When talking about hitchhiking – whether in the car or in a bar – I get asked many of the same questions. In the beginning days I had already compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions in my dear old notebook. Since some of you might want to ask the same thing, I decided to copy these questions and more here for your benefit. Most of the answers are valid for both hitchhiking and traveling solo (as a woman).
Q. Aren’t you scared when hitchhiking?
A. No. You can’t be scared. I truly believe that fear can be smelled of you, so a potential creep would know (s)he has an advantage. My personal experience is that the times I was scared, bad shit would ensue.
Q. So, do you often flash your tits to get a ride?
A. Never. Not that anyone would be impressed.
Q. How do you fund your trips/what’s your daily budget/(how much) do you save for your travels?
A. I wrote a little piece for you right here! I know the answer is unsatisfactory, but would it really help your travels if you had a more specific answer from me specifically?
Q. Any question starting with “When…?“
A. I don’t know.
Q. Are you a feminist?
A. Of course.
Q. Where is your boyfriend?
Q. But men!!!11!!!1!
An average day hitchhiking is usually really dependent on where I wake up – whether that’s a freecamping spot or someone’s home – and what the hitchhiking goal is for that day. If I’m just regularly hitchhiking and not speed hitchhiking, I get up at some time between 6 and 10 a.m. Depending on the availability of a shower and stand-by breakfast, I’ll do those things first. If I’m freecamping I wake up at sunrise and smoke a cigarette outside of my tent as the first thing in morning – gross, I know – and appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. Freecamping requires leaving early as it’s illegal in most countries, so I roll up my sleeping bag and mattress, break down and pack up my tent and get lost asap! Of course, I take my trash with me when I leave. The first thing I do at the road is observe traffic: how many cars are passing in ten minutes, how many have space for me and my backpack, what their number plate tells me and how people interact with me from their cars. This information is vital in telling me how easy/tough of a day I’ll have. Then I put up my thumb, stop a car in a given time and take a ride with (mostly friendly) strangers towards my destination. My day is full of interesting conversation. I do this, with little breaks for food, drink, toilet and WiFi (to update you people!) until I get to my desired destination. If I don’t make it there, I find a freecamping spot or occasionally get invited to someone’s home. For staying long-term in a place, I message potential hosts on Couchsurfing or find a host in the myriad of Facebook groups that are out there to make instant new friends. After a successful day of hitchhiking, I enjoy the evening with a beer and some more conversation!
All your answers can be found in this little piece I wrote about Budgeting. Enjoy!
I started hitchhiking in 2012 when I was on study semester abroad in Aarhus, Denmark. Some of my roommates hitchhiked and it all sounded very excited. One day I felt like going to the west coast of Denmark, so I woke up my roommate and asked if he wanted to join. It took some eight rides to get there and we had to take the train back, but it set the precedent for going about it alone. A few weeks later I had my first solo hitches in Kirkenes, Norway, and it took my fears away as everything went fine. Flash forward to November 2013: I quit my studies after being fed up with them for a long time already. First thing I do? Pick up my packed backpack and hitchhike to a friend in Belgium, then onward to the UK to visit more friends. Since then I haven’t stopped!
I have no clue! Of course I wish to continue hitchhiking as long as possible, but something might happen that changes everything – much like the way I started doing this. Any serious injury could put a sad end to my adventures as hitchhiking also involves a lot of hiking, too. Though I can’t see how, there’s a possibility I might get bored with hitchhiking one day, as anything can become a routine!
One thing I can say for sure, is that hitchhiking changes once you get older. I already get a load of questions (at 24!) of why I’m not settled down or don’t have children and I think people might get more reluctant to stop their cars for a woman who “should have her life sorted by now” than someone who still looks like a student. However, many mature hitchhikers out there prove the opposite/still don’t give a shit for those ageist notions and continue to give people the thumbs up.
Another worry I have is about self-driving cars… a robot won’t stop for hitchhikers. Will this be the end of hitchhiking? Can someone please make an app for those self-driving cars to recognize hitchhikers and stop for them?
These are mostly worries about the future though, so I think I’ll just Go with the flow until something stops me!