My First Hitchhiker 👍
The roles have changed.
Somewhere around 15,000 km I’ve stopped counting my hitchhiking kilometers. It’s been my favourite method of transportation for many years, and one of the most important experiences that shaped the person who I am today.
I’m immensely grateful to countless drivers who stopped to pick me up. They taught me to trust, be kind, be humble, be happy, stay open to the world, communicate even when there is no language in common, and shared numerous life lessons that stayed with me for years. I wrote about one of my adventures before, and perhaps one day I’ll write about others. But today, for the first time in my life the roles have changed–it was me who stopped to pick up a hitchhiker.
It was only one day earlier that my partner and I bought our very first car ever–a shinny red 21-year-old Opel Astra. I’m 31-year-old (I think) and to be fair, I never seen myself as a car owner. I prefer cycling.
Sure, I had an idea that before moving on a sailboat I might build/travel in a campervan and learn about engines, electrics etc., but it never felt like something that is about to happen any time soon–more of an idea for the future. Perhaps that’s why after making the purchase I’ve noticed a very unexpected feeling: *nothing*. No excitement, no difference, no disappointment… Absolutely *nothing*.
This is even weirder, because being a minimalist taught me to carefully consider making any purchase, which often manifests as a rabbit hole of research–to make sure that the item I’m considering to buy is exactly the right fit for my backpack. This always brings a fair dose of emotional investment, along with excitement and anticipation. I know absolutely nothing about cars (apart from how to drive them and that they drink patrol), and yet it was probably the least researched purchase I have ever made, and one that I totally didn’t care about. Weird.
(It’s not even a kind of car I would ever imagine myself owning…)
And then I find myself on the road, during my very first drive and it’s the first time in my life that I see a hitchhiker. He has a huge backpack which reminds me of myself during my earlier voyages. I don’t even think about it–I hit the breaks and pick him up.
And just like that the roles have swapped.
(That guy with a backpack getting lifts from strangers used to be me…)
A lot of drivers who gave me a lift used to hitchhike themselves. I guess it’s some kind of “karmic debt” that they want to repay. And now it’s my turn.
I was not surprised at all that my first instinct was to get out of my way to drive my hitchhiker a little extra and get him into a nice camping spot he was looking for. I was not surprised when I offered to meet up when he comes to town where I live. And to offer him a place to stay for the night… It was just the natural thing to do. And it’s exactly the kind of thing that was happening to me throughout my travels.
Perhaps this car I have now is just another opportunity to practice kindness and pass on the legacy of free-hearted adventure?