1. Tell us about yourself and where we can find more about your travelling.
My name is Jeremy Marie, I am a French citizen and currently 31 years old. Between the 8th October 2007 and the 12th March 2013, I did a world tour of hitchhiking. You can find more details about this journey on my website.
Alternatively, for the French speaker only so far (hopefully in English soon), I wrote a book about this journey that you can find under the name “Mon tour du monde en 1980 jours” published at City Editions.
2. How many countries have you visited and where would like to settle down at some point (I know you fall in love in so many places, but choose one and tell us why)?
I visited 96 countries [WOW] so far, and I can say I am pretty much settled down now in Dublin, Ireland. As a hitchhiker, I always thought I should live in a country where this way of traveling was working well. Ireland is pretty much a paradise for it, which tells quite a lot about the local hospitality.
Besides, this country has everything to please. It is pretty quiet, quite developed, has a good system of health and education, and is beautiful to hike and travel.
3.What do you miss most, aside from your family, from home?
When I was on the road, I don’t recall missing many things. Materialistically speaking, I didn’t miss anything, aside maybe a good warm shower after a long stretch of road!
4.What is the most common misconception that people have about you during your traveling?
As a hitchhiker, and especially in the most developed countries (number 1 by far would be the USA in that case) I have so many time been taken for a beggar. Many people would not understand that I was here by choice and were actually scared of me. Even though being very clean and always shaved, it didn’t stop them by reacting quite rudely to me by fear I would approach them.
5. Is there any place which you wouldn’t visit again and why?
In connection with the last answer, it would be the United States, never again as a “hitchhiker”!
6. Where did you meet the friendliest people and how did you feel about being around them?
It is very important to notice that the welcome in many of the countries I visited were influenced by the country where I come from. Indeed, as a Westerner, traveling in the developing countries would increase the good will of the people I met, as for many of them thought I was trustworthy because coming from a rich country…
Though, in my experience, the best hospitality I have encountered were in such countries as Sudan, Colombia, New Zealand and Iran.
7. Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
Discovering the Chinese public bathroom was quite an interesting moment. I remember my first time when I faced this situation. It was near the city of Guiyang, on the highway. My driver stopped in a petrol station and I ran towards the toilet. There, at the entrance, were 4 businessmen in suits taking a poop in public. Indeed, in most of the Chinese public bathroom, there are no wall and no separation for this private need! I could see two of them playing on the phone, one reading the newspaper and the last one talking to me!
8. What has been the most under-rated country/place you have been to and why? Most overrated country/place?
I believe so many places are under-rated as the Western media tend to raise primarily the safety concerns, and forgetting completely the hospitality and cultural aspect of certain places. Colombia, for example, is a good example. People still think first of a cocaine-guerilla related country. Though, the first thing I will remember about this country after having visited it is the incredible hospitality and the thirst to live of its people.
Regarding the most overrated country, I might say Australia. Although it would surely be a very nice place to live, it was just mildly interesting for me about the cultural side of it. Westerners think that there is a paradise to discover in Australia, but it seems it has been discovered a long time ago already.
9. Tell us about a favourite dish from the world and one from your country that everybody should try (If you have a picture, share it with us).
As I love street food, I would probably pick one that I loved eating while being on the road. Let’s say the Colombian arepas. The one that the street vendors would warm up with a hair dryer (see picture)!
Regarding the dish from my country, I would probably advise to try a good “Boeuf Bourguignon”.
10. What is your favourite author and what did you like about his style?
There are so many authors that I love that I will just choose the last one that I really liked to read. The last one is Isaac Asimov, especially with the series “Foundation”. I like it because after having explored the world, the next logical step for me is to be passionate about the universe exploration. In this, the “Foundation” of Asimov, written in the 50’s, is a total masterpiece.
11. What is your favourite music (You can share a playlist/link)?
Habib Koite – Album “Muso Ko”
I love Western Africa music, and the music of Habib Koite is currently the one that I feel translates the best the rhythm of this part of the world.
12. What song from your country everybody should know?
I just discovered a song this morning: Nekfeu – “On verra”
I didn’t have the time to analyze the lyrics, but the melody definitely put me in a good mood!
13. Give us one of your favorite phrases in your mother tongue and explain what it means.
“Donner de la confiture à des cochons”.
It literally means “Giving jam to a pig”. It basically means that you should not offer something to someone who cannot recognize the real value of the gift (this gift doesn’t have to be material, it can be giving a hand who someone who will not say thank you).
14. Best foreign curse you know?
It means “pig” in Bahasa Indonesian. I like it because the way it is pronounced “Baaaaabi”. It is quite melodic for an insult.
15.You have a chance to ask one question to anyone in history and get an honest reply – what is your question and to whom?
I would ask to God: “Who exactly did you send to Earth to speak to us?”
16. What is your favourite website (apart from social media platforms)?
Hitchwiki.org has been quite handy, but I have to say that Google Maps, and especially Google Street View became the best tool for a hitchhiker who is looking for the best hitchhiking spots.
17. One thing you don’t like about other travelers or traveling?
I saw it many times and it really made me sad and angry about humanity: the lack of respect for other cultures from many travelers. Many still come behaving as neo-colonialist, thinking they make a favor to others by importing their own culture. Come on! Traveling is a privilege and everyone should take the opportunity to learn from each other instead of imposing their way of thinking!
18. What has been your most valuable lesson learned from travel?
The most valuable lesson that I learnt is that the recipe to happiness is to be able to enjoy the present moment, whatever you own and whatever your situation.
I hope you enjoyed Jeremy’s story. You can find more about his adventures on his website!
P.S. Nekfeu, oh yeah, I like it! Thanks!