I´m traveling vía hitchhiking. The usual response from everyone? A frightened look, thinking I´m crazy and saying I´m being stupid and reckless.
My response? You should try it, it is not that bad.
Of course it is dangerous. You are walking through a desserted highway all by yourself, waiting for some stranger to pick you up. We were taught when we were kids to never speak to strangers and to never ever get in a car with someone you don´t know so I kind of get the point some people make when having this argument.
The argument keeps going.
Why do you do it? Is your safety worth those $20 dollars you are saving? Aren´t you scared?
But then the fun questions start:
How did manage to get someone to pick you up? Was it fun? How were the people that picked you up? Do you think I could do the same? Is it safe for me to do it?
I could write about responding all those questions but I have a better deal, let me tell you the first chapter:
Hitchhiking tales – From Cancun to Chetumal
The plan was getting to Caye Caulker in Belize from Cancun but it was really expensive. 50 US dollars a one way trip. So I searched on the internet and saw that it was just 15 US dollars to get there from Belize city. So now the real challenge was to try and not spend too much money getting there. So I decided to hitchihike.
Getting from the airport to playa del Carmen was very easy. One employee from the airport was finishing his shift and I just had to walk for 10 minutes until he saw me and let me hop in. He asked me not to take any pictures because he was driving the company car and didn´t want to get in trouble. I didn´t even had to hold any sign, just hold my finger up.
From Playa del Carmen to Tulum I had a lot of luck. I stayed in a hostel the night of the 23rd and the morning after got up very quickly. I made my sign, a very humble sign, and hoped for the best. It took no more than 5 minutes for a contruction worker to stop by, give me a look and approve me and them “Im going to Tulum, hop in”
This is Juan. He is 20 years old. He has one 2 year old daughter and left home at 12. He is originally from Campeche and is living in Tulum right now. He earns no more than 400 US dolars a month but has already managed to buy a small land to build a house in the poor part of Tulum. It took him 5 seconds to establish I was to be trusted and could ride with him.
After saying goodbye to Juan I was very positive, I already covered around 120 kilometers in two days and it was no more than 10 am. I think I can cover the remaining 210 km to Bacalar and sleep there. Little did I know.
I started walking south from Tulum. I really don´t like to stay in one place just holding my finger up. I prefer to keep walking to my destination in case no one picks me up I´m gonna be closer by the end of the day and set up camp wherever the night hits me. I walked like 4 hours with the sun in my face and 20 kil0s on my shoulders. Not a single car in the horizon, and the few that passed didn´t even looked at me.
I was beginning to get scared. See the highway completely empty?
I was already starting to give up. I was out of water and had already ate my road snacks, I try to bring tuna (canned protein), chocolate (some calories) and chips (because I´m fat). So as I was starting to look for a shade Carlos went by. He looked at me and I saw his face, a tip for hitchhiking is to always try to make eye contact, and I noticed he wanted to stop. He passed me and I could see him getting away, it is very easy because the highway is pretty much a straight line. He stopped, made a U turn and came back after 500 meters. Opened the door and asked me where was I going. At this point I just wanted to get out of there so I said anywhere south.
Well, I am going to Chetumal, is it good for you?
Hell yeah, Chetumal is 30 kilometers south of Bacalar, that better than what I was aiming for!
Carlos is a 62 year old man from México city. He went to the same hihg school I did but 33 years before me! Talk about coincidences.
He lost everything, his wife and kids, money, house and dignity when he got jobless. We spent 240 kilometers discussing life, experiences, choices and how he got back on his feet (He now has a good position in the government. He told me two phrases I´m never going to forget: He who can control himself, controls the world and We humans are so worried about the past of the future that we forget to enjoy the present.
Im telling you Steemians, whenever you have the chance to speak with a person twice your age, do it, and do it for a long time. Some of the best conversations of my life are with these people.
Anyway, I got to Chetumal and decided that, if I could find a hostel under 10 dolars I would stay there, otherwise I would search for a camping spot. I found it, slept one night and then continued hitchhiking my way to where I am since yesterday, Cay Caulker, an island near Belize city.
But I will tell you about it on my next post about hitchiking.
I hope you enjoyed it, if you have any recommendations about these tales please tell me! Maybe it is too long, it might need more pictures, perhaps it is too boring… Whatever it is, tell me!