payne00715 karma2013-12-18 18:51:13 UTC
I have refused very few lifts, maybe 4?
Two of them were refused because they weren't driving very far (under 5 km) and the further point was not going to add any new traffic, and I was hitch-hiking at a very good spot (you never know if where you'll be dropped will be a bad spot, so some times it is in your interest to stick with a good shoulder).
One was because she asked me right away that I would have to split half-half the gas cost if I wanted to enter her car, and it's not like she looked like she was part of the lower socioeconomic classes. To me, that didn't sound like a person that I wanted to meet, so I just refused.
The last one was because I had been given 3 lifts over 1 km each (without having to wait a single minute in between!), and that one was also going only 1 km ahead, so I decided I had had enough of those lifts. Luckily enough, right after she departed, a guy did a U-turn for me and decided to go for a 14-hours detour to drive me to my destination.
EDIT: I'm forgetting a lift where I was simply not headed the way it was going.
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payne00715 karma2013-12-18 20:00:40 UTC
This year as I was cherry picking, I met a 55 (or 60) years-old traveller that left France at 16 years old as well: he was deserting to not serve time for the military. He drove to Africa, then met other deserters with whom he bought a wrecked boat and repaired it to then sail across the ocean all the way to South America (by that time he already had a wife and 2 daughters). He then bought horses for the family and travelled around South America for a while before settling down somewhere in there. But then he recently hitch-hiked up to Canada due to the Civil War going on at the moment. His family joined him by hitching boats along the coast.
Pretty amazing dude, I tell you!
payne00714 karma2013-12-18 19:01:01 UTC
From my personal experience, the solo-hitching women that I've discussed with told me they some times meet jerks or perverts, but that those persons never tried to be forceful about anything. As soon as you identify their "little game", simply let them know you are not in their car for that and they usually either drop you, or drive you safely.
As a general rule, it seems like for girls, you will have to cover up (don't hitch with a skirt kind of thing).
In terms of safety in general, I have never felt threatened. People usually assume that a hitch-hiker is pretty poor, so robbing is kind of a ridiculous thought that doesn't come to their mind. In terms of being kidnapped, as TheWindAndRain said, you do have a certain control over your situation: when someone goes away from the planned route, ask them why, and if it sounds fishy, asked to be dropped right away (most of the people are aware that a hitch-hiker may be stressed a bit if they move away from the planned route so they will explain it ahead of time anyways)... and if they refuse, that's when you indeed want to turn to wheel, or use the hand break, or whatever. Realize that they have to keep driving safely so they can't concentrate all their energy on defending themselves from your attacks. Also, if you carry a knife, please make sure you know how to use it for self-defence: else it is too easy to be turned against you.
But really, I don't think you should be worried about that too much, though it's always good to be prepared.
payne00710 karma2013-12-18 18:41:02 UTC
My father hitch-hiked a bunch when he was younger. When I learned about this, it impressed me. I thought the adventures I would get out of such a trip would be pretty awesome.
The other side of it is that I had been refusing to get my driver's license because I believed we could organize ourselves as a society in such a more efficient way than by simply all having our individual car. I thus tried to opt out of the system by trying hitch-hiking as it created absolutely no economic demand that would stimulate the oil-economy or the car-economy (unless we count the (small, I believe) amount of extra fuel burned caused by my extra weight in a car). Nowadays, I wish I had my driver's license already because I would have been able to help out certain sleepy drivers and thus give them a pay-back, in a certain way. Hell, a trucker in Ontario this year even asked me if I wanted to take the wheel, but then he ended up denying me the opportunity due to my license-free condition. Ah, the errors of the youth! However, no regrets: the last three years of hitch-hiking have been totally awesome.
Another point would be the cost of travelling while hitch-hiking: the difference is so enormous you wouldn't believe it. If you adopt a rent-free life-style as well, you are looking at an extension of your trip possibly by over 200% (if not way more, depending on the current way you travel/budget). I mostly only pay for food when I am on the road: this means I can easily budget to around 10$/day. Actually, this year I decided to come back to Montreal from Western-Canada by going through the US: the whole trip lasted 32 days (I took my time to take a look at the wonderful National Parks) and cost me 200$... that's a single day of work as a tree planter. (But keep in mind that I also practice dumpster-diving out of disgust toward the horrible amounts of food that can be wasted... and for budget purposes as well.)
The last point would be about the travel itself. When taking a bus, a plane, or whatever, you usually only get to see Point A and Point B. Now if you think about it, hitch-hiking from Point A to Point B has many advantages: it gives you more time to explore the in-between, it lets you meet the locals and talk with them about their political issues and views, and they also tell you about all those little secret places that the bigger crowd doesn't necessarily get to see, and finally there is a chance for you to find a random adventure to be proposed to you.
For your second question, I am afraid it'd be too hard to give you a correct answer. A "percentage" wouldn't be representative of any situation in particular: "waiting time" is a more precise data to ask, if you want my opinion. In terms of that, I would say that I can wait anywhere in between 1 to 75 minutes on average (I mostly wait 30-55 minutes), with a fairly high probability of waiting several hours when you are trying to get out of a big city (higher demographic densities usually correlate with less trust toward each other). That and my love for wilderness makes it so that I tend to avoid big cities as much as possible. The smaller towns have the best adventures and people. :)
payne0079 karma2013-12-18 19:24:26 UTC
If I was a murderer, I definitely would rather go with a hidden crime. Breaking in a house at night and killing someone (or even just stabbing someone at night in a street) seems much more secure than to try to do anything to a hitch-hiker on a major highway with tons of traffic all around.
And for drivers thinking hitch-hikers might be murderers, that's an even bigger non-sense: again, if I was a murderer, I would rather not have to wait on the side of the road to kill someone in the middle of traffic, not to mention that person I would be killing is actually driving.
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