Book of the Week:

courtesy of offthemap.com ()

courtesy of offthemap.com ()

Many people fantasize about taking a backpacking trip across Europe; usually months of planning and saving precede these fantasies. For two young female anarchists, however, the decision to hop over “the lake” is rather impulsive and leaves them arriving in the Netherlands with next to no money at all.

The book “Off the Map” consists of the travel journal of two girls, Hibickina and Kika. The book originally started as a “zine,” was picked up by CrimethInc, and was then copied and distributed free. Eventually it was released as a book.

The journal documents the girls’ adventures as they travel through many different cities and countries in Europe. Their hope is to explore the landscapes using non-conventional methods, paying total disregard to things like clocks or maps. As stated in the first chapter, these girls feel like witches hoping to reshape the terms of life to be “less like formulas and more like spells.”

This alternative perspective is prevalent throughout the book in their reflections on their lives and relationships. To them, life is like one great big treasure hunt.

Their days lead them through strange and foreign streets in search of squats: old houses where they are allowed to rest rent-free, or just coffee to keep them going, while their nights are spent either dancing with fire in the streets or sleeping in the bushes of a park if they could not locate a squat that day.

The two are in constant motion, moving from one town to the next within a matter of days. They traveled simply by hitchhiking, and in doing so have many fascinating encounters with many interesting people. Conversations about music, art, politics and dreams are common.

Though most of their time is spent bouncing around the continent, continuously moving, there are two points where they reside in a solitary place. They even get part time jobs as waitresses in a small countryside restaurant. They stay in a trailer on the restaurant property and save up some money to help them continue to travel. In another part of the story the girls stay a week or two in a hut on a beach in France.

The girls’ adventures are full of reflection and self-discovery. They learn things about themselves and their world that they never thought possible before. Discover for yourself the life of an anarchist by checking out this book.