Goin' Twitchhiking

British man uses Twitter to hike across the U.S.--could "twitchpacking" be next?

As of now, it seems like the entire nation is aTwitter (we’re guilty, too—you can follow BACKPACKER’s Twitter feed right here). You might feel a little burnt out on all the hype, but consider this: Imagine if you could use Twitter to travel across the country, finding people to hike and backpack with along the way?

A British bloke is already testing this theory: In only 12 days, Paul Smith has traveled from England to Amsterdam, Paris, Pittsburgh, Chicago and now Kansas, all by connecting with people on Twitter and surviving on the kindness of strangers. He thought of the idea while messing around with the de-rigeur social networking tool, and he’s raising money for Charity: Water, which raises awareness and funds to address the global water crisis in developing nations.

Using Twitter on a cross-country hiking/backpacking trip might go something like this: You cast about on Twitter for a hiking guide/partner in the hills of Southern California. From there, you link up with a like-minded hiker in Arizona willing to show you their backyard. After that, give a tweet looking for someone in New Mexico, then Colorado, Wyoming, etc.

Before long, you’ve built a cross-country backpacking trip with new friends and acquaintances, all through Tweeting.

How to begin, you ask? A solid community of backpackers, hikers, and outdoor lovers of all stripes have already started following BACKPACKER’s feed—it’s as good a place to start as any.

Do you Tweet? Have you ever used it for outdoor activities? Tell us how in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez

Twitter hitchhiker lands in Wichita (