A guide to the ancient art of hitchhiking.
In the safety-conscious age of consumer travel, hitchhiking is one of the few opportunities for real adventure. Whilst the fears sewn by the modern media have drastically reduced the numbers of hitchers seen by the roadside in recent years, it’s still a very viable way of traveling around the world.
Hitchhiking is one of the best ways to really get to know the underbelly of a country. You get to meet a random cross-section of people and make connections with all walks of life. The driver could be a philosopher, a policeman, a hippy or a religious nut. You get to show hours of your company with people who you probably would never have cause to meet. It’s a roll of the dice and that, of course, is what every experience junky lives for.
Safety can be an issue and women hitching alone in certain countries are likely to run into trouble but, in general, if you use your common sense and a little but of intuition then there’s no real cause to worry. Sure, hitching across the Gulf States in a mini skirt and a I Love George Bush T-shirt probably isn’t the way to go. But if you respect the local values and traditions and follow the advice below then you should be okay.
Thanks to the internet, hitchhiking has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years with various hitching sites providing resources and tips on how to leave major cities and there’s even now an annual hitchhiker’s convention – better get some miles under your belt first if you want to hang out with the longest thumbs on the road.