Luca Tinello, aptly nicknamed the Flying Viking (el Vichingo Volante), must be the world’s biggest fan of the North Cape (Nordkapp), Europe’s most northern landmass. So far he has traveled overland from his homeland of Italy to the North Cape an impressively seven times. His seventh trip this last summer 2014, he made the return journey by sticking up his thumb and hitchhiking all the way.
The flying viking explains his Northern European addiction as follows:
“For me the Nordkapp is more than just a destination. So far i have made the trip from Italy to the Nordkapp 7 times (5 times with a van, 1 time with a piaggio ape, and this time hitchhiking). I really love the nature over there, the endless space and the feeling of unconstraint liberty. For me it is something really really special; when i am in Scandinavia, and specifically in the extreme north, i’m happy, i’ feel at home, and in complete peace with the world.”
Trip No. 7, Hitchhiking to the North Cape
If you watch the news regularly – with its general negative outlook on the world covering solely wars, terrorism and death – you would almost start believing the world is a really dangerous place where there is no more respect and tolerance between people.
To prove this viewpoint wrong Tinello decided to use his ‘alter ego The Flying Viking’ and embark on a hitchhiking trip to the North Cape. He wanted to show that it is still possible to travel relying on the solidarity and help of others and that in the end the world is a nice place to live in. And what better way than to stand on the side of the road and sticking up your thumb and holding a sign that reads ‘North Cape’.
“As humans we should never give up our dreams and everyone should keep on dreaming. To make this part of my hitchhiking trip I asked friends, acquaintances and all the people I met on the road to the Nordkapp, to write their greatest dream on a piece of paper which I would collect and bring to the ‘end of the world’ the North Cape and set free in the ocean once there.
His ‘dreamy approach”reminds us very much of the kickasstrip of ‘Tractor Girl’ Manon Ossevoort who collected dreams during her tractor journey from Holland to the South Pole. She set those dreams free in a snowman once she reached Antarctica.
In order to collect all these dreams Tinello brought an aluminium box (originally an old hot water bubble from the fourties) which he painted with a red face and named Wilson (in honor of the movie Castaway). Each dream was entered in ‘Wilson’ and became part of the trip.
“This was my first hitchhiking trip and yet I had no great difficulty finding rides. The first night I was in Austria, where on the second day a Lithuanian truck driver brought me all the way up to the North of Germany. In the evening of the third day I was in Denmark, and on the fourth day I had already made it to Sweden!
What I found was not just transport generosity, but a great hospitality and caretaking of and by those strangers I had just met. In the first 3,000 kilometers I only spent 8 euros !!
There were those who took a detour just to not leave me in the middle of nowhere. Those who invited me into their house for luch. Those who offered me a hot shower after a day in the rain. Those who invited me for a pizza at the local pizzeria or who paid me dinner or snacks. Or breakfast. Some Norwegians paid my ferry fee. And there was even a Danish trucker who, after he heard about me spending only 5 euros to reach Denmark – gave me 20 euro hoping they would be enough for me to reach the Nordkapp!
In the meantime I collected the dreams of all those generous people offering me rides, money or just plain awesome company. Once I arrived at the North Cape, Wilson sealed very well and I launched him into the sea from Europe’s most Northern point. Inside were all the collected dreams plus a silver plaque with my contact information and a sentence in which I ask to be contacted if anyone were to read the message in the (near) future.
On the way back I found the same ‘on road’ generosity: I met a Belgian driver who was returning to his home country but was really tired of driving, so we alternated driving and covered more than 1350 km in 24 hours.
In short, I found a lot of hospitality and help from people that I had never seen before, they trusted me and I trusted them. To me it definitely proved that the world is not as bad as they want us to believe, and that there are so many many people ready to do good only if they get the chance.
By Luca Tinello (Vichingo Volante)