- Petrina Thong hitchhiked from Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur
- She flew to Stockholm with only $200 to her name and traveled alone
- The 29-year-old went through 22 countries in total over 13 months
- She had to be escorted by police over the Iran-Pakistan border
- Ms Thong said she would recommend women to hitchhike alone
For the last 13 months, Petrina Thong has been making her way from Sweden to Malaysia by hitchhiking.
The 29-year-old flew to Stockholm in June 2015 with only US$200 to her name, planning on seeing how far she could go.
She ended up arriving back in her hometown of Kuala Lumpur over a year later, in July 2016, after travelling through 22 countries.
Independent woman: Petrina Thong (above) hitchhiked from Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur over the course of 13 months
World traveller: She visited 22 countries in all in Europe, the Middle East and Asia
Wow: She had only $200 when she flew to Sweden, so Ms Thong relied on the kindness of strangers like the skipper of a boat in Dubrovnik who took her island hopping (above)
PETRINA'S ROUTE FROM SWEDEN TO MALAYSIA
Sweden - Denmark - Germany - Poland - Lithuania - Latvia - Lithuania - Poland - Slovakia - Hungary - Croatia - Slovenia - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Bosnia - Montenegro - Albania - Kosovo - Macedonia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Denmark - Netherlands - Belgium - Denmark* - Turkey - Iran - Pakistan - India - Thailand - Malaysia
*From Turkey, Petrina travelled back to Denmark because a friend gifted her with flights to Copenhagen so that they could meet again. She then returned to Turkey and resumed her journey.
The freelance scriptwriter describes the adventures as a 'self challenge'.
'When I flew to Stockholm last year I went with the intention of experiencing hitchhiking, simply because I couldn't imagine doing it,' she told Daily Mail.
'I figured I might as well try it out, thinking I would travel about three to six months, depending on how long I can survive with a budget of $200.'
Her $200 was gone in three months, and then Ms Thong decided to try a new challenge: travel with no money and no plans.
'I would stand by the road, thumb out, wherever the car went, I'd go.
'Only upon arrival I'd allow the Universe to reveal where I would be sleeping and eating,' she explained.
First time for everything: The freelance scriptwriter said that she wanted to challenge herself because she had never been hitchhiking before
Nothing left: Her $200 ran out after three months, so for the remaining time Ms Thong had no money and no plans
Beautiful: She got to see some incredible sights and meet people, all without spending any money
'For food, I'd be digging out food from the trash, hanging around eateries and pouncing on people's leftovers, asking markets for fruits that can't be sold anymore.
'Once evening came, I'd look for places to camp or get invited home by randoms.'
Ms Thong said that although many people are scared of hitchhiking, especially as a woman alone, that she met amazing, kind people who were more than willing to help her.
Frugal: The 29-year-old would go dumpster diving for food (above) or eat people's leftovers at cafes and eateries
Beautiful Bosnia: Many of her travels involved seeking out places in the wilderness and nature
'From the Iranian border, I got into a police car, trailed by 2 more gunmen on a bike': She said one of the most frightening moments was crossing the border from Iran to Pakistan (above)
There were, however, some frightening moments. She had to cross the border from Iran to Pakistan through Balochistan, which can be quite dangerous.
'Due to cases of travellers getting kidnapped, I wasn't allowed to travel by myself,' Ms Thong explained. 'From the Iranian border, I got into a police car, trailed by 2 more gunmen on a bike.'
'We got to the first check point, then I got chucked onto a police truck. Went to another check point. Waited for ages, then got handed over to an Army guy and he hitchhiked with me to get to another check point. From there, I got onto three more Army trucks.'
It was 'quite an experience' she said, and the most stressful of the trip. She wasn't even allowed to stand out in the open during the crossing and had to jump from truck to truck.
Seculded: Sometimes she would spot a photo online, like of Blagaj in Bosnia, and decide to track down the location
Urban camping: To sleep, Ms Thong would either sleep in her tent or be invited to stay at people's houses
'I would stand by the road, thumb out, wherever the car went, I'd go': She said that it was exciting to have no plans
She cites one of her favourite moments when she she found the elusive Rainbow Gathering, a counterculture gathering in the mountains of Lithunania.
With roots that came from the Burning Man festival in the United States, the Rainbow Gathering brings together people for weeks at a time to form a 'utopia'.
'Money has no value, food is equally shared amongst all, everyone is family,' MS Thong said. 'There is no hierarchy, no alcohol or drugs allowed, so one can only be high on life. It's very back to basics.'
'I found myself falling in love with this bizarre community. With no contact to the outside world, all one has is reconnecting with nature and building relationships with once strangers as you're huddled around a shared fire trying to keep warm or rejoicing at the sight of sunshine after days of endless rain.'
'I found myself falling in love with this bizarre community': One of her favourite memories is spending time at the Rainbow Gathering in Lithuania
'It's very back to basics': At the Rainbow Gathering, money has no value and everything is shared
'With no contact to the outside world, all one has is reconnecting with nature and building relationships': She said she fell in love with the 'bizarre community' of the Rainbow Family
In the end, Petrina's route took her from Sweden across Europe, via Denmark, Germany, Poland, and then across to the Baltics. She then traveled through Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria to Turkey.
From Turkey, she went to Iran, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and then finally home to Malaysia.
When she got out of Europe and to the Middle East and Asia, she said that a lot of people questioned why she was traveling alone.
'I was constantly questioned, "Why are you alone? Where is your husband/brother/boyfriend/parents?" "Aren't you scared?" "Don't you get lonely?"' the young woman said. 'In Asia, it's not common for people to solo travel, especially women.'
Woman alone: When she was in Asia (above) and the Middle East, Ms Thong was constantly questioned about where her husband or boyfriend was
Crossing continents: After she traveled around Europe, the 29-year-old went to Turkey (above) and then through Iran, Pakistan, India, Thailand and home to Malaysia
Community: She said that the people she met along the way showed her that humanity is generally good
Despite the occasional setbacks, Ms Thong would recommend other single women travel and hitchhike along.
'I expected it to be an insanely difficult journey, but in retrospect, it doesn't seem all that bad,' she said. 'Of course I had many moments of wondering what the hell I'm doing and questioning why I am putting myself through such ordeals, but I have comforting new outlook on the world.'
'My greatest lesson is that the world or the unknown isn't as scary as you make it out to be. People everywhere are unbelievably kind and willing to help. Now I know that even if I'm lost in a country where I can't speak the language and I have no money, I will still be alright.'
'In retrospect, it doesn't seem all that bad': Ms Thong said she expected the journey to be much more difficult than it was
'People everywhere are unbelievably kind and willing to help': Everywhere she traveled people opened their hearts and home to her
'I have comforting new outlook on the world': Ms Thong said she would recommend other single women to travel alone
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