For anyone lucky enough to have tickets, getting to the Olympic Games in London this year – if you believe the hype – is going to be a nightmare. Predictions of hellish tube journeys, endless delays, standstill traffic and catastrophic road closures are enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure, let alone your average grumpy-by-default Londoner.
Andrew Grady isn’t letting these obstacles get him down, even though his journey to the capital is likely to be a little trickier than most; he needs to cover over 9,000 miles, has only £1,000 to his name, and is hitchhiking. Oh, and he doesn’t have a ticket to the games. Suddenly those 40 extra minutes on the commute sound like a breeze.
What’s this all about?
Cheeky chappy Grady is a Geordie musician based in London, who possesses, shall we say, the gift of the gab. Having already hitchhiked from London to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010, he set himself an even bigger challenge this year, aiming to semi-circumnavigate the globe in time for the Olympic opening ceremony. Starting in Perth, he has no fixed itinerary, aims to fly only when absolutely necessary, and relies mostly on his disarming charm and the kindness of strangers to ensure his success. He’s doing it all in the name of charity, raising money for ChildLine.
So how’s it going?
Well it’s safe to say that Grady won’t be making it back for the Olympics. Various setbacks such as spending five days in a tiny boat on the Indian Ocean heading towards Asia only to end up back where he started due to poor weather conditions was one. Having a stand-off with Chinese border guards was another. The beauty of this trip is that it’s unpredictable; these events may not facilitate a smooth ride home, but they certainly make for good stories. Stories you can follow online, from the safety of your homes!
This guy has a ‘magic thumb’?
Basically, yes! He seems to wriggle his way out of any less-than-ideal situation with ease, smashes all language barriers by calling all of his drivers ‘Trevor’ and could persuade anyone to give him their last rolo. It takes a certain kind of someone to brave the open road folks, so don’t all pack your rucksacks and start walking in the vague direction of India. It’s a wild and risky journey, but one we’re more than happy to observe and report.
Who knows what we can expect from the Magic Thumb in the coming weeks. We might be watching Grady traverse the Himalayas with Trevor the Sherpa, hitch a horse ride through Mongolia, or explore Kazakhstan via freight lorry.
Whichever way he returns, and however long it takes him, we’re sure he’ll get home without (or is that with?) a hitch.
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