Yinj Tan — Hitchhiker Spotlight 🔦

On Fridays, we put a hitchhiker in the *spotlight. This week it’s Yinj Tan! Scroll down to read hitchhiking stories from her journeys. This spotlight first appeared on the 2nd of October 2020 in the NOMADS – Hitchhiking Club

About Yinj

  • First hitch: I guess it was 2014, back when I was still working in Singapore. I went to a walk with a friend and a couchsurfer, we got really tired to walk to the bus stop and the couchsurfer saw some other people hitchhiking, so he also tried and a lady driving a Mercedes sports car stopped and gave us a ride
2 2015 - New Zealand hitchhiker lady met in Sofia, Bulgaria Yinj Tan

2015 – I met this lovely kiwi lady while waiting for a ride at Sofia, Bulgaria. We then teamed up and hitchhiked together to Thessaloniki, then on to Athens. I never waited too long hitchhiking with her although so many people told me hitchhiking in Greece = long wait. Maybe a great companion makes the waiting time pass so fast 🙂 We met again while I came to visit New Zealand and she invited me to stay with her parents

  • Solo experience: To be honest, I am a very shy person, I only started hitchhiking by myself when the person who taught me how to hitchhike was heading a different direction in southern China. And when I finally got a ride, I was so nervous, and thought I will get kidnapped when they stopped in front of a stall. Turned out they were buying me a bottle of water and pickled chicken feet 😅 they were the minority people (Bai ethnicity) in China, they have made my first serious hitch such an incredible experience. Since then, I try to hitch whenever I can—although I have to go through 100 times of questioning myself whether I should hitch, haha

Left: 2015 – I hitchhiked with them into Hungary from Romania. It was a tough day. My Asian face made hitching into the Schengen zone very difficult even though I hold a Malaysian passport. A lot of people stopped and said good luck but none taking me through. Finally, these guys stopped and picked me up, didn’t complain even though it took them longer to go through the border because of me. And then they took me to the best Hungarian meal I ever had on the way to Budapest. Right: Hitchhiker graffiti at a Hannover (Germany) service station. I guess on one of the most hitched stops

  • Travel expertise: I traveled for about five years (2013-2018) mixed with working holiday breaks and a few short-term jobs in between. My travel experiences are mostly in Asia. My first solo trip went overland from Thailand to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and then China. From China, I flew to Nepal. The second trip was because of an invitation to celebrate Christmas in Germany, so I started from China to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and as I ran out of time, I took a flight to Russia. From Russia, I hitched to Germany. I then spent my time hitchhiking in Europe until my working holiday in Australia – for which I needed a special visa – and New Zealand where I met my partner Aidan. He also wanted to travel, so he quit his job and left with me to South America. After that, we went to Europe and Malaysia
  • Passport and languages: Malaysian passport, I speak Chinese, English, and Malay. My Spanish is very basic
5 2017 Yinj Tan Aidan hitchhiking Argentina parilla

2017 – There is a saying that the longest wait is normally the best. On a road that we barely see any car, this couple turned and reorganized their very full car to give Aidan and me a ride. That was our second week in South America with hardly any Spanish spoken. We communicated via google translate and “mate” (🧉), they then invited us to travel together with them for a bit and made us parilla (Argentinian BBQ). Of course, an invitation to their home and we still keep in touch via their daughter who speaks fluent English

  • Currently in: New Zealand, where we have a car now. But we only picked up 2 groups of hitchhikers as there are not many in the city. But New Zealand is really easy for hitchhiking, there was one time we saw a guy but we were driving too fast, we made a turn in order to pick him up, but when we got there, there was already another car there picking him up 😂

Left: 2015 – Taken in Georgia by a cyclist friend who biked from the UK back to Singapore. The rabbit belongs to 2 Japanese cyclists who were also nurses. They traveled by bicycle so that they can access rural areas to provide medical aid. Someone had given them this rabbit in Iran. Right: 2016 – In New Zealand, Southern scenic route. This brother-sister duo gave me a ride, showed me the best spot for swimming with dolphins, then invited me to their home and started playing music together with their parents. Never ever doubt kiwi hospitality

Hitchhiking into Brazil from Argentina by Accident

This happened in 2018. Because the locals don’t need to do the border crossing procedure, and we don’t really speak Portuguese, we got driven into Brazil without getting our passport stamp 🤣 We had to ask the driver to bring us back to do the border crossing procedure, using our broken Spanish and sign language

Left: 2018 – While hitchhiking at El Chalten (Argentina), this photo was taken by Aidan. There was a long queue of hitchhikers. If I am not mistaken we were the 5th group. Until all groups got picked up, finally it was our turn and we got a ride from a couple from Milan. We then met them again in Milan for Aperitivo. Right: 2017 – In Jujuy province, when no car stopped and we had run out of water, a local who went to a festival gave us some beer. We had to stay a night there and then only learned that this is the hottest region of Argentina. People usually drive at night as the temperature during the day is too hot and could burn their engine. Never wear a white T-shirt while hitchhiking

Follow Yinj’s Journeys

Follow her on Instagram

How to Nominate a Hitchhiker

Make sure that your favorite hitchhiker is in the “NOMADS – Hitchhiking Club” Facebook group or invite them. Once they’re in, get in contact with me via the contact form. That way I can see your nomination and get into contact with the nominee 😀

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In this hitchhiker spotlight, Yinj Tan shares some stories from her hitchhiking journeys from various countries such as Bulgaria, China, and Argentina Yinj Tan is featured in this week's hitchhiker spotlight. She first got introduced to the concept in Singapore and has since adventured to multiple continents, working in places along the way

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