The daily challenge of finding a new source of food and water, a place to sleep, and a ride made the whole trip through South America strenuous. To hitchhike 7,000 miles when you don’t like cars isn’t always the most fun. One day in Peru I accidentally got off the Pan-American Highway and ended up in the middle of nowhere. It took me around 12 rides to go just 130 miles. But hitchhiking is worth it because it takes you to places and introduces you to people you never would have seen or met in any other way.
Be prepared and have the gear to be mostly self-sustaining. Carry a tent and sleeping gear, water purifier, cooking equipment and comfy clothes. Travel light and leave behind what you don’t need. Make connections for places to stay, and earn meals through websites such as. Ditch your expectations before beginning the journey and keep an open and curious mind.
There is no better feeling than when someone, without knowing who you are, holds out a hand to help you. One memorable experience was hitchhiking in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. My friend Paco went to ask an elderly Muslim lady how far the next town was and she looked at us like we were crazy (hitchhiking is not common in Indonesia). We started waving at the cars going past when suddenly she came over, calmly stood in the middle of the road and made a stop sign in front of a car going past. It stopped immediately, and she told us to get in. This old lady had more power and courage than most kids today! I was truly inspired and impressed. The power of social media also amazed me. People would find my blog online and contact me, inviting me to stay with them.