Travel Diary : At the end...
From Teheran to Caen, before to start this journey, this seemed to me being a very long distance.
However, after 5 and a half years on the road, my appreciation of distances is a bit redefined. 500 or 5000 kilometers, the distance doesn't really matter. When I open a road atlas, I look more for a road going from one point to another. In this case, no problem, there is a way between the Iran capital and my home.
Indeed, because my journey ends.
After Iran appears Turkey. In December 2007, I was already crossing its border and was spending one month to visit this fascinating country. In March 2013, I go back here, but this time I will only cross it. My desire is now to meet again my family and my relatives.
This desire to meet them soon is materialize by Erdem. This truck driver will drive me from the village of Dogubayazit, at the extreme east of the country, to Istanbul, to the west of Anatolia. 1520 kilometers of hitchhiking. I will have waited until the last days of this journey to know my longest distance traveled with only one vehicle.
I cross all Turkey with Erdem
Erdem reminds me the good memories of the Turkish hospitality. He invites me several times a day to have a cay, offers me every meals and invite me to meet his family. I am forbidden to refuse anything.
Like this, we cross the snowy summits of Erzurum, following the Back Sea coast and finally arrive in Istanbul. We cross the Bosphorus. This simple bridge crossing means that I am back in Europe. More than a half-decade after having left it, I come back there.
The bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, border between Europe and Asia
Still in Istanbul, I find another truck. Daniel, a Romanian, goes to Bucharest and accept to bring me along. Incredible, Iran border-Bucharest in only two trucks, hitchhiking never seemed so easy to me!
Daniel, the Romanian truck driver who brings me back into the European Union
We cross Bulgaria overnight and arrive in Bucharest in the morning. I realize that I surely spent my last night of the journey aboard a truck. How many did I spent like this in total?
I spent my last night aboard a truck, between Istanbul and Bucharest
In the morning, I arrive in Bucharest. I spend the day visiting the Romanian capital. The architecture is a mix between old mansions and communist concrete blocks.
The architecture of Bucharest is a mix between old mansions and communist concrete blocks
Since Turkey, hitchhiking is not anymore a difficulty. The concept is known, I simply have to raise the thumb to make my request understood.
The magical word in Turkey was “Otostop”. In Romania, I just have to say “Fora bani”. This way, I cross the mountains of Transylvania, go through Cluj-Napoca, and arrive in Budapest in Hungary.
The arrival in this jewel of the austrian-hungarian architecture gets me closer again from home. At my eyes, the shy side of the European reappears here. In the tramway, everyone is quiet, whispering the most discretly possible to communicate. The urban life seems so regulated. Everyone respect the trafic lights, cross the road on the zebras. Teheran seems so far!
Budapest is a jewel of the Austrian-Hungarian architecture
I go back on the road. Once again, I move at giant steps as my next drivers invite me to cross half-Hungary, a part of Austria and half-Germany. Peter and Vera even invite me to spend the night at their place in Ulm, before to put me back on the highway in the morning.
The following evening, I arrive in France.
For several days, I go from one strong emotion to another. I find entire pieces of culture that I identify myself into. In this emotional hurricane, the meetings with members of my family are important moments that I will keep in memory for the rest of my life.
In Reims, I meet with my cousins
In Paris, I meet with my twin sister
In Rouen, I meet with my parents
But if you remember the world map introducing my itinerary, I started this journey in Caen
This is where I have to end it.
Around one hundred kilometers later, my last driver drops me in the center of Caen.
With Sylvain, my 1752th and last driver of this world tour by hitchhiking
180 700 kilometers, , 1752 vehicles, 71 countries and territories traveling in 5 years, 5 months and 5 days. I left with my thumb and I came back the same way. The March 12th 2013, in Caen, a very strong emotion invades me, because I accomplished my dream: to do the tour of the world by hitchhiking!
Few weeks later, I pack my bag once again.
This time, I don't use my thumb, but I go to the airport. In the other side of the world, Wati, a young Indonesian girl I met on my way, wait for me. I decided to meet her there, to start a new life with her.
The final dot
Thank you to everyone to have follow me during those years spent on the road. I hope that you could gather many useful information thanks to this website. The important thing for me was to contribute to share the knowledge, while entertaining a little bit.
I would like to deeply thank all the drivers and people who one day helped me, by offering me a lift, a place to stay for the night, or any other assistance that helped me to go closer to the accomplishment of my dream. Without you, I would still be in the ring road of Caen...
Here it is, the last page of this great adventure that ends here.
Thank you again for all of you that supported me,