Take It Slow: 20000 Kilometers Hitched in South America

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to get a better insight into how long my hitchhiking trips have been. It has also inspired me to take a look at the current leg of my three-year trip and tadaaa! it turns out I was about to cross the 20000 kilometers hitched mark in South America alone. That’s actually pretty slow! To clarify for non-metric people: that’s 12427 miles by thumb and foot overland.

Why do I care? I don’t. Other people seem to care, though, and keeping some statistics can be fun. Other people asking stuff is the main reason I have (guesstimated) answers to questions like “How many countries have you traveled to?”, “What’s your average waiting time?” , and “Where are you from?” . Foremost, it’s other people that get a little bit of insight into my life by asking these questions—and I’d like to answer them as accurately as possible.

Since it’s other people who are asking me these questions, I don’t understand the hate towards country counters. They say “you shouldn’t put a number on travel” and “stop ticking off the countries, experience them”. Why? I better have answers; it’s one of my most-asked questions!

Every now and then, you get to a nice and round number, like 20000. It’s pleasing to the eyes. Besides, it’s just fun to have a reason to celebrate something. It’s a friendly number if we’re talking about kilometers hitchhiked in South America. Because I’ve been in South America for one year now, you can do even more fun things with that number. On average, I’ve been moving at a speed of 55 kilometers per day (20000/365) for the past year, even on the days I didn’t hitchhike. Likewise, that adds up to moving 2.3 kilometers per hour. Even in my sleep, I’ve been moving about!

Admittedly, I have no clue if that’s a lot or very little compared to another 25-year-old with a different lifestyle. I think there are many people with a daily commute of more than 55 kilometers, either with their own form of transportation (bike, car) or with public options. I just know that I spent my last year traveling a great number of kilometers with nearly no overlap on the routes I’ve taken, which I call “backtracking”, and completely relying on other people’s willingness to have a chat with me in their vehicle. That’s just one way to live, and it happens to be something I truly enjoy. Many people think hitchhiking is awfully tiring and time-consuming. They wouldn’t swap with me and frankly, I wouldn’t want to swap with them. In other words: no choice is better; it’s all just personal.


Just don’t let anyone tell you that hitchhiking isn’t a valid mode of transportation!


Slow or fast, 20000 kilometers is something, whether you keep stats or not. Meanwhile, I’m on to the next 10000.


Do you keep any personal statistics? Do you think hitchhiking is an underrated way to get around? Or completely overrated? Have any suggestions for stats I ought to keep track of? Leave a comment! Take a peek at some of my previous hitchhiking routes on my trips page. I sometimes update my HitchWiki profile with minor stats.

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20.000 kilometers hitched in south america take it slow

6 thoughts on “Take It Slow: 20000 Kilometers Hitched in South America

  1. I also count stuff – the countries I’ve visited during the current journey, kilometers hitchhiked.. It really empowers me to think that by (mostly) hitchhiking I’ve visited seven countries in a month, and travelled around 2500 km. As long as people are enjoying the journey, nothing wrong about counting, in my opinion. And I don’t think any HH-ers would do it only to count kilometers, but if they do, nothing wrong about it either 🙂 Congratulations on your 20,000!

    • Thanks Nina! Exactly 🙂 “you do you” as I like to say. It’s great to have some insights into one’s travels. When hitchhiking, it’s a good reminder of how putting in some effort yields these awesome rewards, like friendships and random acts of kindness. Hope your journey continues adding up to awesomeness! 😉

      • Some of my best memories hitchhiking came when I no one picked me up for many hours, and I was forced to make alternate plans. Like sleeping on the beach!

  2. I love reading about your hitchhiking trips, Iris! Please, keep us updated.

    • That’s sweet thank you 🙂 as long as I’m hitchhiking there will be new stories!
      Greetings from Perú 🙂

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