In Cleft Heart, hitchhiking’s an avenue to self-renewal as much as the usual self-discovery. A piece about hitching in the New York Times by an Alaskan journalist caught my eye recently. Roy Hoffman, who has written several books, captures much of what I’ve believed to be true about hitching. Excerpts from Hoffman’s reflections while reading his journal (he hitched across Alaska, through the Yukon, down to California and then to New York in the 1960s):
“The exotic perfume of 1967’s Summer of Love was still in the air …though the fantasies rarely played out. In a Spokane bar I met a “confused, earnest” girl who invited me to her apartment, where I ‘played Lothario unsuccessfully.'”
“What strikes me is how much we all trusted one another. Scruffy youths on highway shoulders asking for a lift; girls meeting unknown boys in bars and inviting them home to hang out; strangers offering empty beds, or a floor, for overnight stays. We had a communal pact.
“It held romance, no doubt:’the warmth and security of a car stopping for you late at night on a freeway, opening up the door, the bright interior light, on the radio a late night easy listening oldie…]”
“That I recorded much of it not only helps me to relive it from the safety of my chair [today], but also reminds me of what we hope never to lose, whether 19 going on 20, or 59 on the brink of 60: the spirit of adventure.”
“Sometimes we have to meet our younger selves again to be propelled up and out, into the big, boisterous world, making the road, however we define it, our own.”
Please see a series of Posts in May 2013 chronicling some of my hitching adventures.
Have you got a road story to share?