meus intuitus

the hitchhiker

with one comment

This month in France has filled in the gaps left by my last trip to Europe.  Despite my modest efforts, I was mostly a “tourist” during my last trip to Europe.  This time, greatly facilitated by wonderful hosts and one eccentric exchange-mate, I have achieved the status of “traveler.”

Now, I have couchhosted once, couchsurfed several times, and hitchhiked some 12-24 cumulative hours over some 500 kilometers.  I love hitchhiking.

Hitchhiking takes a bland sightseeing itinerary and turns it into a true adventure.  Sure, there are places in this world where hitchhiking may be inadvisable, but one thing I’ve learned is that in most places (even more so in developed nations), people are nice.

Think about the local and regional roads you frequent—going to the supermarket, driving to your parents’ house, driving to school:  What kind of people drive on your roads?  Parents, uncles, middle-managers, carpenters, university students; what I’m getting at is that the vast majority of people on the road are decent human beings.  The world is full of good people—and when they see me, the quirky hitchhiker, they will honk in support, laugh in good humor, throw up their hands up wishing they were adventurous enough to pick me up, or…  they will pick me up.  The people who pick up hitchhikers are among the nicest—but not only that, they are sharp and confident people.

Interestingly, more women picked myself and my female traveling companion up than men.  The men that pick us up are nice, but these women—they are smart and confident women; they have good sense and they are not the type to tolerate a bullshit or malicious hitchhiker.  However, just like these people who pick up hitchhikers, hitchhikers themselves also tend to be good, smart, and world-wise people.

Now, I’m not advocating recklessness—everyone should know how to get out of questionable situations if they want to hitchhike.  I just want to note that, in my dozen pick-ups, I have never felt threatened—and of the dozen hitchhikers I have met, none have ever been assaulted by their drivers.

With this trip to France, I have gained fond memories, great friends, and improved perspective.  However, the best thing I have gained (or regained) is my faith in humanity.

Power can do nasty things, corporatism can systemically ruin whole populations, but humans…  Humans are good.  Couchsurfing, hitchhiking—I’ll never forget the time I’ve spent traveling on nothing more than the kindness of strangers.

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Written by meusintuitus

July 30, 2011 at 11:02 am

One Response

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  1. Wow thanks for sharing. I learned something new about hitchhiking! I’m glad that people are still having good experiences with it. You have found some good still left in the world. That’s great.

    travelingmad

    July 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm


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