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Swedish Activist Sparks New Trend
Thanks to Greta Thunberg, there is a new trend in traveling—hitching a ride with a sailboat to cross the ocean instead of flying. Maritime hitchhiking is nothing new, but until recently, it has been reserved for sailors trying out other vessels and routes. This changed when Swedish teenager and climate change activist Greta Thunberg began taking transatlantic trips by hitching rides on sailboats. According to regular “sailboat hitchhiker” Daniel Krause, who runs the Crew Connection and Sailboat Hitchhikers groups on Facebook, membership and activity on the groups has skyrocketed in the past couple of weeks.
How Maritime Hitchhiking Works
Facebook groups and other sites are used by crew members or boat owners to find each other. Crew members get a free ride, and the owner gets someone to help out with tasks like anchoring, docking, or nightshifts. Mostly, hitchhikers only pay for transportation to the boat, visa fees, and basic contributions to food and other running costs. While it sounds ideal, Krause does have a word of warning to those who do not have previous sailing experience. The movement of a sailboat on the ocean can make some people seasick or cause them to feel trapped, especially if they are crossing an ocean and will be spending weeks on end on the boat.
An Opportunity to Explore in an Eco-Friendly Way
SailingNetworks is a site that offers a sailboat hitchhiking connection service like the Facebook groups mentioned. SailingNetworks Director Jeremy Pocock believes that young people are beginning to acknowledge that the option of exploring the world by getting on a sailboat in this way is realistic. This not only makes it possible to travel without breaking the bank, but it is also a more eco-friendly way of traveling, which is why Greta Thunberg is doing it.