Hitch-hiking from Germany to the Blue Mountains during coronavirus

Instead of nursing a hangover on New Year's Day, a young couple set off on an ambitious journey to hitch-hike from Germany to the Blue Mountains during a worldwide pandemic.

Krystal Brodie grew up in Hazelbrook, attending Hazelbrook Public and Springwood High. The 21-year-old last saw her family in the Blue Mountains in 2019.

She's been travelling for three years, getting by picking up part-time work, including on organic farms, and dumpster diving. She would either camp or CouchSurf for accommodation and gets around by hitch-hiking, cycling or hiking.

"My stay in Europe should be over already but due to the COVID situation it got extended a bit, so I'm about to go a different way out of the continent. For me, this isn't just travel, this is a lifestyle, I'm an 'international hobo'," Ms Brodie said.

She met Nico Koch, 22, in Hamburg, Germany in August last year, when he opened up his home to travellers, offering a place to stay via the global hospitality exchange service CouchSurfing.

They quickly developed a connection, and it wasn't long before Mr Koch was quitting his job to travel the world with Ms Brodie.

"We both share the dream of travelling and seeing as much of the world as we can. We're trying to bring awareness to food waste and also just to inspire others that it's possible to do such a trip with very little," Mr Koch said.

They have decided while it would be easier to fly, it would be a great experience to hitch-hike to the Blue Mountains, and anticipate it will take about a year. They aim to get through Europe without spending any Euros.

"We are about to enter Switzerland and want to get down to Greece and after it through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and so on. We want to try to hitch-hike with a boat over the sea but will need to see if that is possible. If not we would take the cheapest alternative flight or boat," Mr Koch said.

With ever-changing coronavirus restrictions their route could change, but they are optimistic.

"We're sure we'll be faced with some difficulties with the restrictions. So far we aren't having problems, but when we do we'll try to find the best way to deal with it. That might mean we spend a little longer in places doing work exchange, for them to change," Ms Brodie said.

In Europe where there has been decent snowfall in several countries, in the big cities the couple look for a CouchSurfing host, and if they are lucky someone will offer them a place to stay and a warm meal. Otherwise they sleep in a tent.

"The first days of our journey have been great. We have already seen how willing and generous people are towards helping us accomplish our dream. They invite us for a meal or a place to stay out of the cold. We know this journey will be challenging and will be faced with difficulties but we won't let that stop us," Mr Koch said.

The couple have an Instagram page - Kangaroo_in_Lederhosen - where they are chronicling their journey.


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