17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

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harry_flashman
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17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by harry_flashman » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:41 am

In the era of Uber, cheap flights and other easily accessible modern luxuries, hitchhiking has become something of a lost art.

But one man has been flying the flag for the dying practice for 13 years, thumbing it across more than 90 countries to date – fuelled by an enduring faith in the gospel of hospitality which he believes exists in every corner of the world.

Juan Villarino left his home country of Argentina in around 2004 to work and study in Belfast. But just one year in, he decided he’d rather be on the road than at university. So the former student of psychology embarked on the first leg of his hitchhiking adventures, travelling to the Middle East, through Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.


“I hitched my first ever ride in 1998 and it gradually became my strategy as a writer for exploring any given society. A way to take the pulse of its social tissue and interact with a random sample of its inhabitants," the travel writer and modern-day nomad told Telegraph Travel.

“I do not travel to tick places off a bucket list or to save money. I would still hitchhike in places like India, where I could easily travel 400 miles with just a fiver. But I hitchhike around the world to document hospitality and everyday life in the most remote regions,” he said.

So 2,350 rides and nearly 100,000 miles later, what are some of the greatest lessons he has learned from the side of the road?

1. Syrians are the friendliest people in the world

“In places like Iraq or Syria I wouldn’t wait longer than anywhere between seven and 10 minutes before hitching a ride, which was a revelation to me as I expected those countries to be more suspicious of Westerners because of the ongoing tensions,” Mr Villarino recalls.

“Instead, in Syria people would give me a ride – even on motorcycles that were already full with two people on. Once in a village near Aleppo, two locals had argued over who had seen me first and had the right to put me up. Street vendors would run behind me mumbling phrases in Arabic and present me with an orange, attempting to say something to me in the very little English they knew: ‘Welcome to Syria’.

“One Ismaili family (a liberal sect of Islam) insisted that I was already part of their family only after having shared one lunch with them, even though they would never see me again.”

2 . And Tibetans?...not so much

“My longest wait ever was 13 hours 45 minutes (excluding sleep time) in Western Tibet, along road 216 – one of the most isolated roads on Earth. I waited an entire afternoon, went to bed and tried again the next morning. I slept in a nearby guesthouse for which I paid the equivalent of two pounds.

“In terms of my clothes, I am indeed prepared for all weather conditions, but my coldest wait was Patagonia – minus 10°C.”

3. It’s possible to bag a ride in Taliban territory

“Back around 2005, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in the headlines, so I decided to go there by thumb to see in my own terms how ‘evil’ the locals of the so-called ‘Axis of Evil’ were. This formed the premise of my first book.”

Just before reaching the Afghan capital of Kabul, he faced a hairy moment while catching a ride with the police.

“I was told I had chosen to travel through a valley under attack by the Taliban that week. A few days ago a police jeep had been blown away with a rocket propelled grenade. The police were happy to give me a lift to Kabul, but warned they were the target. I decided to get in the jeep and we went across the valley, stopping for one last picnic and a prayer before reaching the Hajigak Pass, and we all crossed our fingers. I was no longer merely a passenger, I had to stay alert. Everybody in the car was firmly holding an AK47 gun and we made it to Kabul safely in the end.”

“Was there ever anyone in Afghanistan more exposed than me – alone, walking by the roadside for a month with no guns, no bodyguards, no vehicle, no credit cards and barely able to speak the local language? Probably not.

“But if I could traverse these countries without suffering any harm, I felt it would cast doubt on the assumption that the people there were just bewildered men wearing turbans, ready to burn American flags and preach to you with the Koran in one hand and an AK47 in the other.”


4. It’s all in the eyes

Securing a ride is a whole body experience, and when it comes down to it, it's all about eye contact. “When you have to traverse tremendous distances, you need to do more than just stick your thumb out,” he said.

It's the moment that you manage to look the driver directly in the eye as the car approaches that will give you a hint of the likelihood of them stopping, he explains.

“When a car doesn’t stop, I always have a gut feeling it will. So I turn around and keep looking at the car even as it’s passed. The driver’s almost always still thinking about it and probably looking at me through the rear view mirror. And a decent percentage of the time, they stop.”

5. Drivers take three seconds to decide whether they’ll stop

“There are a lot of things you can do to let your driver know you are not a threat: dress tidy, avoid wearing sunglasses and make eye contact. Hold up a sign describing the kind of trip you are doing and where you’re heading, like ‘Touring Scotland, from Argentina’ ”, he suggests.

“Basically, your entire body is involved: you don’t stop cars with your thumb. You stop them with your smile.”

Back in 2010, Mr Villarino met fellow Argentinian (and now romantic partner) Laura Lazzarino who contacted him after coming across his book. They were brought together by their shared wanderlust.

“After emailing each other for four months, we met in Northern Argentina and decided right away we wanted to travel together. I completed my South American journey with her.”

“Everything made sense. Not only was she disenchanted by a nine-to-five office life, but she had a huge wanderlust, like me, so it felt like the stars aligned us together.”

While the couple often break off (with Mr Villarino hitchhiking alone) before coming together at a different leg of the journey, the times they’re together make hitching a ride a lot easier.

“A couple subliminally makes a more trustworthy impression than a man alone,” he notes.

“In the Nubian villages along the Sudanese stretch of the Nile, every night we were hosted by local families. I stayed with the men of the family while Laura would spend time in the women’s area. They were so curious about our culture, asking questions that were as personal as you can imagine, such as about how she managed not to have a least three kids by the age of 30,” he recalls.

7. Strangers love sharing their darkest secrets

“I call it the ‘taxi cab effect’. People find it easier to confess things to someone they will never see again. I have had many drivers confessing they were homosexual or that they had just committed adultery.

“Once in Colombia a truck driver invited us to his home where we had lunch, and several hours later, he invited us again to his other home, for dinner – he had two families and told me not so say anything to his wife.

“A truck driver in Spain started crying when we left after a long two-day ride with him. During the journey, he confessed he had never been able to adjust back into society after serving in the Foreign Legion. Another time, a woman who just got divorced a day earlier was crying over the wheel when she stopped the car for me.

“In Italy, somewhere in Salento, a 40-year-old driver and owner of a restaurant offered us lodging. His uncle was a chef and prepared a delicious dinner, accompanied by opera music on a terrace. We sat drinking wine and he confessed he had been in jail for trafficking cocaine from Naples to Milan. He said he had joined the Cosa Nostra [the Sicilian Mafia] and done ‘bad things’, but he was a new man now and wanted to get rid of that past. He said he wanted to give me something from his past that he needed to let go – it was a fisherman’s knife. I didn’t dare ask him what he had done with it, but I felt I couldn’t reject the souvenir from this highly emotionally-disturbed man.”

8. Hitchhiking will make you a ‘people person’

...which is about developing empathy, he explains. “While hitchhiking around the world I have received help and interacted with locals beyond any gender, nationality or ethnic barrier. Mankind has a lot to learn from its amazing capacity to live together.”

“You can’t be afraid of people. Hitchhiking forces you to mix with different people and to challenge your views against theirs.”

His drivers have been: “European, Latin American, Chinese, African, Maori, vegan, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Zoroastrian, Menonite, Buddhist monks, heterosexual, transexual, polygamous, teachers, architects, opera singers, pet hairdressers, robot designers, fashion designers, football players, millionaires with palaces and helicopters, and farmers with a pleiad of children and debts.”

9. There is great beauty in uncertainty

“I love uncertainty – the thrill of guessing which dot on the map I will rest in each night. I’ve gotten lifts in Porsches and donkey-drawn carts and never had to make a hotel booking. I’ve always managed to make friends among locals, sleeping everywhere from monasteries and castles to luxury apartments and farms.

“I have camped in the gardens of Versailles and shared the carpet of a Bedouin tent in the Syrian desert. In subways and parliaments I have shared meals and ideas with beggars and vice presidents alike. I was invited to weddings in Transylvania and ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon rainforest. I have laughed with hashish smugglers and street vendors.”


10. There’s no place like Antarctica

...in terms of incredible landscapes. “Here your existence become a fragile anomaly in a glacial world surrounded by ever-cracking walls of ice, no scents, no sounds or traces of human activity, apart from random research facilities", Mr Villarino explains.

He and his partner spent 10 days in Antarctica hitching a ride on board a cruise ship. Departing Ushuaia (the closest city to Antarctica), they crossed the Drake Passage, where the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Antarctic oceans

“We proceeded to the Antarctic Peninsula, where our ship drifted in the mirror-like frozen waters, visiting several scientific research bases such as Almirante Brown (Argentina), Port Lockroy (UK) and Vernadsky (Ukraine) as well as abandoned whaling stations in the South Shetland Islands. We also passed by some stunning settings such as Le Maire Strait and Paradise Bay.

“Other scenic landscapes we came across included the Tibetan plateau, where I spent one month hitchhiking, boarding trucks full of Lhasa-bound pilgrims and sleeping in monasteries, and the Tanzanian coastline – a brilliant strip of powdery beaches hundreds of kilometres long,” he decsribed.

11. Italy has the most exquisite food in the world

“Travelling through the rural areas of Europe, I have been offered the best food, from French cheeses in France to Italy – my God, Italy. Sitting on the roadside in Tuscany with a litre of Chianti offered by a driver and a piece of pecorino cheese bought at a local market, that was next to heaven,” he recalls.

12. Albanians love a morning booze up

“I fell in love with Albania and Romania. In Albania, we were received as honorary guests by farmers who would bring a tray of Turkish coffee and a local spirit drink to toast with, even in the mornings. It felt like the collapse of communism had allowed the inhabitants of a country formerly so isolated to relate freely with strangers passing through,” he said.

13. Romanians are incredibly generous

In the Maramures region of northern Romania, Mr Villarino recalls getting a lift by a bus full of locals attending a wedding, which they invited him to join. “The three-day celebration saw the groom parading around the bride with a procession of violins and accordions. In Romania drivers would go as far as offering me money, which I’d reject explaining that I’m hitchhiking to meet people, not for the lack of economic resources.”

14. Egyptians are very curious

“In Egypt, a shepherd once asked me if there were stars in the skies of Argentina, thinking they only existed in Egypt. They had heard Syrians had them as well. Another Bedouin there wanted to know if there was rain and Arabs in Argentina

“Hitchhiking became the cornerstone of my broader premise that human beings are intrinsically good, regardless of their cultural background. For me, hitchhiking is much less a means of transportation, and much more a way to shed light on the potential of this intrinsic, neverending, cross-cultural kindness.”

16. The answer to world peace?

“Being on the road I learned that if people would treat their neighbours as they treat strangers, there would be world peace. Realizing how hospitable we can be towards strangers from a different culture on a one-to-one basis should shed light on how we can develop harmony and empathy among the many conflicting communities on our planet.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/acti ... the-world/
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Lincoln » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:57 am

Interesting read Harry,thanks.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Lost Soul » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:05 am

It was a good read. Only, I wonder what happened to #6?
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:57 pm

He was spot on putting Syria on the top of that list. I was required as a condition of entry to change a hundred dollars into Syrian currency upon entry, and I couldn't figure out anyway to spend it.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:54 pm

Ha, ha, good read. I probably got a bit of the bug when my mom and us kids (three of us, dad was back home working for the State) brought a hitchhiker on board with us on part of our trip around Oregon. He was camping next to our camp at the Oregon Dunes National Park (not sure the actual name of it); a young guy (like 22 or something, I, the oldest was maybe 13) hitching from Minnesota. Mom asked if he wanted to travel along with us for a few days which he did; mom sat us kids down and said the time would come when we would depart from him as he wasn't going to come home with us. We did depart, mom left him on I-5 in California at Hwy 99; we taking the latter to get home. We kids were sad.

Mom would also pick up hitchhikers in their new (1978) hood of the Sierra Foothills. When I went away at uni (2 hours away), I took the bus home once; $15 I think and way, way too long time to get home so I always hitched home even, usually, when I had a car at uni. Then hitchhiked around the country with a dormmate one summer between semesters.

Moved on to New Zealand to live, work (four months), and travel in '84 after being graduated. Was hitchhiking after my first week from Aukland to Wellington and a guy pulls over to simply chat; I think one of his kids, if I remember, was going to go abroad to North America. It was a decent chat, but I saw all these potential rides passing me by. Finally a cop pulls over and is like, are you going to give this guy (me) a ride or what? He took off and shortly after a guy about 20 years my senior picks me up, takes me all the way to Aukland and I even helped drive. He was a Canadian national interviewing for what would be his last petrol engineer job with PetroCorp. We split a room when we got into Aukland, partied some (he was pothead) and then caught up again a month or so later; he got the job and we did a lot of playing golf, skiing, and trouble together--his third wife was with him. We are still to this day friends.

But weird, when I was driving 30,000 miles a year as a territorial sales manager in the late 80's, I rarely picked up hitchhikers in and around the Central Coast or interior of California. I don't know, I liked the solitude of being alone in the car.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by 2wilzgood » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:58 pm

Sigh

There was a hey day. Long gone. No guilt.

Loved my thumb, got me everywhere.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:00 am

You got to pick your spot on the road carefully, that makes a big difference. Walk far enough out of town to the point where you filter out most local traffic, and pick a spot where drivers aren't battling with merges, intersections, etc. They have to be able to see you for that minimum of 3 seconds in advance, as mentioned in the article, and they have to have a place to conveniently pull over.

I could tell hitch hiking stories all day long. It really is a great experience.

Good article, and thanks for posting, Harry, although I still think you're a total ass. :lol:

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:20 am

Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:00 am
I could tell hitch hiking stories all day long. It really is a great experience.
I think "hitchhiking" in the sense of a free ride (i.e. not paying money, but sure, maybe "paying"company, conversation, et al) mostly happens in the developed world? Sure, I "hitchhiked" in Cuba, but I paid for my rides on everything that had wheels and moved. Except (and I've written this story before) when a priest picked me up when I was heading to the airport; his English was better than my smattering of Spanish. I tried to give him money as the ride ended, but he wouldn't accept anything. We finally worked out that I would pay something, but it was a donation to the Church not for the ride.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:26 am

In Africa I paid for most rides but very cheap. There is no public transit in some places so paid hitching is the standard way to get around. I almost never paid in Mexico. Mostly truck drivers would stop. I never hitchhiked in US but wouldn’t mind giving it a go.

Actually in Africa I didn’t pay in Algeria and hitchhiking was amazing and I didn’t pay in South Africa. But mostly paid in the rest of Africa

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:27 am

We rented a car in Cuba but we picked up a lot of hitchhikers which was fun. And we didn’t charge them :D

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:07 am

Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:26 am
I never hitchhiked in US but wouldn’t mind giving it a go.
Most of my hitchhiking was in the US. But then I was trying to jump on freight trains then too, late 70's early 80's.
Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:27 am
And we didn’t charge them :D
Of course you wouldn't. When the kids first moved over, I took them skiing (they had to ski first before they were let loose on a snowboard which I don't know how to do), I didn't ski that day, only the day before. As we're leaving the parking lot I say to mini-Wilster...hey, move the fuck over? What? We pull over and pick up an employee (if memory serves me correctly) up who was Brazilian or something working the season for a 10 or 15 minute ride. The kids were like. :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by andybox » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:30 am

Last time I hitched was 2 years ago, was hard going. NZ has been the friendliest hitching experience for me, Bluff to Invercargil daily for a week, never waited more tham a few minutes. Topic of conversation was always rugby. England a close second. Hitched from Harwich to Glouster via a 2 month stint in Bourton on the water. Hitched on the English motorway, much to the police's displeasure. Still, they let a kombi, who'd stopped about 30 seconds prior, take me as far as he was going.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by sodelicious » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:50 am

I really only hitched from Whistler to Vancouver and back, a bit in New Zealand as well.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by GLimpet » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:42 am

if people would treat their neighbours as they treat strangers, there would be world peace
Sure. There is nothing at stake with strangers.

He might as well say, "If only our neighbours would become strangers, there'd be world peace."

I hitchhiked everywhere in Australia, USA, Canada an, UK & Ireland in the 70s and a bit in the 80s.

Then I gave up. Too many creeps, particularly in California.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:06 pm

My biggest problem was getting picked up by drunks, not creeps. Especially Mexican truck drivers, you'd be shocked if you knew what percentage of them drive totally sloshed. The nicer the truck, the less likely the driver is to be drunk is a good rule of thumb.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by simon_in_exile » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:20 pm

I read this article a while ago but didn’t think to post it, so nice one harry. Actually the one I read was I think in the NY Times travel section, written by a South African journalist who hitched with him in Namibia (one of the best places) and South Africa (a nightmare for hitching).
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/201 ... hiker.html

I haven’t hitched anywhere for 15+ years - did it a fair bit in northern Pakistan when doing fieldwork, and in Austria when snowboarding, but not much aside from that. I’m not enough of an extrovert to enjoy hitching regularly - much prefer to be able to switch off if I need to, be it on a train or plane or while cycling.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:23 am

I hitch hiked north through Namibia in 1985, mostly with South Africans reporting for military duty in the war with Angola, and I got a couple of rides in armored personnel carriers and ate combat rations, aka "rat packs".

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:59 am

Steve_in_Exile wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:06 pm
My biggest problem was getting picked up by drunks, not creeps. Especially Mexican truck drivers, you'd be shocked if you knew what percentage of them drive totally sloshed. The nicer the truck, the less likely the driver is to be drunk is a good rule of thumb.
Hitched with a Canadian nurse *shudder* up in Northern Queensland in '84; one would often pair up with each other (male/female) to make getting rides easier (for the guy, but offering something for the gal too). Took us a couple rides to out of Cairns where we then got the full on ride to the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane) where we were heading. The driver had a full load of of crush, scrapped cars on his trailer. There was a family emergency back home (I think his wife pregnant and something going on). He picks us up, getting settled after some k's...he starts popping some white pills, offers them to me, I down them with Coke (Cola). Canadian nurse taps me on the shoulder (she was in the back of the cab of the semi) and says, Wilster, you don't know what those are, you shouldn't be taking them. I was like *shrug* well, our "driver" is taking them and you trust him. Trust me, everything will be kool. I remember being up pretty much all night and copping a snooze before sunrise and us exiting the semi on the Sunshine Coast. Ta mate!

I think there was some money "issue" with him (not that he wanted money from us per se). The Canadian and I pooled some money together to give him when we departed.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by micvan » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:32 am

I hitched in the. 70's a lot . Only way to go if you have no money. . One man suggested his penis and my mouth meet "You'd trust my teeth down there ?"

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by dBrother » Tue May 01, 2018 4:22 am

Yah love the hitch hiking thing..
Hitched melbs to central Queensland and back once, the charlieville cops even gave me a lift after taking me in to extract a long overdue Queensland speeding fine that I'd kinda forgotten about, then they made the Telstra vehicle they'd been following give me a lift to the next town when they were turning off to do a raid on a remote farm house..

Hitched in far far west Sichuan, up near the ethnic Tibetan areas, for about a week, it was paid hitching in most cases, well when it was truck drivers it was, but still easier than learning Chinese to read the bus timetables, cheaper too.

And a bit around Devon and Cornwall in the UK.. all back roads.
People are real friendly there, the ones that pick up hitchhikers..

great way to get around in general
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by BulletPark » Tue May 01, 2018 5:15 am

17 things I learned hitchhiking by BulletPark.

1. It's great way to meet rapists.
2. Are you worn out and ready to go to sleep? Realize that your driver probably is too and picked you up to be the all-night entertainment.
3. More people like the sort of music that you absolutely fucking hate than you realize.
4. They like to sing along with it too.
5. Many people think the politician you want dead is a great, great man and will not stop extolling his saintly qualities ever ever ever they love him love him love him they want his dick in their mouth.6. Not a small amount of them carry "literature".
7. Not a much smaller amount of them carry other things.
8. You can't tell what a car/driver smells like until they pick you up. Then you can tell. Boy howdy.
9. Yes, it's true: drivers like to tell complete strangers their hidden secrets. "I worship Satan"; "I fucked my mom;" and "I was fucked by my Dad" are in the top 20 of these.
10. I hope you like gas station coffee. No one who picks up hitchhikers ever pulls over for a cappuccino at the Beekman Arms.
11. I hope you like the unscenic route. It tends to be the one selected by the driver, and this is actually a good thing as it tends to be the most widely traveled highway. In fact, if the view out the passenger window starts looking scenic, you have a problem. They are trying to find a quaint, peaceful, unspoiled spot to dump your body.
12. Chain-smoking is still a thing.
13. The broken spring in the passenger seat is waiting to tickle your anus with the knife thrust of a hundred Jack-the-Ripper-in-the-Boxes.
14. Death Valley is not a short-cut to anything good.
15. You can never get the passenger-side window down in time to successfully puke out of it.
16. Pit bulls are always owned by people who don't seem to know what they are.
17. Did I say rapists? I meant serial killers.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by fishface » Tue May 01, 2018 7:13 am

I wouldn't mind hitching a ride on a cruise ship.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by leela » Tue May 01, 2018 8:00 am

If it counts as hitching..
(paraphrased as "hi...are you taxi drivers, we need to get to Tashkent". "No, but we're going there, so come along." "Cool, thanks"),
the last ride I took involved us being given a tour of the best bits, being bought lunch at a nice local restaurant, and as one of the guys turned out to be a musician, listening to his own songs on the stereo. It was one of my top ten travel experiences.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by mishmish » Wed May 02, 2018 5:53 pm

Meh. I explored every nook and cranny of the country in the late 70's and early 80s by hitchhiking, usually but not always with travel buddy. It was a fairly acceptable form of transportation at the time, and not at all the thrilling adventure people like to talk about, just convenient. Of course, we don't have those long hauls, so it's a very different experience, no need to stay awake all night (wtf is up with that anyway?I sleep/camp at night, not entertain drivers) or chat or anything like that - usually the trips ended up being a series of rides of up to say three hrs each max, where after polite initial exchanges I just sat quietly in the back seat of a car for an hour or two. All very domestic and cordial.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Wed May 02, 2018 6:39 pm

That was in Israel, Mish?

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by mishmish » Thu May 03, 2018 11:33 am

Oh yes. Mind you, I wouldn't do it nowdays. Nor elsewhere back then.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu May 03, 2018 1:22 pm

I hitched a ride from the Allenby Bridge to Jerusalem, passing by Jerash.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by mishmish » Thu May 03, 2018 3:23 pm

I assume you mean you hitched from Jerash to Jerusalem via Allenby bridge? When was this, and what's it like on the East Bank?

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by polardude1 » Thu May 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Unread post by mishmish » Thu May 03, 2018 3:23 pm

I assume you mean you hitched from Jerash to Jerusalem via Allenby bridge? When was this, and what's it like on the East Bank
A bit more accurate.

Occasionally I hitchhiked in Israel as a civilian, but more while in uniform. Hitchhiking is a no no now in Israel

I hitched all over the US and western Canada in 1984 while doing a series of solo backpack outings in select North American parks
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Homerj » Thu May 03, 2018 3:30 pm

Sorry but I call BS on hitching a ride in Antartica.
Even the cheapest Russian ships run $4K/person for an inside cabin on a 10 day itinerary.
I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes!

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by mishmish » Thu May 03, 2018 5:06 pm

Definitely bullshit Homer. The entire story reeks of it actually. Romanticized and coolified, on-the-road stories are the meme that won't die.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by polardude1 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:10 pm

12. Chain-smoking is still a thing.
tell me about. My longest ride in the US was with a chain smoking driver
14. Death Valley is not a short-cut to anything good.
Well that can be almost true. I made it to Nevada and Utah from California via Death Valley
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Citizen Baba » Thu May 03, 2018 6:28 pm

How many times did you get offered blow jobs, hairy?

The only time I hitchhiked was on Cheju Island in Korea. I got picked up by a Buddhist monk eating tangerines. He didn't offer to blow me, but maybe only because he didn't speak English.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Thu May 03, 2018 9:19 pm

Sorry, I meant I passed by Jericho, not Jerash. My bad. Although I also was in Jordan and Jerash.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Lost Soul » Fri May 04, 2018 1:08 pm

BulletPark wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 5:15 am
17 things I learned hitchhiking by BulletPark.

1. It's great way to meet rapists.
2. Are you worn out and ready to go to sleep? Realize that your driver probably is too and picked you up to be the all-night entertainment.
3. More people like the sort of music that you absolutely fucking hate than you realize.
4. They like to sing along with it too.
5. Many people think the politician you want dead is a great, great man and will not stop extolling his saintly qualities ever ever ever they love him love him love him they want his dick in their mouth.6. Not a small amount of them carry "literature".
7. Not a much smaller amount of them carry other things.
8. You can't tell what a car/driver smells like until they pick you up. Then you can tell. Boy howdy.
9. Yes, it's true: drivers like to tell complete strangers their hidden secrets. "I worship Satan"; "I fucked my mom;" and "I was fucked by my Dad" are in the top 20 of these.
10. I hope you like gas station coffee. No one who picks up hitchhikers ever pulls over for a cappuccino at the Beekman Arms.
11. I hope you like the unscenic route. It tends to be the one selected by the driver, and this is actually a good thing as it tends to be the most widely traveled highway. In fact, if the view out the passenger window starts looking scenic, you have a problem. They are trying to find a quaint, peaceful, unspoiled spot to dump your body.
12. Chain-smoking is still a thing.
13. The broken spring in the passenger seat is waiting to tickle your anus with the knife thrust of a hundred Jack-the-Ripper-in-the-Boxes.
14. Death Valley is not a short-cut to anything good.
15. You can never get the passenger-side window down in time to successfully puke out of it.
16. Pit bulls are always owned by people who don't seem to know what they are.
17. Did I say rapists? I meant serial killers.
Thank you for subversively including #6. Finally, we have closure.

As for #14, it is useful to get from Vegas to Mount Whitney and Mammoth Mountain.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by strife » Fri May 04, 2018 4:55 pm

I've hitchhiked all over the Upper Midwest in the US in the early 90s, and southwestern France and northern Spain a few years later. I was invited into more than one home for dinner and/or an overnight stay, as I was rarely going anywhere in particular. One couple in Foix put me up for a whole weekend, seemingly delighted to have encountered a French-speaking American kid wandering the sticks. Caught a ride another time over the stunning Port d'Envilira to Andorra with a kindly retired Canadian couple. Hitchhiked Cuba and Nicaragua too, where it's customary to pay.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by strife » Fri May 04, 2018 5:07 pm

Forgot about how good hitchhiking was in Ireland.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Fri May 04, 2018 5:41 pm

mishmish wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 5:06 pm
Definitely bullshit Homer. The entire story reeks of it actually. Romanticized and coolified, on-the-road stories are the meme that won't die.
Honestly my experiences hitchhiking over a period of years were pretty close to how the author described it. I had too many interesting or funny on the road experiences to possibly count. I wouldn't know where to start.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Fri May 04, 2018 7:57 pm

Hitching in 1980 during part of a summer between semesters with a dorm mate. Guess where we are heading to?

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Lincoln » Fri May 04, 2018 8:00 pm

Why is your mate holding a sign saying "In the back"?...is that a euphemism ?

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Wilster » Fri May 04, 2018 8:33 pm

Lincoln wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 8:00 pm
Why is your mate holding a sign saying "In the back"?...is that a euphemism ?
This was when you could ride in the back of a pickup without seats/seatbelts. So when we saw a pickup approaching we held up that sign. We had a lot of signs for different things we wished to convey. And no, before you ask, we didn't have one that read: "WE HAVE WEED!"

Most people just picked you up to give you a ride, regardless of what the sign actually said.
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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by kotagiri_tea_planter » Sat May 05, 2018 5:09 pm

Last time I hitched was Mongolia a few years ago. Wasn't really by choice. Everything went to and from UB (point A). I was trying to get from let's say point C to point H. I'd get a ride in point C saying well yeah we're going to point D but there you'll get a ride to point H. And I show up in point D and am told well yeah we're going to point E but there you'll get a ride to point H. And so on. Until finally getting a ride to point H. A ride with a father, mother, and teenage son where the father decided that the middle of the night in a rainstorm on a muddy mountainous dirt track would be a good time to take a nap and let the kid learn how to drive in such conditions.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sat May 05, 2018 5:26 pm

Hitchhiking across Darfur province, Sudan. These were the last few motorized rides I had just before doing over 500K by donkey, camel, and walking, and most of it was walking. And it took about a week to go 120 km on that Landrover because of impassable rain swollen wadis--would have been faster to have walked that part as well.
Image
Image

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sat May 05, 2018 5:35 pm

Cool pic, Wilster! You guys had your shit together.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by RedsailsII » Thu May 31, 2018 6:40 pm

Interesting article, thanks.

I hitched all over the world back in the last millennium.

1. From Santa Barbara to LA in college. Also, up and down Highway 1 to visit friends in the Bay Area.

2. All over Spain whilst studying at the Universidad Cumplutense in Madrid while the students were on strike for two months. Then all over Western Europe.

3. From Mexico City to Veracruz, then from Merida, Yucatan to Panama City. It got pretty wild in eastern Guatemala for awhile.

4. Then all over Brazil while I was living there.

5. HItched on all four of Japan's main islands.

When driving, I'm always looking to pick up hitchers in order to repay the good will. But you don't see them anymore except on islands.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Geoffers » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:44 am

In 84 hitching from Townsville to Darwin I was picked up by the Milat brothers, I didn't know that they were the backpacker murderers, but got enough of their vibe to turn down the beer offered. I was on full alert when the brother who hasn't been convicted said "another dead Kiwi", refering to me. I still think the reason they didn't murder me was because I turned down the beer.
Still, it didn't stop me from hitching in NZ, USA, Mexico, Ecuador,Peru, and anywhere else public transport isn't up to the job.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Lincoln » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:57 am

Fcuking hell Geoffers...that was a close one!

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by Andrea1 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:26 pm

I set off hitching around the world in 1982 from Le Havre with a mate. Got as far as Brindisi, took a ferry to Greece. Took another ferry to Haifa and spent the next two years in Israel, hitch-hiked a lot in Israel, everyone did, a bit in Egypt. Have hitch-hiked a lot in Europe, some in Asia - Japan and Thailand.

It was brilliant, met some wonderful, kind people, ended up staying in homes, learned loads. Only one time did I have a bad experience - hitching from the outskirts of Paris to Normandy, once. A guy picked me up, drove off the main road, into a wooded area - gave me the option of having sex with him or him dumping me there. My French wasn't great so I wasn't exactly certain that I understood, so I asked him to repeat himself. Anyway, I got out, had no clue where I was, started walking, a car came by, put my hand out, he stopped. When I told him where I was going, he said he wasn't going there but he'd take me to a better hitching stop. He then proceeded to tell me (lecture) that where he'd picked me up wasn't very good! I didn't tell him what'd happened.

I occasionally feel the (nostalgic) urge to hitch, but stop myself. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing and I had a good run, good memories.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by dBrother » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:09 pm

Geoffers wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:44 am
In 84 hitching from Townsville to Darwin I was picked up by the Milat brothers, I didn't know that they were the backpacker murderers, but got enough of their vibe to turn down the beer offered. I was on full alert when the brother who hasn't been convicted said "another dead Kiwi", refering to me. I still think the reason they didn't murder me was because I turned down the beer.
Still, it didn't stop me from hitching in NZ, USA, Mexico, Ecuador,Peru, and anywhere else public transport isn't up to the job.
me brother got a lift with ivan milat sometime in the early eighties aswell, around the sunshine coast hinterland in sth east qld, he got the bad milat vibe too, but he was fit at the time and would've put up a fight, anyhow, he regognized milat when he made the papers years later..

I've mentioned it before... viewtopic.php?f=5&t=153058&p=3164505&hi ... t#p3164505
.

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Re: 17 things I learned hitchhiking around the world

Post by adi » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:42 am

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