Hitchhike Journal #5: Zurich – Milan| I was asked for sex

21 July 2016
Distance: 279km
Transportation: 1 truck, 2 cars
Duration: 6 hours


As the trip from Stuttgart to Zurich, since it was my first time hitchhiking crossing border, I decided to take carpooling to get me to Zurich. Luckily, it was a good option because that day had a terrible weather. It was a blast staying in Zurich. Staying with my host Tim Dubbels, it has partly confirmed how great Couchsurfing is. Tim has made my stay awesome and a great company. On the last day, he kindly took the morning off and drove me the first 40 minutes in the direction to Milan. I got a chance to watch the most picturesque view in Switzerland before hitting the road again.

Being dropped off at a gas station which is just few kilometres away from the Gotthard tunnel and having the farewell with Tim, I was ready to hitchhike. The sun was strong and it started heating up. I struggled the first 20 minutes in the hot weather. It was a hard time to hitchhike at that moment since everyone went on holidays and most cars were full of people. I was hoping to have someone let me join the ride soon because the sun shining directly to my face really made me dehydrated and tired. After awhile, a truck picked me up and offered me a trip to Bellizona. The truck driver didn’t speak any English, neither German. With a little Spanish knowledge, I tried to communicate with him just to catch some awkward conversations. Everything went fine the first hour driving. We made a stop to rest the truck as he told that it was needed. He started a conversation which I could hardly understand what he was trying to say. He was saying something about money, writing down 100CHF = 95€, which I thought he wanted me to pay him as I took his ride. Then, he pointed to the mattress behind him and gave me a package of condom. I was stunt for a second, and calmly said No. I really did not know what I was trying to do eventually – Should I have run? I was in the middle of nowhere and being freaked out would not solve the problem. He asked me twice if I wanted to have sex with him and he would pay me 100CHF. I told him I had a boyfriend and would not do that, which would be the stupidest excuse because he wouldn’t care obviously. “I could go out here and catch another ride from here” – I told him. He said it was cool and he would drive me to Bellizona. He actually asked around a guy if he was driving to Milan but sadly he said no. At one point, I thought I could not do anything much at that moment so I continued my trip and tried to ‘act cool’. Was I scared? Of course I was, but I did not show that to him. I just had to wait to arrive in Bellizona and for this ride to end. I was out of that truck after 10 minute ride from the last stop.

The guy who was asked by the truck driver was at the same stop as I was dropped off. He recognised me and asked me if I wanted to share the ride even though he was not going to Milan. He was kind and gave me a ride to a town near by to take a train to the Milan city centre. Having arrived in Milan, I fell completely relieved. The image of the truck driver giving me the condom terrified and traumatised me but it was a lesson to learn. I was safe and that was all I knew.

Hitchhike Journal #4: Heidelberg – Stuttgart

15 July 2016
Distance: 121km
Transportation: 1 truck, 1 car
Duration: 2:30 hours


It was my second hitchhike and still nervous like the last time. However, I felt more confident about getting a ride since the distance was not that long. The Gas station on Speyererstr. 20 was my starting point at 8am. It was not a good day to hitchhike because the temperature was quite high, even in the early morning. The spot I was standing had no shadow and the sun was shining directly to me. Somehow it was good because people could see my sign better. After 20 minutes standing there, I got my first ride offered by a truck driver. He was heading to Bietigheim which is 30km away from Stuttgart so I was happy to join the ride.

Just before the exit to Bietigheim, the truck driver kindly dropped me off at gas station. There I met an Italian couple hitchhiking back to Italy since the guy lost his passport in Berlin. I was waiting for just 5 min and another guy who was on the way to his work in Ludwigsburg offered me the ride to there. On the way, somehow he decided to make the ride all the way to Stuttgart and to where I wanted to go. A bit surprised but happy to meet such a person. Good people are surrounding us but we’ve just never noticed it.

In Stuttgart, I will staying with a Couchsurfing host. Having been on this site for more than 3 years but now I have finally made use of it. I’m looking forward to meeting more people from this community.

Hitchhike Journall #3: From the hidden city Mannheim to the fairy tale city Heidelberg

Spending 3 days in Mannheim and somehow I did not have the feeling that I was travelling. Probably the comfort zone I got from seeing people I know made me feel more at home and I was still in Germany. In Mannheim, I stayed over my best friend’s house and he also gave me a tour around the city. The weather was absolutely pleasant during my stay and couldn’t ask for more. During my stay, I also got involved in a charity event organised by the Leo Club Mannheim by being the photographer for the event.

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CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT MANNHEIM

I left Mannheim on 12 July. I was picked up by H – who I have known for almost a year now. He kindly offered me a ride to Heidelberg and a place to stay. It is not a big distance to Heidelberg from Mannheim. However, how amazing that these 2 cities are so close to each other but so different from each other. Mannheim is considered an ugly city, and shadowed by the charming well-known Heidelberg. Somehow true! My eyes were wide open the moment I reached the city. The scenery was almost comparable to those described in fairy tales.

It was a great idea to spend my birthday day in this beautiful place. The first thing I did was climbing to that famous castle – Schloss Heidelberg. The castle itself is not that special but the view from the highest point is priceless. I looked over the other side of Neckar, all houses seemed to be swallowed by the giant green monster. Standing there I wished to play princess waiting for my charming prince.

Hitchhike Journal #2: Cologne – Mannheim

9 July 2016

Distance: 247km
Transportation: 3 cars
Duration: 5 hours


Waking up early this morning with full of excitement because I knew from today on, I would hit the road and will be there for the coming months. Having everything packed, I headed to a subway stop from where I could walk to the gas station. The gas station is at Am Verteilerkreis which is the gas station before the exit to the highway. As my destination was Mannheim, I looked for the direction to Bonn and Koblenz and that gas station was a perfect spot.

It was a tiring enough walking from the train stop to the gas station since I had quite a big backpack on, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get a ride right away. When I arrived at the gas station it was exciting at first. Everyone told me that it would be easier for girls. After 30 minutes, no luck for me. Moving around to get the best spot but everyone just smiled at me and gently said no. Another 30 minutes, there was a man kindly asked if I wanted to go to Mainz with him (which was halfway for me). I was happy enough to have an offer so I took the ride. After some chit chat, turned out, he had been standing at exactly the same spot that I did 20 years ago hitchhiking to Italy.

In Mainz, we missed the exit so he letted me out at one gas station that was a bit off the highway. The location was definitely the best for me so I needed to be on the high way at one point. Luckily for me, some young guys were on their road trip to Cologne and they were happy to help me get to the highway. We found a big gas station which is located on A3 Wiesbaden and I called it the paradise for hitchhikers. There, I met 3 hitchhikes – 2 Dutch girls were heading to Vienna and Thomas, a Canadian was trying to get to Stuttgart (which was on my direction) to see his girlfriend after 6 months apart. We split up after a a short conservation. Thomas, sadly, had been waiting for more than 3 hours at that station but with my sign to Mannheim, we got picked up by a woman just the moment we were in front of the gas station store. I arrived in Mannheim in the afternoon, safe and sound!

 

Hitchhike Journal #1: Emotionally prepared

In the back of my head, there was always something asking me if I would dare to do it – travelling, backpacking, or hitchhiking. Bringing myself in a position of a backpacker, what would be a reason for backpacking. People used to asked me why I did that because what they thought of backpacking of travelling alone was something dangerous to do, especially for a young girl like me. I know my answer – I have the passion for travelling but I don’t have the money to have a luxury travel or even to fly from place to place; if you want to travel, you find a way to do it rather than staying at home and wait till the money comes to you. Therefore, budget travelling is my way of fulfil my passion.

To be honest, before any trip I took, I needed sometime to prepare myself to get ready. Travelling alone is not always easy. You have to take many things in consideration – being on your own most of the time, consequences of being alone, things could happen on the way, etc. However, those things in your head would only make you more nervous and scare you a bit too.  I myself need few days to get my emotion set ready.

I might have not had much experience of backpacking alone, there might be many people have travelled alone more than I have done. However, in my own experience up to now, having yourself mentally/emotionally prepared is the most important thing before the trip is started. First of all, you need to be CONFIDENT about all decisions you are about to make. Have in mind the answer for why you do it. For me it is definitely the experience that I’m so excited to try and to get. It would be a thing that make me grow, and learn better about myself. What yours?

There will be many people telling you bad things could happen to scare you off and stop you. But, if that’s why you want, stick with your mind set. In the end it’s your decision, not theirs, isn’t it? Obviously, there might be some consequences that you are travelling and bad things might happen. However, that’s when you need to be confident that you are up for it, you are prepared to deal with it and will take chances to overcome it. Listen and learn but not let yourself distracted by what people say.

I believe as long as you have your self emotionally prepared, you are on step ahead to get ready for the trip.
Stay safe, trust your instinct but never stop yourself of trying new things.