In Europe, many students go traveling after graduating from university. Most of them visit places they’ve always wanted to see, sniff the scent of the big, wide world for a while and then return to their hometowns to find a nice and cushy job. Most of them. Ludovic Hubler, 29, set out on January 1, 2003, and is still on his way. A man on a mission, Ludovic hitchhikes around the world on a budget of US$10 a day, without spending a satang on transportation. But he’s not just looking for a good time; with his project, the PR-savvy Frenchman wants to raise awareness of issues such as global warming and world poverty. If you want to help Ludovic, visit his website,, for more information.

When did you get the idea of hitchhiking around the world?
Even when I was a little kid of 8 or 9 years I’d be looking at maps and telling my parents it was my dream to see the world some day. Of course, nobody believed me, until I was 17 and started hitchhiking around Europe.

How do you find the people giving you rides?
I usually approach people in gas stations, tell them what I’m doing and ask them for a ride. That way I get to pick the people, which reduces the risk of running into unpleasant situations. I’ve had people hiding coke in their trunk or rushing along at 240km/hour, so you want to double-check whose car you’re getting into.

What was your (least) favorite country so far?
That’s hard to say, because I’ve experienced so many extraordinary things. But if I had to pick a favorite country I think it would be Brazil or Peru. In the USA my transportation system worked the worst—people were afraid to pick me up, or they were just caught up in selfishness: “I have to go now, and I don’t care whether this guy is still standing there tomorrow.” That was kind of sobering.

Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?
No. Although I’ve encountered some pretty dangerous situations: In Colombia I had to cross guerilla-infested “red zones,” and in Africa I had to go to jail for a night because I had entered a port without proper authorization.

What do you think is the biggest sacrifice you’re making?
Actually, I don’t really feel like I’m sacrificing anything. But of course I miss my family and friends, but that was a choice I made consciously, and I chose adventure over convenience.

One last question: Why?
I find my trip very rewarding: I get to exercise myself in patience (after all, I still have to be friendly after 100 people have refused me a ride), tolerance, diplomacy and resourcefulness, I get a much more positive outlook on life, and I’ve learned to adapt to virtually any situation. These are experiences no one can ever take from me.


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