Ho,ho,ho- here we go! Christmas time is coming and before we hitchhike home for Christmas (haha…) we want to present you the first Advent calendar on tramprennen.org! Every day until Christmas (or even longer) we want to present one story about the first time we used the best way to travel: hitchhiking! Have fun with the stories! And you are more than welcome to add your own experience! Just send it to gro.nennerpmartnull@ofni! Whoop,Whoop!
“Woah, hitchhiking? Like, standing-on-the-street-thumb-out real life hitchhiking?” I asked my new german roommates, a bewildered look on my face as they told me of their travels across Europe with just a backpack and a few hundred Euros. I had arrived in Kiel to start at the university in the fall, after learning German for a year as a nanny, and was lucky enough to get a room with some “Tramprennen” experts.
For me, hitchhiking was something out of the movies or maybe out of a Jack Kerouac’s book, because growing up in the 90’s in Colombia you had none of that. Sure, beautiful beaches and mountains, awesome fruit and food and some kickass dance moves; but it all came with a profound sense of mistrust in your fellow humans. You had to be aware at all times, watch out for danger and NEVER EVER let a stranger into your car; so it came as a little bit of a shock when Max and Anna told me that, it not only worked, but that they used it as a regular means of transportation, and that they met awesome people and places doing it.
It took me about a semester to overcome my Colombian fears and try it. It was summer, my guest-grandpa had just got surgery in Hamburg and I wanted to visit him. Max, Anna and another friend wanted to go to Hamburg to do something else, so it was perfect. We stood in front of the Ikea in Kiel, two girls and one guy, and hitchhiked. I couldn’t believe it: I was hitchhiking, ME, the person who was ashamed to even ask the driver of the bus in Bogotá to let her pay 30 cents less (yes, you can do that in Colombia). I can’t remember how long it took, maybe half an hour, I think. After that, a Turkish guy in a lorry winked at us and we got in; I was ecstatic, he was even going to Hamburg!!!
After that and after taking a picture for my What-crazy-Europeans-do album, I was hooked for life. I’ve been to Istanbul and back, to the south of Spain and Italy, and so many more places that I would’ve never visited if it wasn’t for hitchhiking. I’ve met such amazing, hospitable, giving people and I’ve even introduced a couple of my fearing Colombian friends to hitchhiking!