I went hitchhiking

None of my friends would drop me off, they said they were worried.

But I sort of think they were just nervous that if anything happened to me, they’d get in trouble.

So I took an Uber to a sushi place, but on the highway to get there I said “hey! Pull over here.”

The lady was flustered, so I told her again “hey! Pull over.”

I told her this was a good spot, she was still confused, and I said “I’m good here, you’re fine, thank you!”

I was on the highway, first time hitchhiking.

Very loud, very distressing, cars whizzing by.

But within 8 minutes, I got my first ride!

Ended up getting 6 rides total from 5 people, and got about 2 1/2 hours away from home after about 10 hours time.

Here are some things I noticed:

Everyone feels more alone than we imagine

Everyone is suffering in different ways and is worried that it won’t get better in the future

Lots of people believe (maybe rightly so) that money would put a huge dent on their problems

Humans trust other humans more than we give people credit for

Rejection is hard, but the more you get, the easier it becomes, you become immune to it.

Your smile has a bigger impact than you think. Have a real smile with your eyes too.

Eye contact is CRUCIAL when someone is judging you.

Truly listening to someone is incredibly powerful

What seems so scary right before you do it, always feels incredible after.

Our minds are so clever, they will throw so much noise in your brain to try and convince you not to do something, totally rational arguments that any sane person would agree with, but you have to ignore them, it’s just fear. 

Small wins help you get the next win, get that first little “small win.”

Take strategic, periodic breaks. They will recharge you and help you come back so much stronger.

Sometimes you have to do what other people strongly tell you not to do.

If you want to do something, there is almost always (98%) a way to get it done.

Playing an “outcast” in society can be quite fun. Sure some people give you dirty looks, but a lot more people smile and think “hell yeah, I wish I was doing that.”

Practical tip: If a funeral procession goes by, put your thumb down and sign away as soon as possible.

Appearance does play a huge role in getting a ride. 3 women that picked me up immediately mentioned something about my appearance.

Practice embarrassing things. It’s a bit embarrassing to hitchhike, people sort of put “beggar” and “hitchhiker” in the same category and I guess that’s accurate. One begging for a ride, one begging for money, so it’s a bit embarrassing to be the one on the side of the road as everyone goes by. But you have to think in terms of individual people. It’s not a crowd staring at you, thinking “look at this loser” it’s just individuals in their own cars going by. Plus it’s good to be a little humbled.

No “free lunch.” In Uber, you pay for your ride and you don’t have to talk to the driver. When you hitchhike, the ride is free, but the conversation is mandatory. If you don’t talk a lot, and listen a lot to their problems, really staying engaged, you won’t get far.

Guilty until proven innocent. When a car stops, if you have a hat on, take it right off and approach the car slowly, (Un)aggressively and keep a distance from the car. Smile and speak softly. Just because they stopped doesn’t mean they’re going to let you in, remember you are a stranger on a busy road, you are guilty until they decide you’re not.

Listen to practitioners. People that hitchhike don’t give you the horror stories, it’s the people that never have.

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