We sourced a fair amount of food this week (not all of it edible…) and covered 1,200 miles!

Hitting the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky. We were rained out of the south and had to skip New Orleans which was gutting as we’d been really looking forward to it but hey ho! gotta go with tha flow…

Victor

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Our food supply was getting pretty low so we scanned the web for volunteer opportunities and free food listings. We found Victor’s listing on Craigslist in the free section titled “box of free food for composting”. He was moving house and had a box of expired food he wanted to get rid of but didn’t want to waste it by just throwing it out. Looking at the photo, we could see the box was filled mostly with canned food and some lasagna sheets. We thought we might as well collect it, have a rummage and see what’s edible. After picking out some items that rats had got to and sweeping out some little cockroaches…we salvaged loads! We had fun over the next couple weeks, stiff then taste testing each tin to see if it was still good.

Jared &  Willy

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Jared (right) replied to our post on Craigslist about a ride from Austin to Houston. He was driving from Houston to Austin to pick up his mate, Willy (left). Jared was amazing and helped us out so much. He picked us up in Austin, drove us to find Victor’s house to pick up the food box above, he then drove us to Houston (“sorry if my gun is poking in your back Lilly”…) and invited us to stay at his place as we hadn’t found a host in Houston, AND he had a whole cupboard of food he told us we could help ourselves to! What with the food pick up above and ransacking Jared’s cupboard, we were pretty much sorted for food which was such a relief! We spent the first evening drinking beer, eating mac n cheese and watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the only film option when staying with a stranger in the countryside of Texas, of course). We were sad to leave this resting spot. Jared sent us off with a Texas memento each – a “Fuck Y’all I’m From Texas” badge that Sarah sewed to her bag (and got a few comments on for the rest of the trip) and a Texas bandana. What a legend.

David

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What a journey with David. He drove us nearly 1000 miles, passing through 7 states. He even took us on a longer route from Memphis to Nashville just so that we could hit the state of Kentucky! David had many tales to tell of his life on the road as a “rubber tramp”; he’s a a human lab rat and takes part in clinical trials, and when he’s not in a trial, he’s travelling, living in his car and paying $20 a month for a gym membership so he can shower at any Planet Fitness all over the USA! He always picks up hitchhikers and checks on Craigslist and other rideshare websites for people needing a ride. He likes to help people fulfill their random endeavors and has many many incredible stories to tell.

Jennifer & Ross Phillips

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What a couple! Johnny (who had helped us out earlier in the trip) put us in contact with his pals from school Jennifer and Ross. After reading about our trip…they put us up in the Hilton!! We couldn’t believe it. And we had a bed EACH!! Fancyyyyyyyyy. They picked us up in the morning and took us for breakfast – we were late because we were making use of the hairdryer and free coffee and it was incredibly difficult to get out of those beds. They also took us to see the Mississippi River, and to see Elvis’ Graceland, AND took us shopping to buy us supplies (bread, antihistamine…all the essentials). Our time with these two felt so rushed but was incredibly special. They are a wonderful couple and their love for each other is so beautiful, as well as the love for their daughter (who we would love to meet one day!).

Johnny

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Johnny gave us a lift from Kansas City to Denver and was thanked in our Week Four Thank Yous! He saved our asses in Memphis when we’d had no reply on Couchsurfing and needed somewhere to stay for a night. Knowing that his friends from school, Jennifer and Ross pictured above), lived close to Memphis, he gave them a call to see if they could help us out…and they did! Massively! Thanks again Johnny.

Charlie

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We met Charlie through Couchsurfing and arrived at his place in Nashville whilst he was at meditation. He told us to go around the back and use the key safe to get in. People are always amazed at how trusting Couchsurfing members are. It’s such an amazing community.

The above “dish” is one we concocted from our Craigslist compost pick up. Lasagna sheets, enchilada sauce and tuna…YUM. Charlie finished the dish off with some olives; et voilà.

Rita

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Lovely Rita. WHAT A WOMAN. Rita has a crazy life story and Sarah and I listened with awe to every word she said. Rita replied to our ad on Craigslist looking for a ride from Nashville to Decherd. She sent us a lovely lovely text and asked if we’d like to hang out for the day. “We’d love to!” We drove to Murfreesboro and went to the Gettysburg National Park where we learned all about the Battle of Stones River, it was fascinating! We ate at Jason’s Deli, which was one of the best meals that we’d had – unlimited salad and vegetables and green stuff YUM. Rita sent us off with huge bags of sweets for the rest of our journey ❤ Thanks Rita!

James & Stefan

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We’d met James and Stefan in Yellowstone National Park in week six and promised we’d say hello when we got to Tennessee. After a delicious BBQ the Jager appeared and we saw a pattern emerging with these guys…after another night getting shitfaced we spent the next couple of days exploring nearby Huntsville to check the state of Alabama off and stopping in Chattanooga to admire the view and to eat dinner with James’ wonderfully ebullient mother. And this still wasn’t the last we saw of these two! Thanks guys ❤

This was an incredible week and we both realised how accepting we are when a plan changes. Our visit to the south turned out completely different to how we had planned but you’ve just got to go with it!

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