Saturday, 16 January 2010

Where have all the hitchers gone?

I've ridden my thumb to all points of the compass in years gone by. Since I have a perfectly adequate car, I don't do it any more.

It's always been something of a lonely undertaking, or at least it was when I was doing it. Apart from once when I went to Glastonbury with a girl. That was dead easy. Safe, you see.
Bloke on his own... Bit dodgy, know what I mean.

So I spent hours at a time stood on the access roads and verges of the service stations and motorway junctions. Occasionally, I'd meet a fellow traveller. Grafitti saying "Joe Phillips world tour '91" or "Hitching from here? Don't bother! It's shit! I've been here 3 fucking weeks!" was pretty ubiquitous on the back of the roadsigns.

Having taken advantage of the kindness of others in the past, I do try to keep an eye out for hitchers, and if I can pay it forward by getting someone closer to where they want to be, I will do so.

But there are none to be seen. Apart from the occasional trade driver with red trade plates, they are all gone.

I don't know whether this is because of some cultural change, or whether security/policing of places like motorway service areas has become a lot heavier handed, or what, but whatever the reason, hitch-hikers seem to have vanished from the face of the earth.

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