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Every dream is given to us with the power to make it come true
Kinga & Chopin hitching the world




KINGA & CHOPIN
A Vancouver girl and her partner travel the world for free- this is a synopsis of their journey so far
One way ticket, two backpacks, a few hundred dollars, little plans and lots of dreams. That's what we had when we landed in New York in October 1998. We knew one thing - we wanted to travel the world.
How to do it almost without money?
How to do it, to get to know best the people and culture of the places we'll be travelling through?
Hitch-hiking that's how!

The world is huge and we want to not only go around it, but also experience and live it. We've been on the road for over three years now. Enough happened during that time to write a thick book (maybe some day we will).
We knew our Travelling Protective Spirit landed in New York with us, when the first night on New Continent we met Ellen and Eddie, who invited us to stay at their place, so we didn't have to sleep in Central Park.
In Canada with one of the longest rides, from Great Lakes almost to the Pacific Ocean, we crossed the continent. Resting for a while with Kinga's family in Vancouver we woke up one day with a dream to go north. Thinking "Yukon", we ended up in... Alaska. After the whole day and half a night of waiting on covered with snow Alaska Highway, the right man stopped for us. Colin took us a few thousand kilometers, to Anchorage. There we had an ultimate hitch-hiking experience. We went to the airport, stuck our thumbs out and... hitched a ride with an airplane. Flew over the mountains, stopped right next to a glacier.
Then along the coast, to some warmer place - to California. There for a few months we experienced living in one place working and saving to give our dreams a better chance to come true.
When the right time came, we packed our backpacks and hit the road again. Lost ten dollars gambling in Las vegas, hiked down to the bottom of Grand Canyon, visited amazing national parks in Utah, walked for a few days along the Appalachian Trail in the Smokey Mountains, visited museums in Washinton D.C. and Amish farms and Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania.
In Chicago Chopin had a genius idea. We got to know quite well the roads of America - "Let's change them for the rivers". We were considering a raft, but hitch-hiking is hitch-hiking, and nothing is impossible if you only want it strong enough. After three days by the river the boat of our dreams arrived - a boat named "Spirit". For almost four weeks we were looking at America from a different perspective - from the water. By rivers, to the Gulf of Mexico and then to Florida. There, back to the highway and through the southern states, through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, back to California.
Then - Mexico - two months was hardly enough - streets markets, people, colours, nature, Mayan pyramids.
In Guatemala we went hiking through thick jungle looking for the ruins of El Mirador with the biggest Mayan Pyramid. Three hard days just to discover the way was unpassable at this time of the year.
Through all the countries of Central America we went to Panama. There the road ends. The boat of Kuna Indians took us and dropped on a tiny island of San Blas Archipelago, where living in a cottage with an Indian family (sleeping in hammocks) we were waiting for some boat towards Colombia. Every day they said it will come - "tomorrow". After ten days we boarded a Colombian ship not knowing with whom we're going... Contrabanditos dropped us in the middle of the night with all the cargo they were smuggling on an unknown beach on Colombian coast.

From Venezuela, through Amazon jungle to Manaus in Brasil. Then by Amazon River to Belen and then by roads along the coast. In Rio de Janeiro one of Kinga's big dreams came true - she hitched a ride with a paraglider. Chopin likes the language so much (we're picking languages along the way), the atmosphere, the people, that he says Brasil is the first country he could live in. Iguacu Waterfalls, Paraguayan Gran Chaco, poor but fascinating Bolivia with its mountains and traditionally living Indians.
Peru... condors over Colca Canyon, mysterious drawings on the desert in Nasca, boat trip by Ucayali River from Pucallpa to Iquitos and by Napo River, through unofficial border to Ecuador.
Back in Peru, after three days and nights in the truck (it's not always easy and comfortable) going towards Cusco, we had enough and got off. Waiting for another ride we learned about the little known ruins of the last Inca fortification. We turned to the little village where the trek begins. There... we bought a horse. And with Alasan carrying our backpacks we were hiking for one week through high mountains and deep valleys reaching the great ruins of Choquekirao, then Machu Picchu.
Then long, thin Chile. The driest desert of the world, geyser El Tatio, salar Atacama. And slowly towards the south. To Argentina, and to the very south of the continent. Ushuaya in Tierra del Fuego. Huge, windy, neverending spaces of Patagonia. We met penguins up close, and sea lions, flamingos and dolphins.

Along the Atlantic coast up to Uruguay and back to Brasil. Finally once more accross the continent, to Valparaiso in Chile. We travelled all over the Americas. The time came to move on. Having looked hard in different Southamerican countries for a possibility to cross the Pacific with some ship, we discovered the world has changed - it's not easily done nowadays. We had to take a plane.

Looking for a way to get to Australia, we ended up in New Zealand first. Found more luck there - after almost three months of travelling around that beautiful country's North and South Island, we found what we were looking for. A yacht that took us on - on a journey to... Vanuatu. Thirteen days of just the ocean and the sky and we made it to one of the most exotic and fascinating places we've been to. There more luck, another yacht, and ten days of handsteering and we finally made it to the land of OZ.We experienced Australia as one of the most hitch-hikers' friendly conuntries. A country of enormous empty spaces (sometimes hundreds of kilometers between one roadhouse and another), outstanding natural beauty and weird coincidences. We spent six busy months there, working with a travelling carnival on Thursday Island, then with a tour company, and then hitch-hiking all around the continent.
Before we started to explore Asia, we needed to repair our budget and took a break - stopping for a few months Taiwan - teaching English in local kindergartens - a different kind of experience!
We are now continuing our journey in Japan.

How much longer...? We don't know. We are not limited by time. The world is big. And fascinating. And we want to see it. And the most beautiful thing is to go without a hurry and plans and just let things happen, and enjoy the journey, because there is no destination.

© "Kinga and Chopin" September 2002 email: kingachopin@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/kingachopin/press_eng.html

Ed: This is the second update from Kinga and Chopin. Email them, let them know you are following their adventures.

Pozdrowienia ze Swiata
Greetings from the world
Saludos desde el mundo

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