Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hitchhiking is incredible!!!

There's no reason not to be absolutely thrilled with the results we've had. Today we caught a single ride (from two college students on spring break) from Phoenix to Yuma. We could've taken that ride all the way to San Diego, but hitching has been so easy for us, we can be even more leisurely about our travel. Stina has second cousins in Yuma, so we stopped to meet them here and relax for the night. Our rides have come from the most diverse assortment of people: White, Black, Hispanic, Chicano, American Indian, Men, Women, Families, Couples, Individuals, Academics, Laborers, Artists, Petty Bourgeoisie, Over 65, Under 21, Between 21 and 65, Pick up hitchhikers all the time, Never picked up a hitchhiker before, Christian, Atheist, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, No-Wing, Ranchers, City-folk, Small Towns, Farmers...
People often ask us to describe the most common kind of person who picks us up. The answer is: there isn't one. I could go on at length about how each individual is unique and brings their own personal history to the table, and none of them is common. I could tell you about the couple who collects nutcrackers and travels to nutcracker conventions most years or the man who told us about his aversion to banks, because he's so far in debt, if he ever puts money in the bank, it gets seized, but the truth is, even without accounting for the nuances that make each of us different, the people who pick us up come from a broad cross section of humanity. The only thing that unites them is their ability to trust complete strangers, and that same quality unites them with us. You might be surprised what a defining quality that is. It leads to openness and comfort.
I've been thinking lately about what makes a person derive a philosophy from their actions. For the most part, I've been feeling a little cynical about it. But coming with glee upon this hitchhiking journey, I must confess, I want to espouse hitchhiking as a philosophy. Of course I want to do it safely, and of course I want others to, but neither Stina nor I have had any encounters that have felt the slightest bit unsafe because of the other person (absent seatbelts feel unsafe...). And so, I feel it is safe. I want it to be legal. I want it to be commonplace. I want it to be recognized as a legitimate form of travel and a legitimate way to make new friends.
Hooray for hitchhiking!!!!


Anim Cara said...

Still incredible? Don't hitchhike at night!

Anim Cara said...

Okay! Peace Corp Volunteers is good. Now I can go to sleep.

Dottie D said...

Hey there, I agree with you that hitch hiking should be a philosophy. I hitch hiked for the first time this summer, from may until september around bc. I am working on one my last papers for my degree and i want to write about hitch hiking. I think it would be great to get a quote from you, or statement about what you think hitch hiking is and what it does for us. please feel free to contact me anytime at
thankyou peace!