Ever wish you had a travel guide for punks? This
would cover you for a large portion of Europe and America, while also giving you tips
on packing light and traveling frugally in pretty much every setting. Houchins
starts out the book with a solid introduction to herself and her traveling
partner, now husband, Tim. She goes into her own past of growing up in Southern
California a bit untethered and moving from place to place while still very
young. It’s easy to see that she, as well as Tim who has lived in a few squats,
are quite comfortable being geographically fluid.
The first leg of travel is the pair’s quite ambitious through-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail spanning from Campo, Calif. (just north of the U.S.-Mexico border), to Manning Park, British Columbia (just north of the U.S.-Canadian border. It’s a mere 2,650 miles. They trained for this as much as they could and researched the hell out of what to expect.
While they sometimes relied on family (mostly Bridget’s mom who lived in the area) to help resupply them with food and water, a quick check-in meal at a diner just off the freeway, or pick them up for the unfortunate event of her grandmother’s funeral, they were always returned to the exact spot they’d left off so they could say they had hiked the whole thing. Sadly, but nothing less than impressive as hell, they had to stop at around three hundred miles due to an injury to Bridget’s knee, but not before meeting tons of kind “trail angels” and experiencing “trail magic” along the way. Even though the two are heavily tattooed and dreadlocked punks, there was quite a sense of community among hikers.
Once Bridget recovered, they started rabidly saving money in order to sustain themselves through half a year of travel. First they crossed the U.S. by hitchhiking, trains, sketchy ride shares, or buses in order to fly out of Philadelphia to London because it was cheaper than leaving from California.
On this awesome trip they visited twenty countries, rode flea market bicycles from Vienna, Austria to Budapest, Hungary (150 miles), saw a church full of bones in Évora, Portugal, drank inside castles in Edinburgh, Scotland, watched punk bands at a squat in Leipzig, Germany, got robbed in Patras, Greece, and so many other stories. They did it all by living on a punk budget, staying with friends and friendly strangers when needed, sleeping outside, on roofs, or in hostels, biking or walking whenever possible, and cutting off cell service, only using the WiFi for maps and travel booking. For the rest they relied on instinct and experience. I can’t begin to express how engaging these slice of life stories are. It’s like if Rick Steves had face tattoos and listened to Bümbklåått. –Kayla Greet (Self published)