Germany lost to Spain in the European football championship and Karl Marx would have celebrated his 190th birthday. There was one or another surprise in 2008. In Lithuania, there were 9 children born per 1000 inhabitants and the Finnish javelin thrower Tero Järvenpää made the unlucky 4th place in the summer Olympics. On the 3rd place was his namesake and fellow countryman Tero Pitkämäki. So, while the world was going crazy, around 12 young people hitchhiked to the bet to the world exhibition in Saragossa. On the way, they wanted to raise awareness for the work of Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli e.V.
Today the team “Käpt’n Karacho & seine Crew” will answer some questions about hitchhiking and, of course, the Tramprennen itself.
Ahoy, please tell us. How did you get to participate at the very first Tramprennen?
Janina: At one of our first VcA-meetings in Kiel, Hauke came with the idea and had already prepared a poster. At first, it just sounded crazy to me. I remembered the pictures of my childhood, when we passed hitchhikers but never took one, because they could have robbed us. I thought a little about it, but I had no plans for the summer anyway and decided to join. I randomly met Franzi on the street and so we had our crew.
Have you had any hitchhiking experience before?
Janina: Not really. I got lost in Sweden once and used the thumb as a last way out.
What kind of crazy experiences did you make during the first Tramprennen?
Janina: I was impressed, that we slept almost every night at hosts place we met just that day somewhere on the way. This spontaneous hospitality to take some strange hitchhikers into your home was a really great experience. The rest of the nights we slept on playgrounds until the police woke us up. In most cases it was time to get up anyway.
Do you still hitchhike now? Why?/Why not?
Janina: Still sometimes. Every now and then, when I need a small adventure and/or save money. Also, to get out of your own bubble and listen to the stories of other people. I get a lot of inspiration out of this, but not as often.
Do you have a favorite car to hitchhike?
Janina: It was really nice in Romania to ride in open cars and to feel the wind blowing around your head. In trucks, I really enjoyed riding as well. Truck drivers tell the best stories. They are the sailors of the road. Even, when they are too slow for a race…
Are you coming with us to Lithuania this year?
Janina: Unfortunately not, I have to finish cutting a film and also, I have the feeling that it is alright, to let the following generations live the race.
What do you say about 10 years of Tramprennen?
Janina: Goosebumps! In the first year, we were able to cook noodles for all of us in just one pot. Today you would need a huge kitchen. When I think about how this journey changed me – I expanded my horizon, I learned what you can achieve as a group; how to get so incredibly close to people, you found unlikeable at first, in a short time just by being in this microcosm car; Hitchhiker became friends and friends became hitchhikers… – then I just hope for as many people as possible that they experience the same! Oh and I’m fascinated, that there are, despite all the warnings, just really few incidents in all this 10 years. This shows that world is not that bad at all. On top of that all the donations that the World Hunger Aid could use for their projects. Chapeau and to the next 10 years!
What do your mothers say?
Janina: I think, she is more open minded towards hitchhiking now. She was always happy, that I had such an amazing time. But secretly she is also happy, that I don’t spend most of my summers hitchhiking anymore…
For Hitchhiking: Thumb or sign?
Janina: Heart and soul ????.
Do you have any hints or tricks for people that hitchhike for the first time?
Janina: Turn on your gut feelings to lead you the way and try to strengthen it on the journey. The one trick, that works always at gas-stations: Ask, with a map in your hands, if they drive to … and when they start explaining you the way, just ask if you can ride with them. You are happy to take bagpacks and groceries on your lap. And the baby on the backseat can play with you as well….