Hitchhiking in Reverse: Navigating the Uncharted Roads of Adventure

Submitted by Anonymous Hitchhiker on 14 November 2009 - 6:45pm

For those who have ventured into hitchhiking, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's that moment when you've ridden public transit as far from the city center as possible and spot a promising spot to stand, just another kilometer down the road. You're determined never to miss a chance for a ride, but now you face two tasks. First, you must reach that perfect "sweet spot" where drivers are likely to pick you up. It can't be just around the corner, as you need to give drivers enough time to notice you. It also shouldn't be near a confusing intersection. Ideally, the driver should be accelerating but not too fast, allowing them to take a good look at you and perhaps feel compassionate. So, how do you get there and also manage to stick out your thumb when cars are passing by? The answer: reverse hitchhiking!

Reverse hitchhiking isn't as simple as it may sound. Sometimes the road is uneven with cracks in the sidewalk, loose gravel underfoot, or overhanging shrubbery that could snag your heel as you walk backward. When there's no traffic, it's easy; you can focus on the road ahead, identifying and avoiding obstacles effortlessly. But when the sound of a car approaches from behind, that's when you need to spring into action, spin around, put on your best smile, and stick out your thumb.

The spinning part is quite straightforward. Most backpacks are heavier than they need to be, so a quick twist of the hips while walking will have you facing the opposite direction faster than you can catch an STD. However, making ground while doing the Toe-Heel Toe-Heel method while maintaining a carefree smile is no walk in the park. Here are a few tips to help:

1. Drivers may find it confusing to see someone walking near the road without construction-worker attire, so give them plenty of "face-time," preferably without sunglasses or a beard (note: easier for women than men).
2. When you hear the sound of an approaching vehicle, turn around (having dangling objects on your bag helps). Move away from the road or closer depending on the situation.
3. Before attempting the spinning maneuver, scan the ground ahead for obstacles.
4. While attempting eye contact, slow your pace to signal that you're looking for a ride and not just hiking.
5. If you don't succeed, simply plant one foot and swing like a monkey in a tree to return to your original hiking position. Remember, no harm, no foul.
6. In most cases, if a vehicle does stop, it's usually after they've passed you. Revert to your old hitchhiking lessons and make haste to the car.
7. If there's a line of cars, be cautious to ensure you don't trip on anything as you approach your special spot.

As you approach that special spot, remember that it's not just about where you stand; it's also about the whims of fate that determine whether you get a ride or not. Happy hitchhiking!