It’s not easy to find a better way for two people to travel 4000km for $175. 16 rides, 79 hours, 5 provinces. And the majority of that big spending was for one lovely night of luxury in a hotel.
I’ve been hitchhiking a LOT, for 20 years now, and I still hitchhike by choice. It’s not because I can’t afford to drive, but because it’s so much more interesting in every way to hitch there when there’s someplace to go.
The book I “mean” to write about how to change your life through hitchhiking isn’t writing itself, but someday, it’ll come out. With well over 2000 rides on my hitching thumb, I stand by my advocating that more people should hitchhike. It is safe, it’s fun, it is always educational, and of course it’s nearly free. Oh, and of course, environmental.
I want more people to get out on the road and embrace the adventure. You never know who you’ll meet, and I promise, you’ll meet people that you just wouldn’t get to know in any other context.
Just on this trip, we got rides from a dentist, an actor, a farmer, a grandma, a young mother, a student, an accountant, and a geologist. We were often in big trucks, and truckers are a whole subculture of their own (they’re going to get a whole chapter.) We heard stories to beat the band, got invited on a detour to see Norwegian horses, and delved for free dental hygiene advice.
I haven’t done a cross-country winter trip for some time, nor done it with company, but I just crossed the cold country of Canada in December, with my new husband in tow. It went spectacularly well. I think it may be a PB speed record, too, considering we maximized our mid-trip hotel night.
Winter weather definitely adds a significant variable to the whole hitchhiking game, but as is often the case, it’s about being prepared. Besides, it’s just not an adventure until there’s some challenge or at least, a sense of throwing yourself on faith in the unknown (that’s the best part). It always, always turns out just fine.
We had great weather on the whole. There was one night in Regina when we got dropped out of a truck at 4 am and thought we could wait it out on the road until the sun came up, but we couldn’t.
We beat a hard retreat to the shining beacon of warm 24-hour light that was Tim Horton’s, and warmed up with white hot chocolates until dawn. There was a tense moment in Mattawa, where they just don’t have decent shoulders anywhere.
I just haven’t come to terms with the smokers yet. IMO, people who smoke in their vehicles are the only real downside of hitching. I am so sensitive to cigarette smoke I feel like I’m being slowly murdered when I’m trapped in the cab with a smoker, and try as I might to not breathe, I still get headachey and nauseous. It seems a great deal of people in the world still smoke, and I have yet to find an answer to this problem. Hmm.