When you hear tales of Jailbreak success; stories of teams taking a free trip to Lisbon, or even receiving complimentary tickets to Dubai, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a great way to get a free holiday. The reality though is quite different. The reality is hitchhiking at the side of motorways, being publicly turned away by airlines and generally having to continuously throw yourself at the mercy of strangers or corporations. That doesn’t mean that Jailbreak can’t be a wonderful and enriching experience; it will be what you make of it. It just means that attitude is key; you’re reliant on the assistance of strangers so you’ll find that a smile will get you far, and be enthusiastic about your cause so that others will be too.
To get the best out of the experience you have to be willing to take some time, and money to enjoy it. Whilst you can’t spend any money on travel, you can spend money on accommodation, food, and anything else. That said, you don’t need a fresh student loan in order to finance the trip (the truth is you’re unlikely to get so far that you’d spend more than £150 getting home!) just enough to cover a cheap hostel or two and maybe a few beers. Taking a trip to a patisserie in Calais or to a pub in Dover can provide much needed respite and are a good chance to refuel and regroup.
When the whistle is blown and you and your team run from the square, 48 hours seems like a wide open window of opportunity. Only when you’re 11 hours in will you realise the exhaustion of a 48 hour journey, because for 48 hours you will keep pushing, keep trying to get as far as you can, no matter how often you get turned down. In that time you will find reserves of resourcefulness and determination that you didn’t even know you had. Knowing that you are persevering not just in the interest of competition but in the name of a charitable endeavour can act as a fuel to keep you going even when you’re on the brink of giving up.
If there is one piece of advice that ought to be extended to any Jailbreaker it is that companies have no heart strings to pull on. When you’re cold, hungry or lost it is people; human compassion that will give you warmth and direction. That’s not to say that you can’t get companies to help you out; Megabus and other companies support Jailbreak by offering a number of tickets each month to jailbreakers, but companies have quotas and procedures, and people, you will find have an enormous capacity for generosity.