hitchhiking tales




In AMT299 we revealed how, in the matter of hitchhiking, none of us have ever given or received. But Jezz has written in with first-hand tales from the road:

Back in the early 1990s I spent about a year in total (over 4 years) hitchhiking around Southern Africa, Europe and Asia. During that time I had some lifts with some very interesting people, including a wealthy witch doctor from Lesotho.

The place where my girlfriend of the time and I got the strangest lifts was during our 3 weeks in Turkey. Whilst there we got a lift off a school bus full of children and a speedboat (we were trying for a car, but the speedboat did the trick). But the strangest of all was when a fire engine stopped for us. They told us to get on quickly (we did), and just few miles later we were told to get off quickly again (we did). We then watched the fire engine turn down a side road towards some smoke in the distance!

The easiest places to hitchhike, in my opinion, are Turkey, New Zealand – where there are no towns, and friendly people, so when you get picked up, you will usually go all the way to your destination – and Japan, where the locals don’t understand the rules. I once got a lift just outside the place where I was living, and was taken for about a 2-hour ride to the city I was intending to go to. When I was dropped off, I asked my lift where they were heading to next. It turned out that they were only planning to drive around the corner, and so had done a 4-hour round trip for no reason, other than that was where I said I was going to.

One last point: I got my first post-university job from hitchhiking. I had a 2-hour lift in France with an English guy, who turned out to be a metal trader. By the end of the lift, I had a job, and got to travel around the world on business trips – and also led me to getting my longest ever hitch of 13 days, when I went from the UK to Almaty, Kazakhstan to buy some Indium, but to have the experience of seeing Russia along the way. This was back in 1994, and it was a *very* interesting time to do that route.

Does anyone else have happy hitchhiking stories (ie ones which didn’t end with them being murdered by Rutger Hauer) to share in the comments?

And does anyone else feel, like me, that they’d rather pay to travel via some other method just so they don’t have to make chat for four hours with a stranger.


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3 Responses to “hitchhiking tales”

  1. Tim Shey Says:

    I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of 18 years.


    “Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch”

  2. Valerie Says:

    I have a second-hand hitch-hiking story from my parents:

    Back in the late 70’s my parents once picked up a hitchhiker. They picked him up on the highway and he was going to the same city as they were headed. It was in the evening during the winter.

    My parents car had seen better days. They are happily driving along with this man in their back seat. The sun goes down and it starts to snow. The car’s windshield wipers no longer worked. They had tied strings to them so they could manually move them back and forth. They had to have the windows open to do this. It got very cold in the car with the windows open so they just kept putting on more and more clothes. They had to lend some to the hitchhiker from their bags also.

    Since the last time my parents had been to this city they had done construction on the highway. It use to go straight through the center of the city and now went around it. You had to take an exit. Both my parents had grown up there so they were not looking for these new exits.

    They proceeded to drive completely past the city. This is all happening in Northern New Mexico, so outside of the cities there is nothing else around. The hitchhiker was telling them they missed the exit, but my parents assured him they knew where they were going and it was fine. The hitchhiker started to freak out and tried to get them to let him off on the side of the road. I believe he thought they were taking him into the wilderness to murder him and he was safer on the side of the road in a snow storm.

    My parents finally figured it out turned around and dropped the man off downtown. He left as quickly as possible from the car. I think he probably thought twice the next time he hitchhiked. It always tickled me as a kid to think that man went around telling friends about this insane couple that use strings to operate their windshield and tried to drive him into the wilderness.

  3. jarthurstormer Says:

    it’s not hitchhiking, but i’m a university student and being as it’s the beginning of the new school year there are organizations everywhere giving away free food to try to capture the interest of students. but i’ve decided that it’s not worth it; i’d rather bike past them off campus to pay for food than stand in line talking to idiots.

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