Travel partners

We've all seen numerous postings like this

Hitching mate Sun October 11: Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia

Hi beautiful people,

I'm hitching from Prudhoe Bay to Ushaia starting next Sunday, the 11th of October that is. Anyone interested in joining, sharing a part of the route? Write me a message, please :)

in the Hitchhikers group on C$ and while some of them attract replies in the group, and others may result in a PM to the poster, nobody ever seems to come back with a

A few weeks ago I asked for a travel mate here and Hupseflups replied that he/she was interested. We ended up exchanging some emails, talked on Skype and last week we travelled from A to B via X and Y, and travelling with Hupseflups was the best / worst thing I ever did...

So lacking any public feedback, here are my experiences travelling with a partner, during a longer period, so excluding the far more frequent times that you hook up with someone for just one or two rides.

Six of my seven partners were women, one trip was with a mixed couple.

Anne - May 1985, Athína to Raststätte Nürnberg-Feucht Ost

My first longer term (7 rides, 2,231.0 km, spread over three days) partner was Anne M. from Helsinki. We met in Hostel "Annabel" in Athína on 25 or 26 May 1985 and left on Monday 27 May. Via stops in Larissa, and at the Thessaloniki-Yugoslavia junction, we managed to eventually get to Evzoni, the GR-YU border at 21:21, just over nine hours after leaving Athína. The next day, we spend the night sleeping outside at the border, an Italian truckdriver took us to the exit of Velika Plana, where we spend another night sleeping outside.

Three more rides together followed on Wednesday 29 May, and mere minutes after we arrived at Raststätte Nürnberg-Feucht Ost, at 21:56, Anne got a ride that would take her further towards Berlin, while yours truly had to wait until 23:22 for the first of the two rides that would take me to De Bilt, be it via, not all very logical, Oldenzaal!

The entire distance from Athína to De Bilt, 3,025,9 km had taken me 68:44, and that led to many of my fellow soldiers, I was doing my national service that year, telling me that I would never have done it that fast without this blonde Finnish woman at my side...

General thoughts on Anne and me travelling together? Positive! Keep-in-touch-factor? We spoke one more time, she told me that she got to Helsinki without problems.

Emma - August 2006, Roche (Cornwall) to Fleet Services (M3)

At the time we met, after a post from her on Digihitch, Emma V. was a journalist working for a local radio station (Pirate FM?) in Cornwall. She wanted to make a short report about hitchhiking, and being a Guinness Record holder, I was deemed the most interesting candidate.

So, on 23 August 2006 I hitched from Ipswich to Hayle, where I spend the night with a member of HospitalityClub. The next day I made a long walk along the Cornish coast, to Porthtowan, where Emma picked me up in the early evening. She took me to a hostel she'd booked in Newquay, where she did a first long interview. Later that evening we had dinner in a nice restaurant on the seafront.

The next morning we started our trip together at a petrot station in Roche, and our first two rides were with women, a Britsh one followed by an Irish one, who dropped us on a petrol station at Sourton. Here Emma insisted on getting a ride in a truck (and at that time I wasn't as gung-ho about avoiding trucks as I am now), but it took us some time to find a driver prepared to take two passengers, as it's not legal to have anyone sitting on a bed of a truck while it's driving! We were dropped on the Exeter Services, in essence the start of the M5. The next ride, just 6.4 km further to exit 29 wasn't very useful but Emma found it and wanted to accept it...

It took us 28 minutes to get a ride that would take us to the Fleet Services on the M3, but to get us there, Emma's boyfriend would pick her up there and drive her back to Cornwall, she "forced" the driver, as only women seem to be able to do, to make a substantial detour, via the A33 and M3, from his route to the north-side of the M25!

On the services we said our goodbyes, I called her once more to ask when I could expect my copy of the report, "Real soon" and a few emails to do the same, but I've never received it.

General thoughts on Emma and me travelling together? The hitching with Emma was pretty good, her behaviour afterwards pretty bad.

Inga - June 2008, Porto to Luxembourg

I cannot really add much to what I wrote about Inga before, and I rate the trip with her as one of the very best trips I've ever made in the company of someone else!

Justina and Maarten - April 2012, Oostende to Aire de Porte de Corrèze

Like Inga above, I cannot add much to what I wrote about the trip with Justina and Maarten. We are still in touch, not in the least helped by the fact that they've moved to Vilnius.

Sarah - October 2013, Oostende to Bonn

What held for Inga and for Justina and Maarten also holds for Sarah. The trip counted the same number of rides (13) as the one with Justina and Maarten, but only lasted two days. What I most remember about this trip was the professionalism of Sarah, at no stage did she fall from her role as observer, I was the hitchhiker, and I was the one who had to get us the rides.

Trynke - July/August 2016, Oostende to Vilnius

Several times this year, I posted in the Hitchikers group on C$ that I was making my monthly trip from Vilnius to Oostende and back, without much of a response, until...

... until in the early part of June I got an email from Trynke B. It read, translated in English:

Hi Robert,

I read your message in the 'Hitchhikers' group on C$..

Would it be possible to hitchhike on July 29 together with you from Ostend to Vilnius?

I'm going on holiday to Finland this summer, and am still trying to figure out how to get there (and back)

Maybe I can, if I can travel with you, first visit some friends in Bruges, and spend a bit of time in the Baltics, I've never been there.

I also hope to learn from you, an experienced hitchhiker. I myself have hithed a bit, but not much and probably not in the most effective way.

It would be nice to meet you, and perhaps Audrone, so I hope to hear from you soon!

I'll also send you a C$ message, so you can see my profile there.

I reply that it would be fun to go together, but that it will be a "business" trip for me, meaning non-stop, to which she replies that that would not be a problem at all, so we decide to give it a go...

However, on 22 July, before my departure to Oostende, Audrone's mother collapses, and although Audrone isn't very happy (and that's a rather big understatement) to see me go, I still leave for Oostende on 26 July, a day later than planned. Leaving Oostende on the earliest possible date, 29 July would leave Trynke up the creek without a paddle, so in the end she and a friend come to Oostende on Saturday 30 July, and on Sunday morning we leave.

I half expect that hitching as a threesome on a Sunday morning will be pretty hard, but not for the first time I'm wrong, it probably doesn't take us more than 5 minutes to wave down a car. Two French-speaking girls are on their way to Brussels, and they drop the three of us on the Drongen petrol station, where our ways will part, Trynke's friend will continue towards Charleroi and a festival near Maubeuge, while the two of us will go on to Vilnius via the Google Maps route.

Our wait on Drongen is quite long (1:24), and after a ride that takes us to the Kruibeke petrol station just before Antwerp, we also have lots of time (1:13) to explore that place, before eventually being picked up by another woman, who drops us on the Gierle petrol station next to Turnhout.

Here the wait is a very modest 15 minutes. The German couple that pick us up are on their way to their daughter in Bottrop, but will not pass any Raststättes in Germany, so I decide that we need to get out at "Zwartewater", the last petrol station in the Netherlands, which is not ideal, petrol prices in the Netherlands are about the highest in Europe, so not many people will fill up next to the border, when they can save a small fortune filling up a few kilometres down the road!

Foreigners are fortunately not that well informed and 38 minutes later we're on our way in the direction of Denmark(!) with a Danish (rather obvious...) couple. They drop us on Raststätte Tecklenburger Land Ost, just before the A1-A30 Autobahn Kreuz, which should get us back on track, in casu, on the A30.

And so it happens, after a wait of only 13 minutes, a Kurdish and Romanian guy pick us up, and 21 minutes later we're on Raststätte Grönegau Süd on the A30 with Hannover on the horizon. The wait on Grönegau is the shortest of our trip, just five minutes, and it's followed by the fastest ride (158.9 km/h average speed) of the trip. The driver is on his way to Berlin, but, having already been somewhat apprehensive about giving us a ride in the first place, he tells us that he will "only" (243.6 km) take us to just past Hannover.

On Raststätte Zweidorfer Holz Süd he drops us next to the restaurant, and while walking back to the pumps, I casually point my finger at the female drive of a car with a "B"(erlin) license plate driving towards us. Much to our astonishment she stops, and we get our third ride with a woman, which is well above the average I get as a single male hitchhiker. The lady drops us on my "beloved" (the words of my wife) Raststätte Michendorf Süd, from where the third F/M couple of the day (again, well above my single male average) give us a ride into Poland, to MOP Zalesie.

By now it's 22:24, but true to the "non-stop" spirit, we push on, and just 24 minutes later a fourth(!) F/M couple give us a ride, to the last MOP before Warszawa, MOP Brwinów.

It's now 01:42, outside it's pissing down, and only four hours and thirty-seven minutes later, at 06:19, will we leave the place. On MOP Małopole where we're dropped we also spend a too long (2:31) time and it's here where I get a first hint that Trynke not just suffers from a self-declared burn-out. She's got pain in her stomach, and when I, just as a friendly gesture, rub her back a bit, she reacts as if she's stung by a wasp with a "That won't help!"...

Eventually, and with the rain continuing to fall, we get a ride towards Ostrów Mazowiecka and the exit for road 677, towards Łomża. When we get out it's dry, but just after we've walked to the start of the 677, the heavens open again. Using my poncho to cover both of us, we fortunatly don't have to wait very long. A van stops, we dump our stuff in the back, and 50 minutes later we're dropped in Piątnica, just after Łomża, and what's more, the sun is shining!

Using a flippable sign, with "Augustów" (for cars with Polish plates) on one side, and "LT" (for Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian plated cars) on the other side, it takes us 55 minutes to get away. The Lithuanian F/M couple that stops (upon seeing the "LT" sign) aren't exactly thrilled to find out we're not Lithuanian, but they speak enough English to understand that my wife is Lithuanian.

Together with them we have a nice meal before leaving Poland, and 18:01 we're dropped on the Statoil petrol station on the A1 just after Kaunas. Here the very first driver I approach turns out to be on his way to Vilnius, and just over an hour later we're dropped off next to a busstop on Laisvės prospektas. Once we're on the bus I call Audronė to tell her that we're on her way, and although I've told her many times before that Trynke will spend the night at our place, the worsening health of her mother has apparently wiped her mind - in the end her mother died on 12 August, three weeks after her Diamond wedding anniversary.

When we get of the bus, the next bus has just departed, but I spot a taxi across the road, and that takes us home, and...

... after we get in, I lock the door, and that completely freaks out Miss T. She grabs her backpack and storms out into the veranda, accuses me of not having told Audronė that she will stay and wants to know our address to SMS it to her parents.

In the end she calms down somewhat, I take her to the guestroom, and the next day we drop her off at a busstop. She later sends me an SMS that's she's found a hostel, and that's the last thing I've heard of her, and I'm not sorry about it!

General thoughts on Trynke and me travelling together? I'm pretty sure that we got rides I would not have had hitching as a single male, but that's about the only plus. Miss T, obviously suffers from something rather more serious than a burn-out, like, should I try to guess it, domestic or sexual abuse, and that makes me wonder very seriously why she ever bothered to reply to me, unless she wanted to see "if she was ready for the world again"... Obviously not...

Audronė - 16 September 2000 and still going...

What more is there to say?

We got our first ride together on 2000-09-16T06:40, got hitched nearly a year later, on 2001-09-08, were grand-parents another 18 months later, now have four grand-children, and are still hitching together through life.

And some numbers

Justina and Maarten called me The Master, Jorleiv thanked me for the links [to this site] and for being the über-guru of HH!, but I'm just a guy who loves his wife, likes hitchhiking and extracts far too many highly entertaining, but in essence totally useless, numbers from the notes he scribbles down while zipping around Germany in (mostly) cars he will never be able to afford.

Last updated on 15 December 2016 (Changed round-robin forward link)


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