I just arrived a few days ago from my journey to Zaragoza, which is in the middle of nowhere in Spain, to visit some old AEGEE, my student association, friends and some other friends I made in Poland.
Money was a big issue to decide if I should go or not. I didn´t (and don´t) have much money so I was really scared that I´d have to call it off and hear all those friends get pissed off at me for promising I´d go and failing to do so in the end.
Getting some bus or train tickets was out of my reach. At least if I wanted to be able to eat and drink some beers there! And that seemed quite important…. I was not going to spend all my money in getting there and not be able to do anything but stay at home eating old bread for 6 days.
Good thing our God, the Flying spaghetti Monster, invented Hitch hiking!!!! Saving those 30+euros on transport would be a huge help to survive the days there!
So there I went. On my own for 460km. And….I don´t know what to say…but I have learnt some lessons.
Everything went super quick the first 1,5 hours. It was great! I met some very friendly people. The first woman who picked me up had lived in Africa some years and was living a life of travel while she worked. Just using every possible free moment to travel! I want to be like her when I´m older!
I had troubles when an
idiot young guy who didn´t know much about hitch hiking brought me to a horrible place in the middle of Bilbao telling me that it was a great spot. A huge entrance into a high way with way too much traffic, no place to stop, coming out of a round-about. And the police strolling around every few minutes…F*CK.
4 hours waiting and trying in different places in Ugaldebieta and Bilbao totally stressed me out. I was starting to feel all those eyes looking at me and the people half laughing as they passed by. It sucks when you directly ask people if they are going in a specific direction, they say “no”, and they go right into the deviation in that direction just as the stop light turns green. And when it happens 1000 times…
Just as I was loosing faith(and this is not to add dramatism..this is a true story) a car almost provokes an accident to be able to stop in front of me. My guardian angel! Just as I was about to call my friend and tell her I wouldn´t make it. Conchi, the driver, brought me down to Vitoria..one hour away and it was not enough time for all we had to talk about…!
Conchi told me about her life and asked me a lot about mines. She told me how she had quit a job which payed a fuckload but didn´t really make her happy to take the risk and create her own company. She talked about living in a van in germany and learning the basis for her future carreer that way.
She gave me advice and encouragement to live as I thought I should and to press on with studying. But most of all she told me to be patient and very attentive. Your future will be moulded by little things that suddenly will cross your path and it will be in your hands to see them and grasp them or to let them pass you by.
One of the most inspirational conversations I´ve ever had!
Later I met a funny Galician cook who brought me down to Logroño. Now for all of you non-Spanish speaking people you wont understand how funny Galician people sound but for those of you who do, just understand how difficult it was for me not to burst out laughing all the time!
He has been working in big prestigious modern restaurants with “Michellin” stars. He talked to me about cooking 4 hours for one plate and the pressure a high level cook has to endure. Everything must be PERFECT.
He also told me about Brad Pitt and
Lara Croft Angelina Jolie closing the Ritz just for themselves. Or the same story with Elton John, big football players and other jet set personalities. He´d be called with his whole team to cook an entire night for these hot shots alone. Wtf….
Another interesting person I met was just yesterday while hitch hiking home from work. Seems there could be a new business deal between the little company I work in, “No Pierdas el Norte”(www and Fb), and the guy who brought me home, an online marketing specialist.
The people you meet while you hitch hike are always very interesting and open. People who are ready to have an unknown person sitting next to them and bring them along are 99% of the time open-minded, friendly and solidary people. That´s my experience. You usually get more help than you expected too. Just like in couch surfing you just expect a sofa, while hitchhiking you just expect being brought from A to B. In the end many times you get offered some money, food, good information, some alternative plans…etc
Patience. That would be my nº1 recommendation. People do stop. Even if you are in a bad place…eventually…somebody will stop. Change tactic. First with your thumb up and then with a sign board. If it doesn´t work for too long…go to a petrol station and just ask. Still doesn´t work? Go to the entrance of the highway. Just move around and try. And keep your spirit up. Nobody will pick you up if you look pissed off and stressed out! JUST SMILE!
Be careful when other people say that they know “a great place” to hitch hike. My experience is that most of these people will bring you to absolutely horrible places. Some of the places I´ve been brought are: on the side of a
fucking highway, in downtown Bilbao, a half abandoned petrol station, the “rich” financial part of a city, right in front of the Polizei in Germany, etc
Like always the adventure was great. I wouldn´t travel 1% of what I travel if I didn´t use couchsurfing, hitch hiking, visiting friends on the way, eating at super markets, etc. For those of my friends who usually say: “you are so lucky that you can travel so much! Where do you get the money from?”. Here is the answer. 😉