Would you take me in your car?

How I learned about trust while hitchhiking across Europe

My hitchhiking partner waiting for a lift somewhere in Macedonia. All photos by the author.
Our hitchhiking route plan. Image from Google Maps.

The Importance of First Impressions

Me, waiting for a lift somewhere in Belgium.

Why do strangers trust me?

I must have been around 7 years old when I first saw a couple of young people with their thumbs sticking up next to the road. My father explained to me the meaning of “hitchhiking”, but when I suggested to give them a lift, he didn’t hesitate to answer that he wouldn’t trust them into the car since he is traveling with me — his little child.

Getting a lift in a pick-up truck from two 70+ year old Greeks. No common language = no problem.

Breaking Through Small Talk

Christian’s English was far from fluent, but it was enough to have a decent conversation. The language barrier had never before stopped me from communicating effectively, but it was comforting to think that this time we would be able to talk to our driver about more complex subjects than the weather; after all, we were about to spend 12 hours together.

Strangers Are Not Villains

Our driver offered us some coffee. Here we are, making it inside the truck as he drives through the highway.

“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” – Haruki Murakami

While my mother continued to request SMS updates with my precise location at regular intervals, my experience of hitchhiking confirmed what I suspected: strangers are not villains.

How I look on public transport versus how I look when I’m hitchhiking.

Facing Fears

A few miles before the Austrian border, Christian told us that he wanted to meet with his friend. They both worked for the same company and at the moment they were traveling in opposite directions, which gave them a rare opportunity to meet on the way.

Highway at night. View from Christian’s truck.

Trusting the Universe and Trusting Myself

Our tired faces after we finally made it to our destination in Greece.

Sailor ⛵️Juggler ☀️ Shapeshifting Raccoon 🦝 Documenting experiments at https://thewhitelog.com

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