Sophie Bond meets the intrepid traveller.' />

Thumbs up for a fearless Frenchman who's hitching his way around the globe. Sophie Bond meets the intrepid traveller.



Jeremy Marie is relieved to be in Auckland, where he has been helping to get Khamsin, the yacht that carried him here from South America, into dry dock. "I've just finished one of my biggest challenges," he says.



"It was a long way, 15,000km over the ocean."



The 27-year-old Frenchman left his home in Caen, northwest France, in 2007 and has been hitchhiking his way around the world. So far he has covered 132,250km in almost 1300 different vehicles.

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"Hitchhiking is the most social way to travel, and the challenge for me is not to pay for my transport."



Along the way he has learned to sail, which has helped him find free passage across the ocean stretches. "Most of the voyage I have done by land but I did have sailing experience from South Africa to Panama two years ago and I also did a little in the Caribbean.



"I took this boat in Cartagena, Colombia. I wanted to cross the Pacific Ocean so I went to the marina and asked all the captains and it took me five days to find one who would take me.



"The captain was delivering the boat to the New Zealand owner."



The voyage, via the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and Tonga, was with a crew of seven. He arrived in Auckland on August 6 and Mr Marie was thrilled to be invited to a Bledisloe Cup match that night by the boat owner.



Now he's ready to start exercising his hitching thumb for three months of travel around New Zealand.



So far his adventure has taken him across Europe into Turkey; he has traversed Africa, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and covered South and North America.



This is his 47th country and he has at least 20 to go.



Mr Marie travels with two small rucksacks, both faded and with many repairs. Half of one is taken up with a bulging folder of newspaper clippings of interviews he's given to newspapers and magazines.



Most of his accommodation has been free as he uses the international CouchSurfing network to find places to doss down. His daily food budget is just $7, but he's often given meals by people he meets.



He has had only one really unpleasant experience - when he and a friend were mugged in Venezuela.



"There were two policemen on a motorbike. They stopped us, checked our papers and took my laptop from me. Then they pulled their guns out and pointed them at us, told us they were robbing us, and sped off.



"When I have been hitchhiking I have never had any violence or been attacked - some weird people, yes, and some proposals, but I have never felt unsafe."



He has volunteered in many places during his travels and often shares his experiences with school groups.



"I want to provide another point of view of the world through the eyes of a hitchhiker. I started my trip at a primary school in France and they followed my progress for two years."

Share the journey

Read more about Jeremy at www.tour-du-monde-autostop.fr Jeremy will be back in Auckland in October and will be available to speak at schools. He can be emailed at lembas76@hotmail.com