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Hitch hiking and ride sharing

Mikey Lear says “I started hitch-hiking when I was 19 in 2000. I hitched with a friend around England, starting from my house just outside Lewes. We went to Dover, Land's End, up to Newcastle and then back South again, and it took us a week or so. I liked it. We met interesting people, we never quite knew where we'd end up, we swung from miserable to ecstatic on several occasions, and we didn't pay for any of it. Everyone who picked us up, by a process of self-selection, was nice.

 Since that trip I've hitched to France, to Belgium, to Sweden, to the Czech Republic, across America (New York to LA), around Eastern Canada, and from Turkey to England. On my last trip, coming home from Turkey, I got a single lift from the border of Turkey to England, which was about a 30 hour drive. I've crossed the Channel several times by hitch-hiking - not only is it possible but it's quite easy. I've hitched out of central London a few times. I've hitched a ride in a Mercedes on the German Autobahn, a yacht in Rhode Island, a train, a speed boat, the Channel Tunnel, a Harley, a tractor, loads of lorries and a golf buggy. Hitching is still possible today, in fact, it's easy.

 These are the disadvantages and advantages as I see them:



It's free

You don't know how long you're going to be waiting

You meet all sorts of people

You don't know if you'll arrive on time

The people you meet are generally nice (or crazy)

If it rains on you while you're waiting, that's pretty horrible

It's the most environmentally friendly way to travel

You need to be quite tolerant of other people's driving habits

It feels like an adventure

People will think you're a bit weird

You see places that no one else sees


You always feel wonderful when someone picks you up


You become dependent on someone else for a while


You give other people a chance to do something good, which costs them nothing


 If you haven't tried it before, my advice is to go on an open-ended trip with one or two other people. It's much more stressful if you have to be somewhere by some time, and you miss out on the opportunity to say Yes to the German guy you've just met who is suggesting that you go on a detour to see his collection of remote control tanks or to the two men who want to take you hunting for the weekend. Of course it's not for everyone, but I'd advise it to most people. If you've never tried it before and you like the smell of adventure, get your thumb out.”

  For a more structured approach to car sharing and for regular local journeys click here