I'm in LA, I'm going to spend tomorrow night (Saturday night) on the town, and I'm very happy to meet the local redditors. This is the post some fine redditor made. Will settle things in the afternoon re:location and time. Happy to hear suggestions. Go here:



It took a month; and I went through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and a teeny-tiny bit of Arizona.

My rules were:

  1. No paying for travel (except within a city).

  2. No paying for accommodation.

  3. No using Craiglist, Couchsurfing, or similar websites.

Proof, and a few other photos: http://yitzi.imgur.com/all/

Comments: 270 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

atom_rant55 karma

How many times did you exchange a ride for sex?

Millers_Tale39 karma

Also: How many times did you get killed?

CrocodileYitzee21 karma

About six. My rabbi had really low mana by the end of it. He was so mad.

80sjockreddit6 karma

How many times did you get raped in the butt?

CrocodileYitzee21 karma

What, what?

CrocodileYitzee11 karma

Very funny. I actually was propositioned once - by a bisexual albino trucker. It was while looking for a ride at the Iowa 80 - biggest truck stop in the world.

Someone have a good punchline?

thatoneone6 karma

I got nothing...except to tell you I've been to that truckstop a few times. You can get a haircut!

CrocodileYitzee8 karma

I got the only shave of my trip at the Iowa-80 barbershop. Nice place. And just across the hall ... a chiropractor.

BloodChicken28 karma

At any point during the trip did you go as far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

CrocodileYitzee55 karma

As far or further.

onlineroxie23 karma

That's awesome! Weirdest people you stayed with?

CrocodileYitzee77 karma

A group of religious female college students in Philadelphia. They said grace before our meal, and we went dumpster-diving afterwards.

pelesaysnoway21 karma

Craziest/Most interesting thing/person that you encountered or witnessed on your trip?

CrocodileYitzee46 karma

So hard to choose. There was a Chinese-American civil engineer in New Jersey. Really well-dressed guy with a very fancy car, the kind of guy you never would expect to pick you up. He ended up giving me a ride, shouting me coffee, and teaching me some really cool things about how large public works projects are executed; and how, after a decade or so of work, being an engineer becomes more about people than about structures.

chew231 karma

shouting you coffee?

Pict33 karma

He bought him a coffee. Another Australianism I guess. "Shout me a beer?" Etc...

Nascent19 karma

I'd rather imagine a well-dressed Chinese-American yelling at this guy's coffee.

CrocodileYitzee11 karma

Honestly, I would too.

februaryrich3 karma

Can you explain how it's more about people afterwards? What did he say exactly?

CrocodileYitzee7 karma

Because of promotion. As soon as you're running a team, even a small team, you have to put much more of your energy into coordinating your workers' efforts. Being able to work well with people is suddenly far more important than your actual training, and that only becomes increasingly so as you climb the ladder.

AdamFerg20 karma

Did you notice any trends as you travel through the states as to who liked/didn't like the Australian appeal that we apparently have?

CrocodileYitzee25 karma

It was a pretty uniform response, actually: it warmed most people a little, and every so often someone would be actively positive. I didn't notice any real change from state to state.

d0uble0h20 karma

What was the scariest moment you had on the trip?

CrocodileYitzee75 karma

It happened one night in the Rockies. I had made my way up into the forested mountains outside of town, and it was so warm out that I was intending to just sleep slumped against my backpack.

Then it started to rain.

I took shelter beneath a huge unidentified structure, which I later found out was this abandoned quarry: http://imgur.com/nEH5X5S

But it looks like this at night: http://imgur.com/GXJruC3

Because of the high roof, water was still blowing in from the open sides, so I wrapped myself in a bivy sack that a guy had given me back in Indiana. (I had no tent.)

After a while of lying there, completely entombed in that waterproof shell, in an abandoned quarry, in the forest, in the Rocky Mountains, in the rain ... I heard footsteps.

It was a steady stomping, of boots against gravel. Normally, if I were just in my sleeping bag, I'd sloooowly roll over and face the direction of the steps, to get some view of whoever's going past. But because I was in my bivy sack, I couldn't see anything without unzipping, and rustling my way out. I chose to avoid making any noise, and spent an extremely frightened few minutes listening to those steps. Because of my cocoon, I couldn't really tell where the sound of the footsteps were coming from, or if they were getting closer.

Speako_17 karma

How did you go about asking people for a place to stay or food? Also, best story you have from the whole trip?

CrocodileYitzee45 karma

With only one exception that I can think of, I never asked anyone for a place to stay. If someone offered, I accepted; otherwise, I slept outside.

A best story is hard too choose, but seeing as you asked about food: there was a time when I was walking to a comedy club in Chicago, and on a whim I walked into a Starbucks, told them I was from Australia, told them I was hitchhiking across America, told them I didn't have a lot of money, and asked if I could sing for a Frappuccino.

They said yes.

NWGoodies13 karma

Well what what did you sing?!

CrocodileYitzee10 karma

That time, it was "Fly me to the Moon".

But I did it a few more times, and ending up singing "My Kind of Town", Kermit the Frog's "The Rainbow Connection", and our own national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair".

Sliperyfish14 karma

What part of Australia are you from?

CrocodileYitzee27 karma


Sliperyfish17 karma


Did people comment on the accent much? One of my friends who visited the USA said that girls in particular liked the accent a lot.

CrocodileYitzee37 karma

I actually have a weird accent ... my father's family is from Transylvania, and my mother's is from British India, and they're all Jewish, and quite religious, so I speak with a fusion of Australian, English, and Hassidic New York.

There was one time when I was trying to hitch out of a travel plaza in Pennsylvania. I went up to a lady, and told her I was from Australia, but before I could continue, she said: "No, you're not. I have friends from Australia. You sound nothing like them." and left before I could disagree or show her my passport.

AbherrantMonk17 karma

so I speak with a fusion of Australian, English, and Hassidic New York.

What the fuck does that even sound like? I'm picturing Mel Brooks Dundee or something.

CrocodileYitzee7 karma

Hahaha I can live with that.

Well, I'm this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdjzACwjlz4

So that's how I sound.

HxCurt5 karma

So basically you're half vampire?

CrocodileYitzee12 karma

Yes. Also - no joke - I have unusually large canines, and my father worked all his professional life for the tax department.

MaresDoOrgasm12 karma

I have a few.

  1. Smoke any good weed along the way?
  2. What did you do when you first got to LA?
  3. What are you currently doing?
  4. How did you afford the plane tickets to and from Australia?
  5. What's your favorite food that you first experienced in America on this journey?
  6. What's the biggest regret you have regarding the trip?

CrocodileYitzee24 karma

  1. Haha, I did not.
  2. Showered, and slept in an actual bed. Boring, I know, but you really learn to appreciate showers and beds when you don't always have them around.
  3. Hanging at a friends place in LA for a few days. I figure I'll wander around Hollywood and Silicon Valley a bit and see if anyone wants to make me rich and/or famous. Roll the dice.
  4. I had a few hundred dollars saved up, and I managed to get a cheap flight on one of those discount airfare websites. Plus, I flew in from Israel (I was on exchange there last semester), so that was cheaper.
  5. A 99-cent cherry pie I purchased at a gas station in Colorado. Not even kidding.
  6. Not making it to Hannibal, MO. Relatedly, failing to hitch a ride down the Chicago River/Mississippi on a barge.

Jennyvarela3 karma

I live in LA, dont forget to visit the observatory and not too far from there is a place called House of Pies. One of the best pies of my life.

CrocodileYitzee2 karma

I'll check it out. Which pie do you recommend?

lildice211 karma


CrocodileYitzee19 karma

Do it. Action is best cure for fear and sloth.

Seriously, pack some reasonable clothing, any medicines you might need, and some emergency funds. Anything else, you can wing it.

There's nothing I would change. There's a lot more in America that I'd like to see and do, but I was attempting to do a very particular quest, and I knew that'd come at the expense of sightseeing. I expect I'll travel around the States quite a bit more in the future.

blukat00711 karma

Why did you decide to do this trip? And how has it influenced how you see the world?

CrocodileYitzee49 karma

I've always been very interested in American mythology. The notion of the American pioneer has especially fascinated me, and I tried to capture its spirit using my three rules, which ensured that I usually had no idea where I was headed next, or where I would stay once I got there.

The final push to do it was when I read F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" in May this year. Within a week of reading its superb closing passage, I had booked my flight.

It really drove home a lot about the huge divide between the way America is conceived and the way America is executed. The dreams of Jefferson and Adams and Franklin, and the sacrifices of Hale and Rodney and Dickinson, seem a far cry from the real problems of the working classes today.

AllWoWNoSham2 karma

What are your three rules?

CrocodileYitzee7 karma

Well, I'd be violating the first two if I told you.

But actually:

  1. No paying for travel (except within a city).
  2. No paying for accommodation.
  3. No using Craiglist, Couchsurfing, or similar websites.

scleitrim9 karma

Any injuries that you had to deal with? And how long did the entire trip take you?

CrocodileYitzee22 karma

I have a small piece of gravel in my hand from a biking accident a couple of months ago. At some point, I agreed to let a nursing student I was staying with try to remove it using only a kitchen knife and a Leatherman. Not the brightest idea ... and the hospital the next morning told me that it was too deep for anyone other than a specialist to extract.

Porch_Monkey_4_Life9 karma

What do you do for a living? How did you afford necessities? How did you have so much time off to do this?

CrocodileYitzee23 karma

I am a university student, and Australian universities have a really good student loan system, and student welfare. I was on exchange last semester, so I ended up with a Northern Hemisphere summer vacation.

DeerOnTheRocks9 karma

How's the pizza?

CrocodileYitzee12 karma

Chicago's trademark deep dish pizza is a gamble: I tried a meatball pizza from one place, and couldn't stomach it; I tried the pepperoni pizza from another, and loved it - even if I did only manage to finish half of small.

Gas station pizza is surprisingly good, even when lukewarm.

Lee-Kinanus2 karma

Did you happen to have a cheese steak while in philly?


CrocodileYitzee5 karma

I did not. Did I miss out?

TropicalDictator9 karma

Did you cross the Mississippi in an inflatable raft?

CrocodileYitzee15 karma

Haha no, but I had intended to stop by Hannibal, MO, hometown of Mark Twain, and read "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" by the Mississippi's shores.

After spending three days trying to hitch a ride from Chicago to St Louis, I was walking by the side of the Interstate with no idea of what to do next when a passing Russian laborer asked if I needed help. He was headed along the I-80 into Iowa. I accepted.

callMEmrPICKLES9 karma

Get drunk?

CrocodileYitzee20 karma

Nope. A few people gave me some free beer, but I never indulged too much. Figured I should probably stay in control of my faculties as much as possible.

Jzero428 karma

Love reading about things like these! Any tips you can give? I am planing on doing these one day.

CrocodileYitzee23 karma

  • It's illegal to thumb rides in a lot of states, and ineffective most everywhere. Try approaching people and asking for a lift.
  • Travel plazas are a great bet.
  • Most traffic in most gas stations will be local and unhelpful. The more isolated the gas station, the better.
  • Truck drivers are not allowed to give passengers rides: their insurance doesn't cover it, and they could lose their jobs if the company finds out. The exceptions to this rule are owner-operators, guys who work for small fleets, and guys whose compassion and generosity significantly outweighs their prudence.
  • Be ready to get hundreds of "no"s for every "yes".
  • It's really scary, really exhausting, and really difficult.
  • Do it anyway.

kkkkat1 karma

What is a travel plaza? (I'm American)

CrocodileYitzee3 karma

They're like truck stops, but full of nice stores and air conditioning; and open to the public, not just trucks.

finmoore37 karma

Which state is your favorite?

CrocodileYitzee32 karma

Very tough call. I'd like to make special mention of Pennsylvania, though. Philadelphia was like the baby's bear's porridge in Goldilocks. New York City is loud and filthy and aggressive, and New Jersey is thick with soporific ennui. Philadelphia was juuust right.

It's a real city, but it isn't an angry city. It's got some wonderful history, and it does a good job of preserving and displaying that history. They worship Benjamin Franklin, and he deserves it. Truly lovely place.

TheLonelyWorm6 karma

did you ever have to sleep outside? And how much money did you have saved up for this?

CrocodileYitzee5 karma

I had to sleep outside a few times. Once, I was sleeping in a forest in the Rocky Mountains when it started raining. I ended up taking shelter beneath a really creepy structure, which I later found out was an abandoned quarry. Looked like this:


After air fares, I only had a few hundred dollars. Got a LOT of free food and coffee along the way.

eminems_ghostwriter6 karma

Is your next destination Alaska?

CrocodileYitzee11 karma

I would like to sled the Yukon at some point, but it is not very high on my to-do list.

themook1e5 karma


CrocodileYitzee19 karma

Friendly sea turtles.

LaMouth4 karma

Worst part of the whole journey?

CrocodileYitzee10 karma

The three days that I was trying to get out of Chicago. After much effort, I made it to a small town called Bolingbrook, but rides out of there proved impossible, so I eventually accepted a ride back to a travel plaza in Chicago to try again.

The next day, the exact same thing happened, but to a town called Willowbrook.

It's the exhaustion that gets to you: the combination of uncertainty, sleep deprivation, and constant refusal slowly beat you down. And the more exhausted you are, the harder it is to keep asking for rides, and the more likely you are to be refused.

KilowogTrout5 karma

Shit man, you should have posted to /r/chicago! I bet someone would have given you a ride or offered some advice.

CrocodileYitzee11 karma

My third rule was: "No using Craiglist, Couchsurfing, or similar websites."

I felt the whole exercise would be much too easy if I used the great power of the Internet. Also, I wanted to preserve the sense of not knowing what was coming next, I felt that was truer to the spirit of the American pioneer.

MacaRat4 karma


CrocodileYitzee9 karma

Alligators are pussies.

vinuash3 karma

Do you feel like you had any benefit to being Australian while doing this excursion? Or do you feel like an American attempting to hitchhike across the country could have the same positive results with no real change and it be all based on luck?

CrocodileYitzee3 karma

I think it might be slightly harder for an American, but it certainly wasn't as though being Australian was a cheat code that made it all easy. People were a little nicer to me ... but only a little.

One_Percenter3 karma


CrocodileYitzee2 karma

I haven't had any beers except for the low-grade stuff that people donated, so I can't really comment ... yet.

IJustGrabbedACactus2 karma

What was the craziest thing that happened to you on your trip? Also, what was your favorite area of the country to go through?

CrocodileYitzee3 karma

One time, I was walking between a couple of small towns in the Rockies. A woman pulled up in a pickup truck. She had her daughter, granddaughter, grandson, and niece with her. She said she had no room inside, but that I should hop on the back. We ended up cruising over to the Rifle Falls State Park.

It is THE ONLY way to see the Rockies.

porlet272 karma


CrocodileYitzee7 karma

I was stopped by highway patrol in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois; and once, when I was right outside a nice hotel asking departing clients for a ride, a tall man in a red polo shirt came up to me, pulled out his badge, and very loudly told me to leave.

However, none of the cops ever cited me for anything, just told me to move on.

Americans are fine. They're real people, with real generosity, and real meanness. The more people you meet, the harder it is to categorise or generalise.

sukari2 karma

Hey mate - any particular inspiration / motivation for this? Scary moments (I was always warned not to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers when I went to visit the States!)?

CrocodileYitzee3 karma

I had a lot of inspiration from the page and screen. Special mention to Ra's al Ghul and Syrio Forel, who got me through the terrifying times.

When I was leaving New Jersey, I actually walked through the entirety of Camden (most-dangerous city in America, 2009) to get to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. I figured I'd be pretty safe if I just stuck to the side of the highway. I was approaching a particularly wooded overpass when I spotted a man hidden among the pillars. Without reacting in any overt way, I turned on the spot and walked back the way I came. After a few paces, I glanced back, and he was standing up with his hands on his hips.

I took my chance with ten lanes of traffic, and proceeded with my journey on the other side of the road.

samoprd791 karma

I think u met my neighbors in ny. They were there from detroit on vacaton about a month ago. .

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

Doesn't ring a bell, but more info?

InfernalWedgie1 karma

You might wanna cross-post to /r/LosAngeles. I'm sure a few of us might like to get together and hear your stories of the road and have a few brewskis.

If it doesn't violate your road rules, we won't offer you hospitality nor lodging.

CrocodileYitzee2 karma

That sounds fun. How do I cross-post (rookie Redditor here _)?

paigelbagel1 karma

Was hitchhiking nervous for you? Was there anyone who seemed a little creepy?

CrocodileYitzee2 karma

There was one trucker who gave me a lift, and reminded me of the old neighbour on Family Guy, the one with the crippled dog.

Doing something like this was frightening pretty nearly all the time, but the actual danger probably isn't quite as high as it seems. The whole thing is an exercise in fear management.

throwawaywaffle1 karma

Can we please, please be friends? I'm an American girl that has hitchhiked from LA to Cincinnati, Ohio and I've actually been planning on backpacking Australia. My problem is the lack of information on the web about people with similar experiences. I have questions for an an Australian!

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

I'd be happy to help. Message me.

Jimmyfloyd9011 karma

I think I'm would like try this some day

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

Do it.

schn3d31 karma

Sorry if it was already asked: What was the weirdest thing that happened to you during your journey?

CrocodileYitzee7 karma

One morning in Silt, CO, a retired pastor with wild grey hair and an incongruously well-kept moustache approached me with an offer of charity.

He walked with me into a gas station, gave the girl behind the counter five dollars, and instructed her that I'm from Australia, and that the money is for me to buy food.

Just before he left me to my little shopping spree, he turned to face me, thrust a finger towards my chest, and said: "Remember: I work for Jesus. Ya got that?"

TheEclectic1 karma

Is the view from the back of the truck near Mono Lake?

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

No, it was somewhere around the town of Silt.

credible_threat1 karma

I'm from the US and I would like to hitch hike across Australia. Any advice?

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

Be aware that most of the country is desert. And not "it's full of towns, but a bit sandy and hot" desert but "skull of a cow next to cactus with a vulture perched on it" desert. Doing the coasts is probably a lot more viable than going end-to-end, unless you want to take one ride all/most of the way.

Alexfour1 karma

Would backpacking Australia or the U.S have been easier (assuming You traveled the same distance and were also an outsider on Australia)

Also what are some places you reccomend in your homeland , I'm currently planning on taking a semester off to go to Aussie!

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

I imagine it'd be a lot harder, because although we've got the same land mass as the USA, we have one-fifteenth of the population. Our interior is vast and empty.

Go see the Great Barrier Reef. I haven't, yet, but you should.

Overlordscummybum1 karma

I'm from brisbane and i hated Kansas and Missouri, did you hate it there to?

CrocodileYitzee1 karma

I didn't make it to either.