Friday, April 8, 2016

Hitchhiking as Therapy

So… it’s been more than 5 years since my last entry to this blog.

The main reason spells Ofelia, I was blessed with a beautiful little daughter that turned 5 just a few weeks ago, this changed my life drastically and also took away all the motivation I had to write this blog.
I still have done some hitching of course, although not on the same scale as before.
Hitching Sweden
Still, I’ve had the chance to try my thumb in countries like Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland and the Philippines since.
But that’s not why I wanted to write this entry. 

I’ve been feeling pretty down lately because of reasons I don’t want to talk about but the other day my sister was visiting my parents and I decided to ride with them home to Denmark just to get a change of scenery. Then instead of going home I made a last minute decision to just get the hell out of there, I had to be back in 8 days though because of Ofelia so I scanned for cheap flight tickets in Europe and found tickets home from Poznan in Poland for 10€ a week later.

So off I went, walked out into the rain, stuck my thumb in the air and made a quick prayer to the hitcher gods(take a pick)!
Hitching the Philippines withYuri
At the end of that day I was 750 kilometers down the road in Leipzig, Germany, next day Dresden and after that Wroclaw in Poland. Here I decided I would stay for a couple of days to explore the city and hang out with local people and other travelers.
Sadly, I got quite sick in Wroclaw so in the end I had to take a bus the last 150km to Poznan and fly home from there. I did a last hitch though from Malmö Airport to Malmö.

I wanted to tell you how amazing it is meeting all these people on the road from totally random walks of life, having deep discussions with some or just being grateful they are helping me on my journey.
It can be discussions about their lives, their relationships, what happens in the world, their families or maybe they are curious about all these things about me. You totally get sucked into the conversation and their lives and forget about all the worries you have back home.
Hitching Lofoten Islands in Norway
So in a way, the hitching works as therapy for me. Hearing about other people’s issues or their view on mine. This from a total stranger that you will never meet again (although there are rare occasions you do), so there are no restraints to what they might tell you or what you can tell them. Sure they might judge you, but they are just being honest. You get fully immersed in the hitching whether it’s the current ride or a ride you just said goodbye to and left an impression in both yours and their lives.
Being at home I tend to get stuck in my worries and issues, while on the road I live in the moment. I look forward to the next ride and the people I will meet. You never know what to except and one thing hitching has taught me is that never believe in first impressions or the prejudices I might be carrying.

Anyway, I wanted to give a short summary on the rides I was given during these days, as a tribute to these wonderful people and to show what diversity of people that actually do pick you up.

Leaving my sister’s house, I was first picked by a retired Danish gentleman which nowadays lives in France helping to build houses, we discussed how life differs living in France compared to Denmark during the short ride.

Next was a guy my age that was an ex-soldier, we had a lengthy discussion about the current immigration and integration situation in Denmark and Sweden.

After this another short ride with a guy my age that was on his way to his aunt to give her daughter an Easter Egg because she sent him a gækkebrev (it’s a Danish thing)

Next an elderly fellow named Egon picked me up. He was constantly laughing, smiling and being in a general good mood while speaking with a Southern Jutland accent, it had to be the hardest Danish accent I’ve ever heard! This was on Good Friday and he was driving around his tow truck working, he told me he much preferred to be working the whole Easter weekend then celebrating Easter, he liked working.

Hitching Transnistria, the sign says Chisinau
A German couple my age were the next ones to pick me up, Jonathan was driving while his girlfriend was sleeping in the backseat having a fever. I was riding with them for about 5 hours so me and Jonathan got a lot of talking done! He was currently studying his 3rd year to become a dentist, but he had already finished 6 years of studies before that to become a doctor and had another 3 years to go before he was done with the dentist part.
We discussed everything from the goals of our lives, the current situation in Europe, what makes us happy and why people always seem to choose money over happiness when given the choice?

The last person to give me a ride that day was a well-dressed curly haired gentlemen driving a fancy car, he spoke some English but didn’t really want to talk. Instead he had this monitor in the car on which he was playing music videos from the 80s. Blasting it out loudly in the car while driving at 200 km/h in the rain and dark while eating a Burger King burger with one hand! Made me a bit nervous but I only rode with him for some 20-30 minutes before he dropped me off in the outskirts of Leipzig!
Midnight Hitching in the North

The next day I experienced the issues of hitching in a country where you don’t speak the native tongue.
First a middle age lady picked me up, she did speak some English but was just way to stressed out to do any talking. She drove me a bit at 180km/h and then dropped me of at the ramp going back to where I was coming from! I wonder what was on her mind that day.

Next an older gentleman picked me up, he didn’t speak any English but was still a jolly old fellow! Where he dropped me off I ran into two other hitchhikers wearing red hoodies. They were on their way from the UK to Slovenia as a University Project, there were 180 of them in total and they all started at the same time. Interesting thing to do and compare experiences with J I also happened to run into 3 others from their group at the hostel in Wroclaw.

The last ride of the day was given by two rather young women and a small girl. The girl tried to talk to me but sadly my German is lacking quite a lot. They eventually dropped me of in Dresden where I found a last minute couchsurfing host, yet another great way to meet interesting people!

Hitching Crimea in Ukraine with Margarita
The following day the first car to pick me up was a couple on their way to the family Easter dinner. The guy was 35 just as me, he just left his job just as me, he was thinking about totally changing career and starting doing some more physical work because he wasn’t happy sitting in front of a computer all day long, just as me! Was nice running into someone that is going through the same journey as I’m doing, kind of. We also discussed why German people are so bad at English!

And voila, next car was a middle age man that didn’t speak any English..

The last ride to Wroclaw was given by a very talkative Polish guy named Tomec who had lived the last 34 years in England, he once went there on vacation and because of some Polish crisis at the moment he was given the choice to stay which he did. Nowadays he was missing Poland a lot though.
We spoke about a lot of things. The history of that Polish region, Polish food, women, how he had been tricked into becoming a father then how the mother had lied to their daughter about him and not letting him see her and finally we talked about children in general. Tomec was a very friendly fella which really cheered up my day by talking nonstop!
Curious onlookers in the Philippines
After this I was in Wroclaw a couple of days, most of the time sick sadly which kind of ruined the experience although I did have some great company there, mainly by an Aussie from Perth.
But on the last day I did get one more ride, I was having issues talking because my lungs were hurting but the guy that gave me a ride originally came from France but he had met a Swedish girl once upon a time which made him come to Sweden and now he had children and was stuck here ;)
We mainly discussed the cultural differences and the mentality of the Swedish people, agreeing on a lot of things! Sweden may be great for many thing, but the Swedish mentality is not one of them..

Anyway I’m back home again, but it really got my appetite for hitching going again!
Although if I do decide to write more here I really need to update the design and probably change the name of the blog ^^

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Really nice blog entry Sebbe.