Don’t Panic: European Hitchhiking Trends of Our Days

The Heart of Gold’s Improbability Drive made it the most powerful and unpredictable ship in existence. There was nothing it couldn’t do, provided you knew exactly how improbable it was that the thing you wanted it to do would ever happen…

’The daaaaay is beauuuuutiful!’ he yelled into my face as soon as I scrambled up into the truck cabin. The driver repeated this word, ‘beautiful’, about 26 times during our 45-minute drive from Frederikshavn to Aalborg.

I looked out of the window. Just pissing rain and ceaseless wind in the gray early Danish spring.

‘My last drive of the season! I am going to dump this truck at home and in a few weeks set sailing towards Scotland on my boat!’ he continued, and I thought that this is probably the happiest person I met in a very long time. He had nothing to complain about, and had the entire world rested on his palm.

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He lived in a little fairy harbor of Aalborg, Fjordbyen, where all houses seem to be taken out of Oz or Wonderland, slightly inflated and sprinkled along the fjord. He drove me right there, took me to the tiny pub filled with other happy people, and treated me to some coffee.

‘I have a perfect job. I drive when I feel like it, then take a whole season off and go sailing, or hang out with friends. Here in Fjordbyen, we do not need anything from the outside world. We are like a town inside a town. We don’t even need police – nothing ever happens here’.

I thought that it’d be a perfect setting for a bloody murder mystery.

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In July, I was hitching a long distance from Alicante up to Donostia, which would take roughly 6 hours of non-stop driving. I was preparing myself to spend a night at some gas station in the middle of nowhere if needed. However, miraculously came Manuel, a señor from Donostia who was driving right there from Alicante where he lived. What were the odds of me getting a direct ride from A to B in the middle of the week? As good as getting picked up by a ship powered by infinite improbability drive.

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From the yellow plains of Valencia through red deserted highways of Aragón, into the misty hills of Euskadi, we made around 10 coffee breaks and at least 5 sightseeing stops, among the chatting, political discussions and storytelling. Manuel drove extra 50 kilometers to drop me off in the town where I was staying, and bid me farewell.

‘Here is my email. If you need a ride someday, message me – maybe I will be driving your way,’ he smiled. ‘Or just send me some pictures from all the marvelous places you will be visiting’.

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A week later, I was standing under the pouring rain on a gas station near Hondarribia, by the Basque-French border.

It was not going well at all. After at least one hour of waiting, no one even stopped to pick me up, and I was getting pissed off and pissed on by the rain.

’No one is stopping because people do not like taking hitchhikers across the border, although there is no border between Spain and France anymore. You Europeans are weird. Hop on, we have a place for you!’ the guy that approached me said in a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. Him and his female co-driver have been watching my miserable attempts to get out of here for the past hour, from their truck parked a few meters away.

‘But there is two of you and only two seats in the cabin. I think it is illegal to take an extra passenger unless you have a spare seat,’ I tried to be a responsible adult.

‘Haha, well then we gotta hide you better!’ he laughed.

Fr. and C. were both from Brazil, although met each other in Portugal where they both had come for work.

‘We’d been here a few years until our paths crossed. Amazing how you go overseas to find happiness and then find it with someone from your own country,’ C. said. Fr. was too shy to speak Spanish, but we all communicated in some meta-Romance language, which was enough to share our dreams, songs, aspirations, and stories.

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‘We will go back to Brazil in a few years. It is fun in Europe, and the pay is good. But when we have children I want them to grow up under the Brazilian sun. We will open a guesthouse on the coast, sleep in hammocks, play guitar, you should come and visit!’ C. told me not long before they dropped me off near Montpellier.

‘You are in Sicily and not visiting Termini? Not going to Cefalu? Ay mamma mia!’ the signore who picked me up from the outskirts of Palermo was in shock. His Southern Italian accent with some incomprehensible Sicilian words was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in this country. ’No, I can’t leave it like this and simply drive you to the opposite side of the island! We are going on a detour and I will show you everything I can in one hour!’ despite being in a rush, he considered it his mission and duty to introduce me to his marvelous island.

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From old scenic villas to medieval coastal towns, from the blue sea to narrow streets of Cefalu where he dropped me off, I had a crash-course in the history and cultural heritage of Sicily, as well as an in-depth lesson of comprehending the Sicilian dialect of Italian.

’Nooo, I cannot believe you are staying just a few days. Sicily is impossible to explore even in a lifetime!’ he kept shaking his head.

‘Oh my god, you are leaving Sicily the day after you arrived?! What kind of traveller are you? You can stay here for a month and still not see every marvelous little corner of this island!’

My second ride also sounded like he was working for a travel agency and the purpose of his life was promoting his native island to every stranger that sets foot in Sicily.

‘By the way, I am not going where you need to go,’ he pointed out after 5 minutes of blaming me for not staying in Sicily longer, ‘but you can come to Catania with me.’

What is in Catania? Where the duck is Catania? I think somewhere near Etna.

‘WHAT IS IN CATANIA? Are you kidding me? What is in Catania, you are asking? Oh mamma mia! I am going to call all my friends now and tell them that I met this foreign girl who’s wondering what is in Catania! Everything! Catania is everything! The volcano! The city under the city! Oh mamma mia don’t ask me what is in Catania!’

Catania it is then. I had waited for a ride for about 2 hours by then, and the spot was bad, and my chances of getting to the mainland before dark were quite low. I can go to Catania. Who cares that it is 200 km in another direction?

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That evening, Maurizio took me to meet his friends for pizza (of course), and the following day we strolled the streets of Catania. A remarkable city indeed. Imagine a bunch of people who decide to build a settlement. They build it next to a volcano. ’Tis okay, nothing’s gonna go wrong!’ they say. Throughout the centuries, your city is being destroyed by seismic activity and volcanic eruptions several times. But you just keep building it on the exact same place every time. ’Tis okay, it can’t go wrong again!’

In the North of Italy, I stand on the road with a sign written on an empty pizza box. Because Italy.

’I hardly ever see people hitchhiking here, and girls – never,’ tells me my driver from Parma to Brescia. ‘Very strange! When I was young and served in the army, I was stationed on the French border, and had a girlfriend back at home in Parma. So I you know, the young blood and young love – of course I would go visit her every weekend. Transport was not that good, and money was not in abundance, so I always did autostop. Never had to wait more than 15 minutes – times were different back in the 60s.’

In Italy, one of the toughest European countries for hitchhikers, I hear this same story again and again: I picked you up just because you are a girl, you look decent, and I myself used to hitchhike back in the day… when the grass was greener.

To Trieste, I arrive with one of the most fascinating couples I ever met on the road. They are both from France, driving an old jeep all the way to Croatia for a summer boat trip with their friends. They tell me how back in the day, before they even met and started traveling together, the lady had worked in Afghanistan, and her husband flew airplanes in Chad. Then they got married, did the Paris-Dakar moto race, drove across South America, and finally settled with two daughters somewhere in the south of France near Marseille.

‘You are some of the coolest people I’ve ever met!’ I admit. They were the only ones who picked me up from a gas station after 2 hours of waiting.

‘Our daughters probably don’t think so,’ the lady laughs. ’They always ask us, when are we gonna stop going on last-minute long trips to Croatia, or South America. We are over 60 now, and we are still planning new places to go for years ahead. We are going to go to Colombia next year for another long-distance race, and then – who knows?’

‘I think our daughters wish we had lived a normal life and made more money. We are quite poor in comparison with other people in the region, but well – we have a proper house and a summer house. It is quite okay for them to start off their own lives,’ her husband adds.

It seems that the wandering gene always skips a generation. Maybe their grandchildren will grow up inspired by grandma’s and grandpa’s travel shenanigans.

Met these dudes while hitchhiking in France one time. No, they did not lose a drunk bet.
Met these dudes while hitchhiking in France one time. No, they did not lose a drunk bet.

On the way from the caves in Slovenia, my temporary travel companion Mariana and I hitch a ride with an American guy who’s rented a car to drive across the Balkans. He is not going my way but insists to drop me off at a roadside café where I can wait for another ride.

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He has a whole load of stuff in the trunk, including a guitar, so we sit down for a cup of coffee and a song. We end up discovering a few melodies in common and improvise a small concert. We could have probably sat there for another hour talking about stuff, but it is time to move on.

Vincenzo saved me from sleeping at a gas station near Milan. It’s been a long day and I still had to make it to Basel in the north of Switzerland. The sky was getting grayer and my final destination seemed more and more distant.

‘Listen, if you insist, I can leave you at some gas station so you could continue on to Basel. But if you are a reasonable person you might want to stay over in my village, I have a yoga and meditation center up in the mountains,’ Vincenzo said. Next morning, I woke up in a room overlooking the beautiful hills of Ticino, to the sound of church bells echoing through the mist and rain. It was humid and cold outside, but inside the house with hundreds of Buddha statues, carpets, pillows and incenses, all the outside world seemed like a parallel dimension.

Vincenzo’s house is a platform for cultural life and exhibitions, meditation and yoga sessions for the local community, and also a refuge and rehabilitation center for those who seek it, or being sent here by the doctor.

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Next afternoon, Vincenzo drops me off at a big gas station near Bellinzona. I shake his hand repeatedly and thank him for his amazing hospitality.

Before driving off, he stops and searches for something in his glove compartment.

‘Here you go. This will bring you luck,’ and he gives me a purple clown nose.

I don’t know what cracks me up more: the fact that he kept a clown nose in his car, or that he felt it would suit me and be my lucky charm.

I didn’t have to wait for my next ride too long.

‘I saw you standing there and I think it is a bad place to wait for a ride – nobody really sees you quickly enough to stop,’ said my ride near Gothenburg, Sweden. ‘Jump in, I am going just for 20 kilometers but we can figure out another place to drop you off.’

5 minutes later, K. invited me to stay with him and his wife in the countryside, outside Gothenburg. You know how everyone jokes about Swedes being socially awkward and weird around strangers? That day, I found out that hitchhiking is probably the best way to meet and talk to people in Scandinavia.

Far away from the city noise and shitty weather, K. and G. live in a small community with their dog and cats. We go walking in the forest for hours, and in the evening I stand under the starry sky in their front yard. G. makes an amazing dinner and we talk about Swedish life, and travelling, and home. They had both lived or travelled in the USSR back in the 70s and 80s and tell me some hilarious stories about smuggling condoms into Belarus and being spied on by secret services.

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‘We have quite different in personalities. I love the anticipation of a trip, and the trip itself, and I feel sad to return back home,’ she laughs. ‘K., on the contrary, loves the feeling of coming back home from a few weeks of travel, stretching on the sofa with cats and reminiscing about the wonderful time we had!’

‘But after all, we have been together for many many years, and one thing that unites us is nature,’ K. continues. ‘If you give us two cameras and send us walking separately the same path in the forest, we will come back with the same pictures, because we both notice same details, same leaves and twigs, bird nests and animals. the world is painted same colours for us both.’

Leaving their place the next day, I met the ultimate truck driver. One of those middle-aged men with a face full of wisdom and perhaps some Kerouac behind their back. It was a long drive from Gothenburg to Stockholm, and even a longer drive for him. ‘I am going almost all the way to Nordkapp, it will take me probably 3 days,’ he said. ‘But I like it. My dream job. Ever since I was young I thought that I wanted a job with a flexible schedule, so that I could drive long distances, see different countries, enjoy the nature at every stop.’ He was based in the south of Germany but would always volunteer to drive all the way up to the north of Scandinavia.

‘My wife used to drive with me, but a few years ago we had an accident and survived just by miracle. Since then, she retired and started a pet sanctuary back at home,’ he told me. Apparently, his wife collects stray cats from all over Germany, nurses them and gives away into good hands. One time, he was driving through Italy and saw a kitten in the middle of the highway. Without thinking twice, he pulled over right there to pick up the little ball of fluff, and instead discovered two more of them hiding by the roadside. All the Italian highway kittens were delivered back to Germany and given a good home.

Some people are just naturally happy with what they have in life. Quite a rarity in the Western world.
Some people are just naturally happy with what they have in life. Quite a rarity in the Western world.

’The accident, it must have been very bad. How come you did not give up driving?’ I asked.

‘Well, as I said, it is my dream job. And I dodged death at least 2 times before this,’ and he proceeds telling me the story of how he got mugged in Romania and Bulgaria, twice, back in the 90s. He smiles, because that was long time ago, and now being alive feels pretty amazing.

‘I love the road. Love these icy forests under the snow. I’ve driven many miles since I started working as a truck driver. But I never missed a single Christmas back home with my family.’

I had my share of nasty moments. I had to sleep in a coffee shop at a gas station in Denmark. I got harassed by a horny Italian driver. I got dropped off in the middle of nowhere. I got yelled at by Austrian road police. I got questioned by Italian police.

But the nasty moments can be summed up in one short paragraph. The magic moments turn into great stories and life lessons.

This lovely couple just got married and gave me a lift to Andorra on their way to the honeymoon.
This lovely couple just got married and gave me a lift to Andorra on their way to the honeymoon.

After hitchhiking a bit in Africa and a lot in Asia, where a foreign face excites absolutely everyone, I was slightly insecure about my hitching experiment in Europe, all these years later. I waited less than 15 minutes most of the time in Switzerland, and over an hour most of the time in Germany and Italy. Most commonly, people who picked me up were immigrants, from the Balkans, Turkey, Middle East, Africa, South America. And Belgians. Those drivers who were actually from the country, always told me that they used to go thumbing across Europe back in the day, and are now paying back the good karma. They would usually say with a slight nostalgia and regret that the golden times of hitchhiking have passed. Some of them were curious about my story, others jumped on political topics upon learning about my country of origin. Some people were eager to show me their town, and in exceptional cases invited me to stay over at their house, and some of them actually drove extra 30 kilometers to drop me off where I needed. I met folks who’d worked in Africa and were eager to hear my opinion about that strange, strange continent. I met people who’d never been outside of Europe but were intrigued by the idea of exploring the world outside the bubble.

For some travellers, hitchhiking is about saving money and never using public transportation. It is a lifestyle, an addiction, a way of moving around and spending less to ultimately travel more. Some people do not get put off by language barriers or lack of common interests. For me, spending several hours in a car with someone who I cannot have a conversation with is excruciatingly awkward and exhausting.

Hitchhiking tends to be romanticized: in reality, there is little pleasure in long hours of standing under the sun, rain or snow on a dusty road, getting weird looks from the drivers who don’t stop. I pretty much hate hitchhiking: too many times I’ve spent waiting for over an hour and wasting the precious time with no moral reward in the end, while I could have easily chosen some normal way to get from A to B.

But ultimately, with the European social awkwardness, giving a ride to a stranger is the ultimate way to transcend the boundaries of normality. It is something you will probably tell your friends about the next day: ‘Hey, I picked this hitchhiker on the road the other day…’ And we’ve probably already forgotten each other’s names, but we sure will never forget the stories.

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130 Comments Add yours

  1. psychanaut says:

    Excellent. I have hitchhiked in Europe 10 years ago. It is hard to imagine doing it in America, at least where I live.

  2. Umit Orhan says:

    Having been hitchhiking in USA and Mexico for the last 3 months, I realize again how inpatient i am when it comes to waiting 2 hours for a ride… Its spoiling to be from a country where you rarely need more than 10 minutes for a ride. I miss hitchhiking in Turkey and Middle East&Caucasus. Nothing gives the pleasure and joy of being able to communicate and connect with anyone you meet along the way.

    1. caorarua says:

      I think whoever says that they enjoy waiting for 2 hours on the side of the road are dirty liars or hippies.
      But it’s also the language issue, as I mentioned. It is just always so much more rewarding if you hitch in a country where you can surprise the locals by speaking their language.

  3. Martin says:

    Crossed whole Europe by hitch hiking few years ago and it was good adventure..

  4. How amazing! I wish I could do the same but it almost felt as if I was with you on your journey.

    1. seedoconquer says:

      I’m reading these “all for a good hitchhike posts” and find myself scared to death. I would never have the balls to hitchhike in today’s world.

  5. Wow you are one brave girl ! Iv always wanted to try hitchhiking but never had the guts do it.I usually travel with expensive photography equipment and Im always scared someone will rob me of my belongings.The virtual world has become a scary place because of the movies and news all around , but the real world still has some decent human beings !!

  6. ayitl says:

    So, you’d recommend hitchhiking Europe?!

    1. Yeah, it’s a good place to start. Quite safe, too.

  7. Curiosity says:

    Awesome! I hitchhiked in Thailand it is actually te best way to meet people! If you are still hitchhiking, visit the new country Liberland out of curiosity haha.
    Check out my blog in international affairs: https://affairsinthisworld.wordpress.com/

  8. Great memories from the beeaaauuutifuuuul Euzkadi.. Thanks!

  9. sweetsound says:

    This is amazing! I read a different freshly pressed post a while ago about two young girls hitchhiking in Italy and had quite a different ending; I think I’d be too scared, especially by myself. I’m glad it worked out for you though, and they are some incredible stories indeed!

    1. My only creepy hitchhiking experience was in Italy, actually. Speaking Italian kind of helps, not being a dumbo and not hitchhiking after dark is a good idea too.
      I read a lot of bla bla blas by avid hitchhikers that are supposed to inspire you to do the same, but I wouldn’t say that hitchhiking is a ‘must-do’ in everyone’s life. It is exhausting, it can be uncomfortable, the risk factor varies from country to country, and ‘Have a positive outlook and everything’s gonna be peachy!’ is a really sucky advice actually. I started hitchhiking when I was young simply because I had little to no money, so for me now it is more of a habit than a hobby. And I regularly get some funny stories of it, too.

  10. likestowrite says:

    What an excellent read! Your experiences, and the way you write about them wold make a brilliant book.

    1. Oh thanks, I think there is enough books by wannabe travel writers out there already!

  11. hiro812 says:

    I miss hitchhiking in Turkey and Middle East&Caucasus. Nothing gives the pleasure and joy of being able to communicate and connect with anyone you meet along the way.

    1. Hitchhiking in Turkey – would not really recommend it to anyone travelling solo, as negative experiences here are more frequent than positive ones. Georgia is a bliss, Azerbaijan is an ass, Iran is amazing!

  12. My fiance and his family are Sicilian, and proud, so your comments on Sicily and your drivers and their love for the country rang oh so true! Your journey sounds so much fun!

    1. Islanders all around the world, from jungle of the Philippines to volcanic black sands of Faroes, are proud of their homeland. Island mentality I assume! 🙂

      1. Yes it has to be something to do with the Island mentality! I am never allowed to introduce him as Italian – heaven forbid! – always Sicilian. It is funny though as he was born and raised in GB but totally identifies as Sicilian 100%, rarely introduces himself as British though. 🙂

        1. Hehe ask people from the Isle of Man, Shetlands, Orkney – they’ll hardly identify as British

          1. True! Sometimes admittedly I don’t even identify as British, just plain old English!

  13. Sicily is wonderfull!
    casavacanzasiracusa.wordpress.com

  14. Danielle says:

    I have only been able to read the first few stories of your journey on this post as my lunch break at work is soon to end. Before I return to my work I just wanted to say that your words are truly inspiring! I am planning a trip at the moment (as you can read from my blog) and simply cannot wait to be free to do whatever, whenever – like take a detour to Catania! On my commute home I will be sure to continue reading this post! Thank you for making a slow Friday more enjoyable!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it and got inspired!

  15. Awesome story even though hitchhiking is terrifying!

  16. pmdello says:

    Good stories, well written, and the photos speak volumes. Thank you. 😎

  17. Taqorrub says:

    Wonderfull post, This can make Me inspirations, thanks 🙂

  18. Ariel Klay says:

    You had me at “Don’t Panic” and “Hitchhiking!” 🙂 I was praying they were Adams’ references and you didn’t disappoint me. You might enjoy my blog, “Confessions of a Jesus Geek” https://arielklay.wordpress.com/ especially my piece about my late husband who wore a “Don’t Panic” button at sci-fi cons.

    1. Thank you, Ariel. We all sometimes feel like poor Arthur whose house and then planet are being bulldozed by bureaucratic figwits, hence the passion for traveling the world.
      I read some of your blog, a truly sincere and indeed confessional writing. My condolences about your husband, but it is wonderful that you hold on to the memories of him.

      1. Ariel Klay says:

        Thank you, I know Tim would have appreciated your piece, too. His body may be dead, but he’s never far from my heart and it was nice to be reminded about his “Don’t Panic” pin. I might even write a piece about Hitchhiker’s Guide to talk about how knowing God’s promises are even more important than having a towel on hand. 😉

  19. Iloenchen says:

    My very first hitchiking experience was a very bad one and I’ve tried to avoid it ever since. But I’ve been in a car with strangers a couple of times since then and it was always very interesting. Your stories proof what I’ve long since suspected – I was just very unlucky that first time. What an inspiring read, thank you for sharing!

    1. Sorry to hear that. I had one sleazeball in Italy who offered me his manly services, and some annoying dudes in Turkey (and I do not recommend Turkey for hitchhiking), but other than that just neutrally boring or awesomely interesting rides.

  20. Jen says:

    Epic stories! Hilarious delivery as well. lol What a fun way to see the world and get to know the people!

  21. I really enjoyed the every word you wrote. Some people has the instinct to draw canvas using word. Your such a person.. Manoj, India

  22. Sounds like you had quite the adventure – That is what travel and experience is all about, the memories we create and the stories we can tell. I once had to walk around Prague in a morph suit, so know what the banana hitchhiking feels – Ha funny memories. I have never hitchhiked however, the world just seems a bit too dangerous these day to do so, but I am so glad I read your stories and tales… I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I hope my blog posts are as inspiring as this one… I only started recently but am quite an experienced traveler with a lot of stories – Let me know your thoughts http://www.awanderingmemory.com

  23. dikyblogs says:

    Hitchhiking in Europe is well worth it.. The scenery, the slight chill weather, the landscapes are just amazing.. It’s like another world all together

  24. nissa360 says:

    Thank you for sharing… inspiring! 🙂

  25. chandleur1 says:

    You lucky guys, you!

  26. This is so cool! Thanks for sharing. I just got back from visiting a forest monastery in Ontario 🙂

    1. Oh cool! A Buddhist one?

  27. Saxon says:

    Nice post. I used to hitchhike in Europe in the 90s and wondered if folks still did it. Are there apps and websites that can hook people and rides up? Is that cheating though? Cheers

    1. Hitchwiki is a crowd-sourced website that mainly provides with info about best spots for hitchhiking and other freebies you can get on the way (which places in town have free wi-fi, leftover food, water taps, etc.), as well as gives a general overview of how hitchhiking is perceived in the country (common, uncommon, legal, illegal, easy, hard).
      Facebook groups sometimes help to find companions or rides.
      There is a bunch of ridesharing apps in Europe, too, but there you’re supposed to share costs for fuel.

      There is no cheating when it comes to getting free stuff 🙂

      1. Saxon says:

        I like that it’s pretty much the same then. Awesome that not everything changes with technology. Enjoy it out there 🙂

  28. I am so jealous that you were able to do this adventure! I have always wanted to travel through Europe. Sadly I am stuck in America. Maybe some day. 🙂 Keep adventuring!

    1. You’ve got a pretty big continent there too!

  29. Janice Wald says:

    I was in Europe recently, for a month. I did not see any hitchhikers. Nice to meet you.
    Janice

  30. I enjoyed reading your story about hitchhiking! I totally agree with the last part, I’m for example a very active host in Couchsurfing (I write about it on my blog) and host a lot of strangers in my house. Couchsurfing is also mostly about saving money to sleep but ultimately if you don’t have any common interests it’s not that fun at all. The best thing is when you invite a person in your house and end up making long lasting relationships or just simply exchanging stories that you will find telling your friends about it the next day. Traveling is always about the persons you meet, the stories you exchange, not the destination!

    1. Hey, thanks for your comments! Who knows, maybe one day I will meet you through CS 🙂
      I am quite skeptical about people who are vocal about CS being ‘NOT about the money’. It is. That’s how it started, as a tool to save money when you travel around the world. It’s the culture of our generation: we love sharing and renting rather than owning things.
      This does not mean that one should barge into their host’s house, drop their smelly bags on the floor and proceed to eat everything from the fridge without having a conversation or a walk together.
      When it comes to hitchhiking, there have been times when I felt tired and had no desire to make an effort and talk to the driver. I always feel very guilty about this kind of lifts.

      1. Yes, I agree and that’s also what I said. Mostly it is about saving money, it started with travelers who offer their house (like me) so in return they can couchsurf themselves. My friends are always asking how I can afford all of my trips, well because of Couchsurfing!
        Everyone knows it’s mostly about saving money, but we keep quite about it because after spending a couple of days in someone’s house it maybe started as saving money, but then you share, teach, learn and you end up with a friend and TONS of memories and that’s what you will remember! Well, when you will find yourself in Amsterdam, come try it out in Haarlem 🙂

        1. Yep, that’s true!
          Maybe see you in Amsterdam – I pass through it every now and then.

  31. Karthik says:

    Lots of lovely stories. Reminded me that we have a greater control over our happiness than the external factors. 🙂

  32. carmi levy says:

    Cool! Hitch hiking is a big no no where im from. But I did it here and there and its a great adventure!

    1. I cannot think of a country where hiking is a no no! I even once hitchhiked in Somaliland, so it’s really up to you whether you want to start the tradition of hitching in your country or not 🙂

  33. Awesome story ! Thank you for sharing your adventures- it was a pleasurable and informational read that inspired me to try hitch hiking soon!! Keep up the traveling !!!

    1. Always welcome, inspiring others is my job 🙂

  34. trinityb1 says:

    I loved this story so much! I think you just inspired me to do something like that but not quite bc hitchhiking has always scared me. Thanks for the great read and inspiration, I will most definitely be coming back to your blog.

    1. It really depends on your mindset. If you are scared – do not do it alone. Or try hitchhiking with somebody you trust and who’s done it before!

  35. kriebermohn says:

    Nostalgia:) I just remembered myself hitchhiking across Scandinavia in early 80-ies, when I was about your age. Nothing changes, there are always helpful people willing to give you a lift.

    1. That’s true, and people who hitchhiked back in the day are paying back the good karma as they settle down and get a car. 🙂

  36. Hello i’m from indonesia. I like ur post. By the way u come from deutchland?

  37. smashandbang says:

    Your adventures are amazing to read about! I wish I had the courage to reach out to strangers when I travel but I can hardly ask for directions without feeling clumsy and awkward. Great post!

    1. Yeah, I used to be like this, too. Still have my moments.

  38. Borealish says:

    I just hitch hiked a couple of months ago through the Karakorum Valley, from Kyrgyzstan into Xinjiang, China, and loved the experience. I admit, as a woman traveling solo, I was a bit nervous at first, but also excited about the adventure. Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s got me inspired to get out and do it again soon.

    1. Haha cool, I hitched (partly) the Karakoram highway in Pakistan into Xinjiang. There is a post somewhere on the blog. Central Asia is great for it!

  39. livealittle says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. For me, watching the Australian movie ‘wolf creek’ scarred me from any future hitchhiking adventures.. Sometimes ignorance is bliss hey?!

    1. Thanks, I’m gonna put it on my ‘no-watch’ list on imdb now 🙂

  40. LCpl Titwank says:

    Very well written! I enjoyed every word- and now can’t wait even more to go and start my own adventures…

    1. Thanks! Go for it, by all means!

  41. This is an amazing story. Oh my word! I love it so much – people will stay positive with you when you are positive with them. ❤❤❤This story is proof.

    1. Thanks! Agree, yes, staying positive is important, but pepper spray is a great tool, too. 🙂

      1. Okay! I must invest in some pepper spray. Thank you for the tip 😀 xx Reassurance in a bottle.

  42. earthtokam says:

    Your adventures sounds so cool!!

  43. lexsolo85 says:

    Your story is amazing, I would love to do this!!

  44. Cook i like the photos 🙂 congratulations

  45. vdancer808 says:

    European hitch hiking is amazing

  46. Kirsten D. says:

    WOW! I just finished college and I’ve always wanted to go backpacking around Europe! The biggest thing that is stopping me from doing so is myself… I’m always so fearful of the unknown. But reading these two lines really inspired me to go forth and just DO IT:

    “But the nasty moments can be summed up in one short paragraph. The magic moments turn into great stories and life lessons.”

    I’m going to plan a trip, and hopefully, I can have the same great experiences and memories that you had! 😀 Have a wonderful, awesome-possum day.

    -STEEZ.

    1. Haha great! Go for it, Europe is waiting!

    2. 106ferrets says:

      Write about your adventures! I would love to read them 🙂

  47. This is great! It sounds like you had quite a trip!

  48. Hey – what a great blog piece, I have never hitchhiked at all – mainly due to the day and age we live in unfortunately. But my parents and wife’s parents used to all of the time. I bet you it would open your eyes to so many eclectic people especially around some of the more remote European countries. Love the picture of the guys dressed up – I had to endure that in Prague in a morph suit! But cant imagine that they got far…! Ha. Great blog – enjoyed reading it this Friday afternoon – Thanks

  49. 106ferrets says:

    Man, you’re really living the dream! This is great. You make me want to backpack across Europe the rest of my life

  50. warmsio2 says:

    What a nomadic life! Very interesting read!

  51. WoodRtist says:

    That was a Interesting adventure your were on, thanks for posting.

  52. kazza789 says:

    Wow, I wish I had to guts to hitchhike. We always hear people telling horror stories but in truth there are some great people out there who are willing to help in the kindness of their hearts. Each person you meet has an interesting too. I guess it’s about letting go of fears that stop you going amazing adventures like you have. Thanks for posting.

  53. Brittany says:

    What an inspiring post…and such lovely stories and memories! I now feel very compelled to try hitchhiking when I move to Europe.

  54. I would definitely try that!

  55. manojbabu90 says:

    Plain great I am commenting first time in word press and doing it for a hitch hiker. Great going !

  56. This is just great. I have a few friends who hitchhike. I’ve always thought the idea was exhilarating, but unfortunately I’m far too busy or scared. I guess I don’t trust people’s inherent goodness . Perhaps I’ll try it one day!

  57. Giou says:

    Very cool story, a lot of fun I guess. I think it was lot adventurous 🙂 How do you start hitchhiking?
    Check out my blog, if you want, full of experience too but different one, of course
    https://lostsomewhereinthenorth.wordpress.com/

  58. That’s so cool! Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  59. Hannah C says:

    I remember I drove from my home in Lakenheath to Heathrow, supposedly an hour and half to two hour drive. Unfortunately for me I have no sense of direction and it ended up being four. I don’t own a snazy phone or have a sat nav, so had to stop and ask for directions. The kindness of people is astounding, I used the “chose your stranger” advice from a blog a while ago to get myself there.

    I’d love to go hitch hiking around Europe as you have done after reading your trip and my own experiences. It sounds safe. Although I will have to try around New Zealand when I go in February.

  60. I’m so glad the people you met were kind to you (most of ’em). I love that. There is still a lot of kindness out there, and that’s good to know.

  61. Great read; it was interesting to find out about such a diverse group of people. 🙂 But I’d still be scared as hell to do something like that. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but there are way too many people in this world willing to take advantage of someone else’s trust. Please be careful!

  62. What awesome stories you must have now. I just spent a few weeks in Italy studying archaeology and actually spent a day riding around different buses in the countryside and actually got a ride from a nice Italian family. You are right that hitchhiking can be both exhilarating and wearisome.

  63. dropofapril says:

    Honestly inspires me on the idea of hitchhiking! Maybe in the future! Great story!

  64. kezia says:

    I’ve always had second thoughts when it comes to hitchhiking but then again i found this piece for a new start to change myself.

  65. ginaflores01 says:

    I bet it was a wonderful trip. Beautiful time.

  66. Sharon says:

    It sounds as though you had a fantastic trip with wonderful memories. It
    must take a great strength of character not just to stand and wait for a lift,
    but to make conversation with a complete stranger in a language you don’t
    understand! I’m glad you managed to stay safe and see lots of Europe.

    1. Haha, understanding the language helps… I would never be able to force myself over a language barrier for longer than an hour.

      1. Sharon says:

        Are you planning any other trips?

        1. I am constantly on a trip, really. In Scandinavia currently.

          1. Sharon says:

            Stay safe! One day I would love to cruise on the Norwegian Fjords and maybe see the Aurora Borealis. Enjoy your travels.

  67. hbvjoe says:

    I love to travel and just recently started my own blog. Your post inspired me to continue to post about my trips and my travels. I think it would be awesome to tour Europe and see what it has to offer. The pictures are wonderful!

    1. Good luck! Blogging takes up a lot of free time and requires dedication. You will probably spend some imd searching for your style and voice but persistence will prevail!

  68. cajuntrikker says:

    I love your blog and i traveled and hitched hiked around the USA a few years. I would love to share my blog with you and i hope you fill out the form and i will email Here is my blog link: http://www.newroadtolife.com

  69. praveen0511 says:

    Awesome story, It must feel much more great to experience it. I also do like to travel, especially alone. It’s been a long time since i took a journey of my own but i do take occasional trips in my bike in the southern parts of India. I’m planning to travel abroad for one such journeys can u suggest me some cheap countries to travel alone and also few things about hippie trials.

    1. Southeast Asia is the cheapest region of all, and will stay so for a long time. I love Philippines but I doubt it’d be convenient to cycle there. Burma is awesome and just across the border from where you are!
      Have no idea about hippie trails. I thought all stoners go to India?

  70. Wow, what an adventure and story to inspire the others! I enjoyed reading it, and hope that someday I will have the guts to start to an adventure like this

  71. Calina says:

    You are inspiring. I just tapped into my love for travel. Give a shout if you ever think of coming to Romania 😉

  72. M. L. Kappa says:

    Great post! I haven’t hitchhiked much, but I travelled horses all over Europe and had many fun and interesting experiences on the road. The Balkan countries during the communist era were quite something. So, the truck driver’s point of view for me! Now I write about Greece. Have you been here? I never seem to see people hitching anymore, I used to pick loads up,back in the day.

    1. Hey, that’s great! There is still plenty of people hitchhiking around Europe, and whole hitch gatherings, as far as I know, although I’ve never been to one. It is sort of a lifestyle, the neo-beatnicks or whatever. 🙂 I spent overall about 2 days in Greece a few years ago, and the heat and humidity almost killed me, so I do not exactly have great memories. I will go back there sometimes next year I guess.

      1. M. L. Kappa says:

        You have to choose the right season. Avoid July and August.

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