Wonderful hitchhiking moments
Hitchhiking brings you into contact with a great many interesting and diverse people you would never have a chance to meet otherwise. Once you get over the initial anxiety of being on the road and putting your trust in strangers, a fabulous world awaits where anything is possible. Here is a collection of some wonderful hitchhiking moments from my travels.
My first day hitchhiking in America saw me roll into West Virginia for a night. After meeting a group of amazing people I stayed almost two weeks.
While hitchhiking in the Northwest (USA) I stood for four hours in the heat until a man pulled in, berated me and drove off. Spirits were low. Not ten minutes later a gentleman stopped and gave me a ride for three days right to where I was headed in Oregon.
My sights were set on the national Rainbow Gathering in Vermont (2016) and I arrived a week earlier than expected. I fell in with an awesome group of people who took me riding freight trains after the Gathering, for which I will be eternally grateful.
Hitchhiking for the first time from Amsterdam to Berlin was terrifying but certainly a learning experience. Much credit to a now good friend of mine for taking me along and teaching me how it’s done.
EU member states don’t have borders so you can freely drive between countries. Serbia, however, does have a border. We didn’t know this. My friend and I walked from Bulgaria into Serbia and proceeded to get yelled at by border police. Terrifying at the time – funny now – because we hadn’t a clue what we were doing.
Sleeping on a beach in Vama Veche, Romania on the Black Sea, I often wondered why it was I was turning my journey homewards.
The first time I saw palm trees in real life was in California on the way to San Francisco. The driver was fascinated at my naivety and wondered just who he’d picked up.
As we passed the Salt Flats near Salt Lake City, Utah my truck driver let me out to write my name in the salts like a tourist. I came back, said: “My God, it actually tastes like salt!” After a perplexed look, he stared at the road ahead and laughed for a solid five minutes.
In New York state, a policeman pulled in and asked what I was doing. After some talk of my travels he dropped me 20 minutes up the road. I told him I counted it as hitching a ride. He replied: “Do what you gotta do.”
An incredibly important aspect of travelling is keeping in contact with people I’ve met along the way. It’s not easy leaving someone you feel a connection with, even though you may only know them for a couple of days, but social media means you can maintain a level of contact.
Many of my most memorable moments stem from people who offered a ride, offered food or water, let me crash on couches, went out of their way to drop a stranded traveller at a better hitchhiking spot, told stories of their lives and cultures, or were simply a friend for a little while. You’ll forever remain in my heart and my stories.
Interested in giving hitchhiking a shot? Check out my 6 tips to start hitchhiking.