Flagging a ride On Out of Here

30 Jun

A few months ago I was asked if I wanted to write an article for wheroines.com (Where are my Heroines?). “Sure”, I said, I’ll generally agree to most things that are that far away.

“A few months” snuck up on me and now my article is struggling to put on her pants, while rushing out the door. This is a compilation blog post — not a where-is-she-now expose — on This Chick who Hitchhikes.


July 1st, 2014

Look, I’m not going to pretend that being a woman is hard. It’s not, not when it comes to traveling solo across the world. I’d call myself a a neo-feminist, if I knew what that meant. I’ll argue that if the goal is to get around by means of Thumbs then you can possesses no greater asset than the blessings of womanhood. Lest anyone call me reckless here are infallibles:

1. Do not drink.
2. Do not do drugs.
3. Do not travel at night.
('Night' is used loosly here and starts as soon as the sun is so low it starts to look up your pants.)
4. No exceptions.

I might hope that the above information will bore you but you'll stick to it. Think flossing.

"You never forget your first time…your hands suffer through so many false starts before actually taking the plunge." -- Even Cowgirls get the Blues, Tom Robbins

"You never forget your first time…your hands suffer through so many false starts before actually taking the plunge."
-- Even Cowgirls get the Blues, Tom Robbins

Rejection is as sad as an onion who cuts herself and I (try to) minimize exposure to it when I'm in transit by making an effort before I raise my phalanges into the wind. I like to look like a girl(ish). I brush my hair and keep it down. I put on deodorant and rub sweet smelling coco-butter into my skin. I dress a certain way: Yoga pants, no camel toe. Skirts or dresses are asking for mischief. I don't wear jewellery, have copies of my passport, and divide up valuables throughout my pack. Equally as important are the absence of certain accessories -- sunglasses and headphones -- which can act as barriers between drivers and 'hikers. The goal is to stay safe and score a ride.

"Heaven and hell exist and they are right here on earth. Heaven is living in your hopes and hell is living in your fears." -Jelly Bean

Take precautions: Accidents and lunatics span the globe. Get a good nights rest, familiarize yourself with the map, and pay close attention to road signs. I use a compass attached to my watch. Don't get into a vehicle without having a thoughtful look around. And speak to the driver! Stop the car if they aren't doing what you'd agreed upon. Listen to your gut, follow my advice, and heed serious warnings. That being said I firmly believe that There Are Great People In This World. Those who stop will absolutely be concerned for your safety. Thank them for that. "I pulled-over because I'm worried about you, a girl traveling alone! If I didn't stop, the next person might have been a crazy! You have to be careful."


On the road by 10AM.


Where to begin?
I'd recommend starting in Scandinavia -- for me it was Iceland -- where the people have a reputation for being progressive and open-minded. You didn't see me catching rides (much) in Nepal and I won't when I head to Cambodia, any place where locomotion is so cheap, packed, and (relatively) convenient that it'd be disrespectful not to take the bus.

Know where you are going and how to spell it.
One of my strategies is to smile excessively, although I haven't (yet) been to Japan. I focus on learning a word a day in every country I visit. Typically the first seven that I acquire are these: "Hi." "No." "Thank you." "Yes." "happy." "I am happy." "Very (veryveryveryveryvery) much." Depending on the country I'm in I might switch it up to complete sentences during Week Two: "Where do you live?" "Who is your mother?" [That last phrase is particularly effective amongst Jamaican men who will do absolutely anything to avoid getting into trouble with their mommas.]

This might be a bad example.

My idea of playing a practical joke on a yak.

It's important to stand where drivers can see you with enough room for them to pull-over safely #commonsense. My backpack is light; 11 kilos and full of low-maintenance. Sometimes I have an edible gift --like locally made banana-bread from the banana-bread truck who'd just given me a ride-- that I'm willing to share. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway): The fun in life (and in hitchhiking) hides inside subtle moments we create along the way.

I decided to post this because I'm leaving Sydney. After 15 weeks, and some french that I wish had been crazy, it's time for me to move into a rental car. I'm heading for the hills - snow - and while I wont be getting around by means of a one-digit extension this month there's a good chance I'll slow down if I see you on the side of the road, ladies.

Here's to hoping that everyone you meet is overly kind and has plenty of room.
With two enthusiastic thumbs up,

8 Responses to “Flagging a ride On Out of Here”

  1. Darlene Klobchar June 30, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Dear dear dear Sammi….while not wanting to be a skeptic and wanting sooooo much to believe in the goodness of mankind…..After reading the rules of thumbing for a single beautiful lady…….as a mother AND friend of your parents…I have to step up my constant prayers for your safety… Hugs to you and have a fabulous adventure!!!!!

    • Sammi Travis July 5, 2014 at 4:29 am #

      Aw, thanks so much for stepping it up. If it helps, I’m currently stationed in Sydney with no real plans to hitchhike anytime over the next 3 months 🙂 LOVE YOU!!

  2. deekerson June 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    You’re going to Cambodia?!? I should have known.

    I’m thrilled to read of your experiences, but it goes without saying (“but I’ll say it anyway”), concerned about some of them. Enjoy and be safe. I love being your dad.

    • Sammi Travis July 5, 2014 at 4:30 am #

      I love being your daughter! Thanks for your continued support!! xoxo xoxo xoxo.

  3. gg July 4, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Love you and that, of course, includes your adventurous spirit!

  4. James July 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Every time I read you, I suddenly feel less cool… and I’m super cool (3 levels above regular cool)… I’ll be watching for your thumb, take care!


    • Sammi Travis August 18, 2014 at 12:33 am #

      My thumb’s going to be looking for you, too. xx

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