When I was in Lisbon as an exchange student, I found a new hobby - hitchhiking. So fun, so easy, so cheap! Dangerous? Well, nothing in life is 100% safe if you don't stay at home 24/7, but using common sense I'd say hitchhiking is very safe! Usually I hitchhike with somebody, but once I did Lisbon - Porto (like 300km) alone and it was very fast and easy! Just arrived to the gas station where I used to take the rides to the North and within 5 or 10 minutes I was in a car with this nice young business man who was driving to Porto for a conference and took me all the way. I'd say hitchhiking alone is the easiest way to get a ride, people tend to have less prejudices and fear (yes, the drivers also fear the hitchhikers :D) if the person asking for a ride is alone. But having company gives more security to the hitchhiker, me too I prefer to do it with somebody, I'd just do it alone if I really need to get from one place to another and I don't wanna pay for it. Besides that, if you are in a bad spot for hitchhiking (means a place where the drivers who drive long distances don't stop), sometimes you need to wait for hours and its nicer to have somebody there to share with these moments of "endless" waiting, desperation and boredom. ;D
|If you are not getting a ride, just take it easy and open|
your bottle of champagne!
|Yes,it might include also a lot of walking, but|
it's just part of the fun ;)
Sooo, when you are on the gas station, just go and ask anybody who looks like your next potential driver. ;D I usually ask if they by chance are going to the direction of the city X. If they say yes, I ask if they would mind to give me a ride... and so on! If they don't go till my real destination, I ask them to drop me off on the last gas station that is still on our common way.
But why is it so fun? It's not just about getting somewhere "for free", though that's also a very good point for the student budget. Besides than that it's about new, unexpected experiences and meeting new people. It's not like couchsurfing where you also stay with unknown people. The difference is that when couchsurfing you really choose the person by reading their profile, seeing their photo, comparing their interests/age/whatever with yours. Hitchhiking you cant be that picky and you meet soooo different kind of people, from young to old! With some people you talk just a bit, with some other you talk a lot. And it's always an interesting experience (ok let's not lie, some people might be boring too, but I'm just speaking in general) to meet these completely new people and share with them some hours in a same car. Sometimes the conversations are so surprising, you might start speaking with this person about things you would never talk in any other situation with a person you just met! And I have noticed that for a lonely driver who has 5 hours to drive on his own it's always a good experience to have somebody to talk with, even if they would hesitate in the beginning. I got a ride maybe with around 50 different cars in my life and only with one driver I made good friends. Anyway I have everytime met so funny, strange and nice people! Not any bad experiences ever and also never heard about those from the fellow hitchhikers! :)
And I still have so many hitchhiking stories to tell! But maybe I save them for the next post. ;) But seriously if you are thinking about trying after reading this, you should! At least once or just a short distance! I wish hitchhiking would become more popular because it's really one of the best ways of travelling (when you are not in a hurry of course). More people there are doing it, less prejudiced the people are about it.