Archive for the ‘Hitchhiking’ Category

Man Travels World Via Dangerous Transportation

So in 2008, Hoffman embarked on a five-month trip using modes of transportation that most leisure travelers would avoid at all costs but that many people around the planet board every day.

He flew on airlines with some of the worst safety records in the world, endured 28-hour trips on buses prone to plunging off cliffs in South America, took overcrowded ferries in the Amazon and Asia, and survived sweltering trains in Africa.

The goal: to experience travel not as a vacationer but as an ordinary person needing to get from one point to another as cheaply as possible.

Carl Hoffman does what others of us only think about doing: to get out there and see what the rest of the world is like. To see it from the perspective of those who live it every day.

CNN has a great interview with Hoffman that’s absolutely worth reading.  I’ve filed this under the “hitchhiking” section of the site because, while not exactly hitchhiking, it seems to me somehow true to the spirit of it.  This jumped out at me the most:

Hoffman: [...] But at the end of those journeys, I always was almost desperate to get to a hotel where I could have my own bed, be by myself and have a cold beer. We tend to think of affluence as the acquisition of objects, but I realized that what makes us so rich in much of the developed world is cleanliness and space.

World’s scariest airlines? Sign him up

Train Hopping America Photo Gallery by Amelia Merrick

To go along with my post from yesterday:


Train Hopping America Photo Gallery by Amelia Merrick

Ever try to hop a train?

This is some good stuff right here.

A teaser:

Combined with this, the usually unspoken implication was that it was mind-boggling that cute little women of our socioeconomic background were hitchhiking. I guess the dominant mainstream attributes a variety of vices onto hitchhikers and trainhoppers, most of which are associated with the poor and marginal underclass, and we didn’t seem to fit into those stereotypes

Joey and I did not find trainhopping to be a simple matter.

We dutifully did all the research [...]

However, while we understood the theory, we still struggled with various challenges in the reality of implementation.

Even after doing all the reading, I doubt I’d be able to do it, either.

I remember that Loren Eiseley wrote a fair amount about his train-hopping days in his book All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life. It’s easy to get lost in his and other accounts of the people they meet and the reasons why they’re going where ever they’re going, without stopping to think about how one gets on a damn train in the first place. This blog post does an excellent job of highlighting the problems. Note that it’s just one post on a multi-contributor blog. Hopefully the next ones in the series will show up soon.

Read the full entry: HITCHHIKING & TRAINHOPPING — Part I

Hitchhiking traveler circumnavigates the world

FAIRBANKS — Jeremy Marie has two small backpacks, a well-worn notebook, a $7 daily budget, and most importantly, a functioning right thumb.

That modest list is more than enough to accommodate a trip around the world, and Marie has spent the past two years proving it.

What’s important to note that, according to the article, he saved up the equivalent of $15,000 of his own money to make the trip.

See updates, pictures and more (French and English versions) at:

Via Hitchhiking traveler circumnavigates the world

MSNBC: What killed hitchhiking?

“When we implemented our latest redesign of the books last year, we finally got rid of the thumb logo, which had become a relic of an earlier era,” said Tom Mercer, an editor and writer with Let’s Go Publications.

I’ve tried to figure out where and when hitchhiking stopped being okay, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. I tell myself that I can remember being told by parents and others to never do it and to never pick anyone up. All because we didn’t know them and anything could happen.

I used to work in Ocala. I drove I-75 both ways five days a week, and that gave me a lot of chances to see people trying to get rides. Most of the time, I’d blow right by them. “Sorry pal,” I might say to myself, but I’d pass them by all the same.


Can’t say.

Well, can’t say for the most part. Sometimes, though, it was just laziness on my part. I didn’t want to stop, didn’t want to deal with the hassle, didn’t want to deal with forced conversation and having to stop again to let them off. American laziness and antisocialness, I suppose. Maybe it was something about that person that guided me away. Who knows.

I’ve stopped for other people, though, and given them either rides or money. Mostly I gave rides out of Gainesville. I felt a little bit more wary of bringing people into Gainesville–I didn’t want to be responsible for someone getting hurt by someone I helped bring into town. This assumes an inherent dishonesty in all people, but all it takes is one person out of a thousand to do something.

And I think that is largely where hitchhiking began to die: the supposed happy, trusting-ness of the 60s began do die out (merely conjecture on my part, having not been alive during them) and people watched more TV, read more news. The stories circulated more, and all this communication led to the idea–real or imagined–that hitchhiking and hitchhikers were dangerous. A meme before there was an internet.

Did people change? Was there some golden era where mishaps and crimes were minimal?

I don’t know. But what I do know is that our ability to talk about it has increased, and that has to account for some of it.

One passenger stands out in particular: I was actually on my way north to High Springs and saw him on the on-ramp, an elderly man in an old brown suit and hat. I pulled over immediately. If memory serves, his car was in the shop on the northern side of town, so I gave him a lift a couple exits up the way.

Did he think about all the dangers? The ones he faced and the ones he spawned in the minds of observers? Or was he a product of a previous era when there was nothing to worry about?

MSNBC: What killed hitchhiking?