- Travel and Places
5 things to do while hitchhiking
For every single hitchhiker out there, and even your regular old backpackers, there are long periods of boredom accompanying the brief excitements (when on the road, that is). Standing on the dusty corner of some nowhere town for hours can get dull, and generally that's when one gets the best ideas.
This is what we all begin with, I do believe, especially if you're by yourself. The amount of games available to you are only limited by your imagination. You can create circles within circles on the pavement, and attempt to get rocks into the middle circle, and calculate your score accordingly. You could even try to get rocks dead-on the painted line of the shoulder of the road - why not?
My favorite road-side project. was when I was hitchhiking with my brother. We decided to build a fort at the side of the road, to hide from the sun. We decided that since it was so bloody hot out, that one of us could sit in the shade while the other thumbed for rides. I dare say we ended up with a fort worthy of a king.
That's right, contemplate life. I don't mean think about your girlfriend, car, or how cool the moon looks in the sky, I mean think about the essence of existence. With the freedom and detachment of hitchhiking, and traveling in general, comes a serenity, and the potential to get some existential thinking done.
Sit down on your pack, a comfy tree stump, or a collection of garbage, and take a look around. What can this tiny little morsel of the world tell you about yourself, or about life down this neck of the road. What are the expressions on the faces of those driving by? Are they sad, mad, excited, laid-back, or indifferent? At this point, you are the weird one that stands out in town, you are the 'bum' families gawk at as they're on their way to morning church service - smile at it all. Disconnection from 'normality' can be one of the most eye-opening experiences when it comes to finding yourself, as organized society is notorious for filling our minds with useless perceptions, judgements, and prejudices. Be an observer, take it all in, learn, and when you pick up your pack and head off, look forward to the next time you get to sit down and experience life in your own little moment.
Books, books, and more books
This is an obvious one. Books are what lead to the explosion of knowledge on this massive Earth of ours, and for good reason. Personally I like taking two kinds of books with me, one for purely entertainment value, to help me unwind and relax. The other is generally philosophical or spiritual, to inspire me and keep those intellectual thoughts constantly on the move. The stimulation of hitchhiking feeds the mind of 'thinkers' and 'dreamers,' so I would highly recommend it - at least try it!
Try out various thumbing techniques
There are days where holding a sign up, or simply holding your thumb out, is the best option - in fact that's usually the best option. Most people forget, though, that every single person that passes you by is their own unique life-form, so what works in getting a ride from one could be vastly different from what convinces the next person to pick you up. Write gimmicky signs, using "squirrels," "kittens," or even a smiley face to try and make people laugh. If they don't pick you up, yet they drive by with a big smile on their face, well, isn't that nice in itself? Too many people are caught up in being miserable these days, so let their happiness make you happy, thus propelling you forward... It couldn't hurt, anyway.
Work on your singing, writing... Whatever!
I am no singer, dancer, or entertainer, but when i'm alone and strolling down a lonely road, it can be uplifting to break out into spontaneous song! Now, the only song I have ever memorized is "The Highwayman" by The Highwaymen, and being the godly song that it is, I could sing it till the end of the Universe and be content - but you don't have to be. Find some old folk songs of the Celtic, English, Irish, etc. variety, and sing away. I even make up my own songs, some that rhyme, but most don't - but who cares? If the animals start laughing at you, well, you have other issues there anyway. Relax, mellow out, and stop caring about the mindset you had when you were a sedentary suburbanite, the road is a friend that doesn't judge.