Many people only dream about travelling the world because of time and financial constraints, but Michael Wigge, an award- winning comedian, has proved that its possible, for free.
Wigge traveled from Germany to Antarctica over 150 days without a penny. A series about his venture, How to Travel the World for Free will be airing on PBS throughout May and June.
Wigge is also a travel journalist and videographer. He chronicled the different stages of his mission as he travelled through Europe, Canada, the U.S and parts of Latin America.
I travelled the world -- from Europe to Antarctica -- without spending any money at all. I crossed eleven countries, travelled through a variety of climes, slept in forty different homes and acquired free food in more than 500 stores and restaurants. Net cost: $0, he writes in a blog post on the Huffington Post.
Over 100 people helped Wigge reach his destination, but there were still nights were he would sleep on the street and eat flowers for nutrition.
Before the TV personality had embarked on his trip he planned to mostly travel overland, hitch-hiking or doing some jobs in exchange for a ride, but due to a military coup in Honduras, he needed to purchase a flight, which would cost him at least $300.
Taking two pillows from people who had offered him their couches for the night, Wigge organized a pillow fight, which attracted so many people that he managed to buy a flight to Costa Rica.
When Wigge needed money during his travels he would think of creative cheap services that would attract many people. In his blog on the Huffington Post he explains that people in Las Vegas were not very accommodating of him, even when he told them about his story.
Strapped for cash, the comedian offered his services as a human sofa, allowing sweaty tired tourists to sit down on his back for a dollar a minute. The idea was a success. Rather than wanting to sit, it seems the tourists were fascinated by the concept of a human sofa and it was not long before an eager line of tourists awaitied their turn for the service.
To visit Machu Picchu in Peru, Wigge worked as a Porter, carrying tourists' belongings to the Inca Town. In return he would get to do the five-day trek through the Andes. But carrying 50 pounds of weight through an altitude of 14,000 proved to be much more difficult than he had anticipated and he struggled compared with his native Peruvian colleagues.
Hospitality and Help
The hospitality of people exceeded Wigge's expectations during his travels. In Latin America he explained that people were very helpful when he went to their door. I have no idea where I will sleep tonight, can I sleep here? He would ask. There was this helpfulness, this hospitality, maybe because many people there are poor and they know how it feels. They didn't care about my story. But in the U.S., it was more about the story. They would say, 'This is cool, we want to help you reach your goal.' Americans really go for this, Wigge told the Associated Press.