Advice for a hitch-hiker might be: Be as open as you can, trust your intuition, empower yourself, learn from others, and enjoy the long, free road!
As a hitchhiker, couchsurfer, solo-cyclist… In fact, as anyone involved in any kind of financially free lifestyle, there are important ways to approach things and valuable lessons to learn. One thing I learnt early on was that it is a deep-rooted philosophy of mine that we should take what we need and give what we can. That means that if you have a roof you can share, you ought to. If you have food to give, do so. If you can spare a seat, you should. And most of these ground rules have come from receiving. From being offered everything from couches to temples, caviar to bread, sports car to back-of-the-truck rides. Such generosity from others spawned in me a firm belief that I must give back whenever I can.
So to suddenly be faced with a living situation involving people who feel quite the opposite about this philosophy, is somewhat disheartening. I am trying to understand more about personal space, about fear of danger, about not wanting to give what you don’t need to… but with no room for compromise it’s feeling awfully bleak. Do we really want to live in fear of ‘something going wrong’? Do we really want to base our choices on the (more unlikely that likely) chance of danger coming our way? Because for every fear we choose to obey, a thousand loves are lost.
We could be living open, living free, giving what we can and taking only what we need. Rejoicing in the goodwill, appreciating the lessons, the stories, the help that travellers can offer us. We could swollow our fears, hitch and be hitched, couchsurf and be couchsurfed, love and be loved. We could do all of this with a clear head and an honest intuition, and in doing so avoid the dangers and reap the benefits.
And we are not powerless, even once an unsavoury situation is upon us. Often, while hitch-hiking or solo travelling, people have asked: “But what would you do if ‘the wrong person’ found you?” My answer is of course, firstly, that I choose not to live in fear, and to project positives… but then I answer: “If something were to happen, I would assert my power, remain calm, and deal with it”. It has happened, once or twice in thousands of interactions, that I found myself with someone who wanted to push a little too far. By following this philosophy and process, it has never turned ugly.
The point is though, I know where I stand when it comes to couch-surfers, hitch-hiking and this giving philosophy. But how to do I stand united with the people I live with, if our foundations are so opposed?