|The view outside
|No, I got in the car.
|The famous statue
When was the last time you picked up a hitchhiker?
As Americans, we are taught that only fools and freaks
pick up random people standing by the side of the road. Nowadays, only my
friend Billy, is brave enough to criss-cross the USA with his thumb.
Urban legends, common sense, and protective moms have
scared the rest of us into flooring it if we see a smile and a sign on the
side of the road. Yes, you can tell me of the crimes, the murders, rapes,
and muggings that happen, but even though planes crash, ships sink, and
drivers crash, we still use those tried-and-true methods to get around.
I think the USA hitching tradition, for it was very
strong until recently, died when the car and license became affordable to
the majority of Americans. Then, only poor, and therefore undesirable
people didn’t have their own car or bus/plane ticket to get around.
In Germany today, an advanced western nation with high
road, car, and license taxes, (and murders/rapes/muggings) one can still
hitch w/o even a second’s hesitation, for owning a car is still
prohibitively expensive for a majority of the population, especially the
With all that in mind, and me in Australia, I decided to
use the age-old method that my parents used in the early 1970’s to get
around this country. So far, I’ve heard the same 1990 Sydney
hitchhiker-killer horror story replayed by each driver. Yet, I easily made
it from Sydney to Canberra, a three or four hour drive, in six hours.
Tomorrow, I shall try my luck again, by heading to
Melbourne via the famous "dog on a tucker box" statue. I hope
this email does not jinx me, for I am dreaming of hitching, not only to
Melbourne, then Adelaide, but to the city on the western edge of the
Oh, and this is no small feat for Perth is 3,000 miles
and one large desert from here (think DC to LA).