I took this hitchselfie with my four Kurdish truck drivers while hitchhiking in southeastern Turkey. I don’t remember exactly where this was. But from the date I posted it, I’m assuming it was somewhere between Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep. Somehow in my mind, this happened between Batman and Diyarbakır or Van and Batman. I don’t remember exactly and I can’t find the original photo! Anyway, this is a short story about trusting one’s gut feeling when hitchhiking.
Anyway, this truck stopped to pick me up in the morning. I said hello in Turkish and asked where they were headed. They were already making extra space for me and their direction was good. So I hopped in. I soon figured out they were speaking Kurdish with each other, so I said “spas dikim!” which broke down the initial awkwardness and started a conversation. They wanted to know if I knew more Kurdish words, but I didn’t. Not really.
Now you might think, why on earth would you get into a truck with FOUR men? Well, my initial reaction when they opened the door was that they were nice people. I trust my gut feeling a lot more than the assumption that a group of men will always begin to misbehave around a person who presents as female.
I posed this question in the NOMADS group:
Asking the female solo hitchhikers: do you ever hitchhike with a group of multiple guys present (and no women or children)? What are your safety criteria for entering a car with only men present? Age? Having a language in common? Not sitting next to them? Or is your #gutfeeling the only thing guiding you?
Even though I also have a few rules, I tend to bend or break them whenever my gut feeling tells me it’s okay. A gut feeling is something to work on and develop; you don’t just have it, especially if you grow up in a society without much experimentation or adventure. My gut feeling has been much more accurate than whenever someone tells me that this guy is trustworthy. In my experience, if you put a group of men together, they will either increase the standard of behavior or decrease it. This will depend on who’s the moral leader in the group and how well the guys know each other. I had a feeling some of these men were also hitchhiking with this truck driver, which means some of them are strangers.
If one of them was a creepy pervert, I would have smelled that out before I’d gotten in.
The ride went as expected: we drove in comfortable conversation followed by silence. Then when I said this is my exit, they stopped the truck, shook hands, and said goodbye.
My gut feeling was right. Luck had nothing to do with it. And there’s nothing brave about this.