drivers who stopped to pick up the three pals had been hitchhikers in the past, while many more admitted they have always wanted to try it or to pick up hitchers to see what it was like!
Hollie added: “The drivers were so nice and kind to stop in the first place! We had a whiteboard that we wrote on where we wanted to go and people would stop and say that they weren't going all the way there but they were heading towards it so could take us quite far which was nice. They were so helpful!”
Wearing her Bonk & Co
t-shirt, which we gave to her before she left, Hollie also got a lot of questions about us and our sponsorship of her adventure. And she said she was more than happy to spread the word about her former employers en route – so we have gone continental here at Bonk!
Thankfully the team encountered no major issues on the road and only came up against problems when they arrived in a place with no campsites, which tested their adaptability to the max! Sometimes hunger also raised its head when they didn’t pass a supermarket on the road but they battled on regardless and were never stuck for long.
Recalling the places that had made the biggest impact on her, Hollie added: “The most memorable place we came across en route, which I have been recommending to everyone since I came home, was Arcachon in France.
“It was a gorgeous place on the coast near Bordeaux with a nice beach and campsite. We ended up there because of the lovely driver with who we got along really well, so that was the most memorable place. We were only planning on staying for a few hours but liked it so much that we stayed for two days.”
Blasting preconceptions out of the water were our own indigenous drivers in the UK, where the team encountered a lot of support and friendliness.
Hollie went on: “The friendliest people we met on the road were actually in England but, generally, everyone was friendly. We were surprised about England, though, as we thought it would be extremely difficult to get a lift.
“Once back at home I really appreciated my own bed and the shower! Camping and having to shower in service stations wasn't the most comfortable thing I have ever had to do! I'm considering taking part in another travel experience called RAG (Raise and Give) which is basically where you have 24 hours to get as far as possible without spending any money. It is probably going to be a lot harder but I think I will enjoy the challenge!”
Hollie is now going into second year at Newcastle University and plans to finish her degree before taking a year out to go travelling.
She added: “Who knows what the future will bring – I may even end up staying somewhere abroad and working there!”
Adventure girl, Hollie