Paul Finlay, Founder of Hiiker
Hiiker was established to help people to explore the best long-distance hiking adventures around the world.
Since I was young, I have been fascinated by peoples ability to cover long distances on foot. Perhaps it was the fact that I was too young to drive or was allowed only to go so far, but the thought that you could just go anywhere with nothing but your own two feet was freeing.
As I got older and got a car, it was great, you could go anywhere, and you could get there fast, but it was missing something. It was missing the journey. As they say, life is a journey, not a destination, and I truly believe that about travel and adventure. It’s the in-between that is the best part, and strangely, the harder the journey is to get to where you are going, the more rewarding it is when you arrive.
Every summer when heading to the West Coast of Ireland, where my mother was from, I would look forward to hiking. At the slightest sight of a mountain, I would be off running and ready to explore.
As I got older, hiking became a great way to escape from college /work and find some real relaxation. The funny thing for me was, I could never find relaxation from the resort hotel beside the beach, or lazing by a pool…. I found it on the trail. The chance to see amazing sights, hear beautiful sounds, and taste the fresh crisp air, that was real relaxation from me. Despite the physical challenge, I would come back refreshed and ready to get at it.
One difficulty I found was balancing everything else in life while trying to planning a hiking trip. I simply wanted to be able to see the trails, see the accommodation/campsites/wild camping locations near the trail, know the places where I could get food and supplies, build up my plan, and ultimately take it with me on the trail offline.
I built an app to help me do that, and I got really positive feedback from friends, family, and the extraordinary people I would meet on trails like the Tour du Mont Blanc, Dingle Way, Kerry Way, South Downs Way. I kept on doing my thing, but, eventually, I decided to try and build something that more closely resembled what I was looking for. I knew for the app to be of any use to people, it needed to have a lot of trails around the world.
Hiiker was the result of that.
It is my sincere hope that people can use the information the Hiiker team and I have gathered to find something new, perhaps a trail that goes by their door, or, instead of seeing a country through a car window, they might consider taking it by foot.
In the meantime we will continue on our simple mission:
Help people to explore the best long-distance hiking trails around the world.