Up on the roof of the house in Bogota you can almost always see an electrical storm a way off. We gaze in fascination, gasping and swearing each time the mountains are back-lit, never tiring of that far-off event. The cumulonimbus clouds hover above the landscape like an armada of giant cerebral cortices. In a flash, something over there has been pointed out. Maybe that’s where we’ll go.
Fat little caterpillars. We’ve been gorging ourselves. We thought we had itchy feet in London. And yet, here we find ourselves, holed up in a city afar, hopping from foot to foot. Though our bank balance is diminishing quickly we find our desire to travel expanding, our ideas of how to do so proliferating.
Emma already has bags of experience hitchhiking, in Eastern Europe and in Central America, and I’ve been lucky enough to bag three or four rides since we started travelling. Like any other novice I have my reservations and anxieties about hitchhiking, but they are overpowered by my desire to get on with it.
As well as hitchhiking, we plan to volunteer on farms and at local community projects. This provides us with an elegant solution to having very little money and wanting to take part in and contribute to the spaces and places that we will pass through. And of course, without any (or at least very little) money involved, we are relying on and contributing to gift economies. We will exhchange our skills, time and energy for food, shelter and learning.
The last few months have been incredible for us, but we’re ready for a new type of experience. Rather than just stopping by at places, or passing through, we want to interact more with the people that live there, and to contribute in any way we can to their communities.
Though we’re holed up and often stationary now in Bogota, we’ve been able to use the time to start tapping into the vast wealth of exapanding knowledge and communities dedicated to gift economies. There really is a lot out there to learn from and, eventually, contribute to. Here are a few of the sources we’ve been feeding from, all of which are available for free online:
Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein “Traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme- but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transiation to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being.”
The Moneyless Manifesto by Mark Boyle. Mark has been living without money (in the UK) for many years now, and here you can read about the how the whys and a whole lot more.
Hitch The World– “Cheeky fucker” who has hitchhiked around most of South and Central America and writes beautifully about it.
Open Destination– Solo female hitchhiker (has hitchhiked in places most people won’t take (or operate) a tour bus to (e.g. DRC, Afghanistan)
TomsBikeTrip– One of my favourite blogs. Tom is a seasoned traveller who shuns air travel and writes about his experiences with an honest heart. He’s made a very well received film and book about one particular(ly profound) journey in his life which unfortunately we don’t have the means to experience yet. I urge you to watch and read.
That Emily Chappell– Absurdly brilliant cycle blogger who has a LOT of miles behind her and hopefully many more to come.
Solbeam– A travel blog a cut above the rest. Her writing is beautiful, rendering her experiences valuable for all who read.
Acrobat of the Road– This intrepid chap has hitchhiked in many places, including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan when that fella George W Bush was having his way there.
BeWelcome– A lovely alternative to CouchSurfing which with strong non-profit values.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms– You volunteer on an organic farm and they provide a place to sleep and some food to eat.
Ancient Futures– A very close look at the worth of gift economies and community and then, sadly, what happens when that breaks down.