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Hitchhiking around the world – two globetrotters in the New York Times

If you have just clicked from this morning’s article in The New York Times Magazine, welcome to the blog! Juan and I are delighted at the possibility of bringing our message of trust and hospitality to such a wide audience.

We both write our blogs in Spanish, but we have a surprise for you. Juan’s fist book “Hitchhiking in the Axis of Evil – by thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan” has been translated to English. Below you will find much more insights into it.

It is thanks to the sales of our book that we can continue to travel the world, documenting its unsung hospitality and defying media stereotypes. Thanks for taking a minute to learn more about our project.


On May 1st, 2005 Juan Villarino, Argentinean writer, hitches a ride in a sailboat from Belfast harbour to Scotland, on the first leg of a journey to the Middle East. Borrowing the strategy of the snail, he carries all he needs in a backpack, and sticks out his thumb along both dusty roads and highways. He possesses no credit card nor bullet proof jacket. His goal is to cross the heart of the Islamic World, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, solely by hitchhiking, in an attempt to prove that hospitality abounds in a region portrayed as terrorist by the establishment media.

As he moves across the vast globe Juan lives deliciously absurd events. He enters Iraq at night like a homeless person, but ends up teaching hitchhiking lessons in the Kurdish Parliament. In Teheran he sojourns with the intellectual resistance against Iran’s Ayatollah’s regime. He crosses Afghanistan village by village, having tea in a minefield, becoming a postman for a day, and dropping by a NATO base to fill up his backpack with foodstuff. While he travels, his pen describes those ordinary people who sweat and work under any flag but never ever grab the headlines. The outcome is the book you hold in your hands: an ode to movement and a precise chronicle about one of the least travelled zones on Earth. Today, Juan keeps hitchhiking the world and writing books by the roadside.


Love for the road and on the road

Just sharing a few of the brillant pictures taken by New York Times Magazine photographer Brent Stirton, who followed the Namibian leg of our cross-Africa journey. More to come in my Instagram.

KOLMANSKOP, NAMIBIA, 29 MARCH 2017: Juan and Laura visit an abandoned mining town, Kolmanskop, near Luderitz which the desert is reclaiming. They plan their route forward while lying on the sand inside a former residence. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Verbatim for Getty Images)
SPRINGBOK, SOUTH AFRICA, 31 MARCH 2017: Laura and Juan walk into the little town of Springbok where they were able to secure a place to pitch their tent at the local rugby ground. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Verbatim for the NY Times Magazine.)
SPRINGBOK, SOUTH AFRICA, 31 MARCH 2017: Juan and Laura fool around while waiting for a ride down south. Laura studied ballet for 12 years and often dances while waiting, Juan fools around using his sign to keep the «princess» cool. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Verbatim for the NY Times Magazine.)

Laura Lazzarino

Soy Laura y desde 2008 vivo con mi mochila a cuestas, con un único objetivo: viajar para contarlo. Este blog es el resultado de mis aventuras a lo largo de +70 países. ¡Bienvenido a bordo!

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