Hitchhiking in the USA

Hitchhiking in the USA

Apart from a couple of short, cheap flights and bus rides, I covered all my miles in the US in cars, either hitchhiking or ridesharing through Craigslist (the US second-hand website, where you can find anything). Very simply, hitchhiking/ridesharing is slow and cheap; but most importantly, it’s a very interesting way of doing things. Above all, I feel as alive as I think it’s possible to feel when I’m out there, thumb out and waiting for a ride, or jumping in a car and meeting new people. There’s nothing else other than you, your bag, and your intent to get the next ride. No choices to be made, no screens to distract you, nothing to shield you from the constant rejection of hundreds of cars passing right by you. This choice-less focus and full exposure is a beautiful thing, and one that forces you to stay present. I definitely want to do more of it. Here’s what I managed in the US so far! Journey 1: Craigslist rideshare from San Francisco to Portland (11 hours) Get picked up in the morning by Lee, who I quickly discover speaks very little English indeed despite having lived in Canada and the US for 10 years (he’s Chinese). We get on very well anyway. It’s amazing how well you can communicate with people without using words. We can certainly both agree that the scenic hills of Northern California and Oregon are “beautiful”. 11 hours later, he drops me off at a bar in Portland. Success. Journey 2: With a hostel friend from Seattle to Vancouver (3 hours) Having met Zach at the...
The Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle and Vancouver

The Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle and Vancouver

The Pacific Northwest is a region of North America that very much has its own thing going on. By this point, you’re far enough north that the mentality has shifted to a colder temperament. Less relaxed, more polite – a lot more like British people. Portland My approach to arriving in Portland was a novel one: go directly to a bar as soon as I arrive in the city around 7pm, turn up to the Couchsurfing event there and see what happens. After quite a while talking to people, it seemed that no one would host me, so I ended up booking a hostel, only to be offered two places to stay immediately afterwards. I ended up regretting it because I didn’t enjoy the vibe at the Hostelling International place I stayed at. Apart from expensive, it seemed very clinical and straight-laced (quiet time starts at 10pm?!). Apparently there isn’t much of a hostel culture in this part of the US. Lesson of the day: patience. The politeness in Portland is legendary, and it really lived up to its reputation. Cars would stop in their tracks to let me cross pretty much anywhere. At the bar, people kept asking me if I was waiting to order, despite standing a solid metre away from the bar and having a full drink in my hand. It was amusing. Speaking of drinks, that’s another thing Portland is famous for – microbreweries. I took a brewery biking tour and indulged in plenty of ales, with some beautiful riding around the city in between. Mostly flat ground, beautiful weather, great company. The Old Knucklehead...
Yosemite: Without Words

Yosemite: Without Words

Because sometimes, it’s better to let the pictures do the talking…ladies and gentlemen, I give you Yosemite National Park.               Love, Joe...