World Hitchhiker Finds Boat Out of Panama

It wasn’t easy, but world hitchhiker Jeremy Marie found a ride out of Panama today after a month-long search.

Born in 1984 to Patrice and Patricia Marie (his father is a retired postal service employee and his mother works for the DHL courier service) in Normandy, France, Marie is realizing a dream of traveling the world through a project based on the goodness of people.

His trip began two and a half years ago when he set off from his native Normandy, France, catching free rides through Europe, the Middle-East and down to South Africa where he boarded a 40-foot catamaran headed for Panama after celebrating the new year’s eve of 2008 at a braai barbecue.

Fifty seven days later, Marie transited the Canal, docked in Panama and began a five day search for a boat south to Colombia.

He didn’t find one so he headed north, following the road up through Central America to the United States, Canada and Alaska before heading back down to Key West and traveling to Cuba on a 27-foot motor boat with 80 year-old Captain Mo, who Marie calls a real pirate.

From Cuba, Marie sailed to Guatemala and then followed the road back down to Panama. He was surprised by the quantity of towers that had sprung up along the bay since his last visit just one year ago, he said during his interview with The Panama Digest.  He was perhaps more surprised how difficult it was to find people who would carry him to Colombia.

There were the options Marie investigated:  a non-stop airline-sponsored flight; tourism sailboats that charge around $400 per person per passage, cargo ships that could stop anywhere and leave him on an island stranded; a combination of a local flight to Puerto Obaldia and a local boat to Cap Urgana and then on to Turbo; a mini ferry at a cost of $175 per person; or crossing the Darien Gap by foot which three indians told him included three rivers, a canyon and possible FARC encounters.

During his month in Panama, he had helped develop the marketing for the Darien Gapster mini-ferry so when he received the call a few days ago that they had enough people to make the crossing, he crossed his fingers.

Today Patrice and Patricia’s little package set sail for Colombia with a brief stop in the San Blas Islands, continuing on his trip around the world.  Bon voyage Jeremy!

Marie with the Panama City Skyline Backdrop

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