Have you ever just sat and thought about your views? Ever been so sure you would not do something but then somewhere along your journey you changed your mind or just said fuck it and did it anyway.
When you read all the information online or hear stories about hitchhiking you think WTF and why would anyone put their lives at risk like that. Its something id always seen as a big fat no no, it was something I would never do. There are so many good reasons not to do it the main one being that it is not safe. So when I heard that it was one of the backpackers best ways of getting around I was very surprised but still had no interest in doing it my self. Why would I stand on the side of the road with my thumb out when I can just go on line and post an add on a backpackers site or gumtree and carpool.
The first steps
Id been in Australia around 6 months when I finished my farm work and headed to Airlie beach to party on a boat around the Whitsundays, also a celebratory skydive was in order. My problem was I wanted to get to Cairns and not pay for the very over priced bus. Time to try my luck online so I posted some adds, I got a response very quickly but it was a guy asking for sex not quite what I meant by * Lift Wanted * but I can see where he may off gotten confused. No wait I really can’t.
The next reply was simple ‘ I can give you a lift’ my reply ‘hi who are you?’. At this point I was not in the mood to be offered anything but the asked for lift from A to B. luckly the guy seemed to realise that his txt may have been a bit basic and he told me his name and that he could give me a lift. By this point I had been asked for sex or dirty pictures by about 4 people so my trust issues were beginning to surface. The guy rang so we talked I had to ask if he was going to cut me up, the normal screening to see if he could be a serial killer and make sure he was not just after some dodgy pictures.
He must of said something I liked so I agreed to accept his lift offer after being sent a copy of his drivers license and truck details work etc, safety comes first. I met him the next day and off we went to Townsvil then Cairns, he was funny, friendly and kinda cute only being a few years older than me. Once in cairns I headed off to my hostel, my new trucky friend then txt me and asked me out on a date I agreed.
I didn’t see him after that I think he did not like that I wouldn’t put out, at least I got the lift I was after but he didnt get his happy ending.
Big toe in the Water
The next time I needed a lift was from A roadhouse I had been working at I needed to get to Port hedland for a flight. This time I had a lift arranged, but a week before the lift fell through so I ended up sat outside work with a colleague. We asked everyone who passed us until a trucky said he would take me. I spent the next three hours talking and putting the world to rights.
Jumping in Feet first
They say third time is the charm and when it comes to hitchhiking this was very true for me, Me and my sister where a Kularu and had to get back to Darwin for our crocodile swim. The only way we could do this with out spending $200 was to hitchhike. After me stressing out about it for a few days and after I had made several back up plans and worked on my self defence me and Dani (the sister) made a Big sign saying Darwin and we got up early to start. Luckily for us it was an overcast morning and only 22-25 degrees so the hour we spent walking along the road watching the odd car pass us was not to bad. I will admit I was starting to panic I am a natural worrier, if I can worrie about it I will. My sister on the other hand took to hitchhiking with easy she was straight to the road with the sign out and thumb up. A real pro.
Finally a car pulled up and a nice old couple got out and waved us in, they were two of the nicest people I have met, both from south Australia and they owned a farm. We spent the day sight seeing with them and then they dropped us of in Darwin city center.
The only way to get around
It was a few weeks before we had to put our thumbs to work again, we had left our car share group and gotten a lift to the main high way from Alice springs to Uluru. Dani got to work at the side of the road and before I could move our stuff a car had pulled up. A couple in a RV picked us up Peggie and Max, they had daughters and couldn’t pass bye two girls on the side of the road. Its hard to write about these two as I can not find the words to express how grateful I am to of met them. I guess some times you meet the right people being just what you need. It felt like being with family, we camped with them and had a BBQ and camp fire. They looked after us and on the day we left Uluru we went to their campsite and had tea etc they found us a good spot to start our next hike from. Peggie and Dani got teary on saying goodbye, its not what you expect when you’re on the side of the road and I’m sure they did not expect it when they picked us up. I know I will look back on them with fondness and I hope we keep in touch.
OK so enough of the soppy stuff the next person to pick us up was a young single male backpacker he took us an hour up the road and I left my sunglasses in his car ( still gutted about this). Then a young doctor who was very interesting. She dropped us back at the main highway where we stopped for lunch before heading back to the road.
It had been two hours ( the longest we had waited) only three cars had passed us and I had given up and decided to walk the 2k to the next camp when a couple pulled up in their RV and offered to take us 250k up the road, they yet again were lovely people they got us a free powered sight for the night and made us breakfast. We went to cooper pedy with them, thats when we decided to go 250k more to see an old friend of mine. The couple gave us a lift to the road and made us promise we would ring if we couldn’t get a lift as it was very quite and raining. We got a lift in 3 minutes with a group of backpackers.
After a night spent at my friends we hit the road again, with in afew minutes an old man picked us up. He was one of the most interesting people I have ever met, a 72 year old miner from cooper who was on his way to have an injection in his eye ewww. He read poetry and new some long ones of by heart which is just incredible he told us how his memory is going so he learns the poems to keep his mind active. He quoted the owl and the pussy cat to us.
Let me set the seen an old man looking at you wells saying
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
yeah I will say no more.
Any way he was a really nice man with 9 children 6 were girls which was why he picked us up, he got us lunch and left for his hospital appointment so we got our thumbs out and found a lift with a trucky. Who dropped us of reluctantly at our couch surfing place. He wanted us to stay with him and his wife but we already had somewhere, the best part was that he got out of his truck to warn our host to look after us and that he knows where he lives.
Although hitchhiking is not the safest way of getting around the 2000+ k that we did was one of the best experiences iv had. We met some amazing people who showed us kindness, generosity and restored my faith in humanity. The only thing I would change if I could, would be not leaving my sunglasses in a random car. They will be missed.
Just in case anyone is reading this thank you.