Rule of thumb

Been thinking about doing a fund-raiser later in the year to raise money for cancer charities. Twenty years ago I did a ‘hitch-hike for human rights’ which involved two of us thumbing across eight countries to Ankara where we petitioned the Turkish Government on its human rights record. We raised money and awareness for Amnesty International as we went. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and I’d like to do something on a similar scale. Not hitch-hiking this time. Too old for that sadly.

I feel sorry for young people these days that they no longer hitch-hike. It’s deemed too dangerous. The perception is that the world is a more hostile place. But is it?

When we were student-age it was a great way to get around on little money. And apart from one occasion when a man with swastika tattoos shut me in the back of his van there were hardly any hairy moments, but plenty of epiphanies. Looking back, those really were halcyon days where the milk of human kindness overflowed. Many a driver would take us miles out of their way to get us nearer our destination.  And in return we’d provide company and conversation on the drive. Not knowing precisely where we’d end up or when we’d get there all added to the adventure.

Not everyone approved. The mother of one of my old boyfriends predicted “that girl will end up dead in the ditch.” You were wrong Mrs H.

In theory hitch-hiking ought to be safer now in this age of constant connection. With mobile technology you could give a step by step account of exactly where you were and what vehicle you were travelling in. But apart from the odd stranded truck driver you just don’t see hitch-hikers these days. Who knows, perhaps austerity will bring it back.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alexandra Wallace-Currie
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 12:07:10

    Great blog today!


  2. The martini effect
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 20:40:49

    Thanks! We were talking about hitch-hiking today at work. One of my colleagues once got picked up by Richard Branson!


  3. Rob
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 16:44:01

    I once got a lift in a van full of hamsters being taken to a laboratory. Another time I got picked up by a born again couple who wanted to baptise me at the roadside.


  4. The martini effect
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 17:46:42

    Our least salubrious lift was in the back of a coal lorry in Sheffield!


  5. MH
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 19:54:35

    When I was 23 I used to hitch to work every day along with lots of students doing the same. Work was at the top of a long steep hill and I never failed to get a lift. Nowadays if I still worked there I would walk up the hill for the exercise.


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