Why did you pick us up? We ask the Mikael, after an hour ride. We are curious to know, if not the real motivations, at least why people say they decided in a micro-second to stop and share a ride with us. If language differences allow, we will always try to ask, to know what this trust and complicity is made of.
“Because I wanted to help” or even “Because I wanted to help…help improve the image of my country”. Simple and sincere.
“Because you asked, I have never picked a hitchhiker before”. This makes us feel really lucky, as it happens sometimes when asking at petrol stations. The thought behind is that those who would not stop for you on the road, feel better if they can meet you shortly before engaging in a longer relationship (or that we speak better than we look, that might be too).
“Because I saw a hitchhiker…yesterday”. Marta’s favourite. We are eternally grateful to “the hitch-hiker of yesterday” and always hope, when we are stuck, that at least we might be that one for the hitch-hiker of tomorrow.
And sometimes, we are even that for ourselves, when they say “We saw you an hour ago” and thought of stopping on the way back home.
“Because I’ve been there, done that”. The worldwide international community of travellers, couchsurfers, hospitalityclubs and hitchhikers around the earth and across time. You always know when you meet one. No ackward conversations, no funny questions, just the happy encounter of meeting a friend from some roving species or another.
Some others, of different age (from kids to grandparents) may say ” I would like to travel too”. Then, we encourge and hope you do, in whichever shape you imagine that travel.
“I always pick hitchhikers”. The simple reply of those that spend time on the road, that value company, and enjoy sharing time or coffee with the same simplicity that they reply, as if hitchiking was the obvious way to travel.
There are some people we dare not ask, as it is obvious you are sitting there to fulfill a mission: to listen and assent, to be the ears that believe their stories, no matter how bizarre or incredible they may sound. Funny, surprising, at times even believable and more often totally impossible, ingenuous or tricky, delusive, imagined or real. We usually smile when remembering their names; once in a while its fun.
In the same line, but with total sanity, are those that usually save us from dark or rain with the pretext that they are going to travel for another 10 hours and could use some company. Often good music, coffee in a petrol station, interesting conversation (or discussing football with Boris if nothing else works). They take us for miles when we think there is no chance.
Many more replies that we may have forgotten, even more that we do not request, and probably reasons that not even they themselvers understand, make hundreds, thousands, millions of hitchhikers and hitchpickers trust each other and share their time. Sometimes hours and thousands of kilometers, other times a couple of them (often of invaluable help, to put you on the right track or junction!).
We thank everyone that has or may pick a hitchhiker…and if you are around, we would like to ask, why did you pick them up?
See you on the road!