About the book
Nobody picks up drowned rats.
Hitchhikers don’t complain or get carsick.
Go where the ride takes you.
As a restless 17-year-old seeking fame and fortune (and romance), Julia Millen goes hitchhiking in the South Island with her cousin and two older friends. What begins as a holiday frolic becomes a survival recipe for life.
Radiating hope and energy, Julia sets off for London with her family, but tragedy strikes when Julia’s father dies and upheaval follows. After a trip to Paris, Julia’s hitchhiking adventures encompass sleeping rough in Stockholm, a traverse of Yugoslavia and almost finding love in Greece. Meeting up with a boyfriend in Naples is the beginning of a chaotic motorcycle ride and near-disaster on a plain in Spain.
Back in London, Julia faces the Cuban missile crisis and endures the worst winter of the century before returning to New Zealand, where she survives an impetuous marriage, a pavlova crisis and the aftermath of a fatal mountaineering accident in the Southern Alps.
Intrepid New Zealand hikes, treks across the Antarctic wastes, seeing the US by pick-up truck and hitchhiking in South America completes Julia’s headlong pursuit of life and the sometimes unexpected consequences this brings.